On one hand, I am delighted about council’s decision regarding the Sidney wharf but on the other, I am frustrated that council cannot think outside the box when it comes to how to fund the inevitable replacement.
As I said in my letter to council, White Rock sees value in their pier and made it clear from the outset it would be repaired after suffering storm damage. In their situation they had no options. They had an urgent need to find the funds to do the repairs.
Sidney, on the other hand, has time so why is it people on council seem to think the only option is borrowing money?
Hazel McCallion was the mayor of Mississauga from 1978 until 2010 and during her term she had one philosophy which was pay as you go.
Mississauga did not borrow any money for municipal capital projects while she was in office yet she built many multi-million-dollar projects, the most notable being the Mississauga Civic Centre at a cost of $51 million in 1987 dollars and the municipality was debt free while she was in office.
Hazel presented budgets for public review which included tax levies that, while not onerous, accumulated the funds needed over time.
She was disciplined to put the money aside and invested it such that when it came time to build, she had the funds from municipal taxpayers along with grants from the federal government and the province to pay the bills when they came due and, of course, paid no interest.
We have 8-10 years. Time to think about funding by other means other than borrowing to retain the Sidney wharf.