Is PKC expansion needed?: reader

Dear Editor,

As reported in last week’s edition, expanding the current facilities at the Peach King Centre seems to be a no brainer. I urge council to take a breath and think this through thoroughly.

The described “defined needs” are town-staff-based and special interest groups requested. I ask, what do the special interest groups do now and what is the projected growth required for additional facilities? What are the benefits to the town?

We already have gymnasiums in town in schools and at the YMCA. What makes anyone think we need more?  We have an indoor walking track and many multi-use rooms already under utilized. Do we want to compete with the YMCA and if so, are we prepared to see it disappear in a few years as has happened in Welland because the Town is now competing?

A roof-top leisure space? What’s that and why do we need it? Is lovingly cared for grass around the center not enough? Surely the view from up there would be very disappointing. How many months a year would it be used?  Are they suggesting getting a liquor license?

Let’s look back to when the PKC was first built. The Town borrowed the funding required and when the project was paid, the council at the time said our tax increase would be reduced by this special tax levy. What happened? Town departments were infighting to spend the money promised to be taken off our tax bills. We saw NO promised tax decrease.

Nothing is mentioned in the article about the increase to ongoing annual costs. Tax payers have spent millions over the years covering budgets to maintain the current facility. How much more will this cost annually? As everyone knows, building is cheap when compared to maintenance and operating costs over the lifespan of a building.

Council should be concerned about the facility’s full utilization and associated costs we already have.

What about using current expenditure savings  to pay for this project? A few examples of recent wastefulness would include the ridiculous high cost of construction and maintaining our new park on the escarpment that is used minimally. Do we really need it?

Is it useful to very many residents?

How about the tremendous waste of money to build and maintain the new fire hall on the mountain that does not service any of the growth areas of Grimsby, let alone have town water. We clearly need to build a fire station in the West end since that is where most of the growth is, not on the mountain. I really don’t think the highest concentration of residents who reside on the mountain at the town cemetery will be requiring any emergency services anytime soon.

Let’s not forget the poor job the Town does maintaining Grimsby Beach Park and swimming area. No effort seems to be made to improve or update our current parks or the lovely coastal waters that our few water front parks could really benefit from.

I urge council to look at maintaining the services they are legally responsible for. Look to keep taxes as low as possible to deliver the key services we have a right to since no other government is and forget about pie in the sky social programs that they are NOT responsible for. We have regional, provincial and federal government socialists drowning us in taxes and debt without thinking  farther than sound bites and votes.

This council needs to think about the next election and beyond. They need to consider long term effects for the whole town, not special interest groups.

If the local basketball teams or anyone else want an additional new facility, let them publicly justify why taxpayers need to foot the bill and why current facilities are insufficient.

Ron Ruys, Grimsby

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