Bay Roberts taxpayer casts critical eye on council
I’m writing this letter in response to your March 1 editorial headlined “ Tell us your secrets,” regarding the unwillingness of the Bay Roberts town council to become more transparent to the minimum standard required by the Municipalities Act.
To say I’m a little disappointed is like saying that Charlie Sheen is currently a little unhinged. I really, really thought that when the town hired CAO Nigel Black, their operations would evolve from small town, back room, old boys’ politics to a more modern, efficient, transparent and taxpayer-friendly council. Apparently not. They have given an amount of money to a privately run business for “ loss of business.” How much of taxpayers’ money was paid out? What caused the loss of business? Why was this done under a veil of secrecy called a privileged meeting?
This begs the question: What else are they doing with our money behind closed doors?
Then we have the $171,000 of our money allocated to purchase 22 acres of Crown land for a proposed business park.
Why was there no mention of this during the public meeting held recently to debate the already adopted planning and development regulations? They went through the motions of publicly disclosing what they wanted to disclose and then outright refused to disclose any more information/ details when requested. What’s up with that?
Speaking of going through the motions. Recently, the town hired a commissioner to hear input, opposition and requests for change to the already adopted Development and Planning Regulations for 2011-2020. However, the council is not required to adopt any changes recommended by said commissioner, and the taxpayers have absolutely no ability to appeal the decisions already made by the council.
So I ask: What was the point of that whole process? Would it not make more sense for the Department of Municipal Affairs to appoint a non-biased, neutral commissioner to make changes to the Plan before it is adopted, based on the merits of the arguments presented and best past practices?
Why does the town arbitrarily decide if I can or cannot develop land to which I have clear title without compensating me for my loss? Why does one body of water and shore- line in the municipality get a protection zone of approximately 300 feet when yet a similar body of water and shoreline gets designated “ half ” environmentally protected/conservation? How does the wildlife know which half of the pond they should swim in and on which half of the shoreline they should build their nests?
Come on people. This is 2011. As I stated in that public meeting, Bay Roberts is much too big of a municipality for the town council to be puffing up it’s chest and behaving like they can do as they please. Not in our town. Not with our money. Not anymore.
If the Municipalities Act stipulates a minimum standard of what is mandatory to disclose, then disclose it you shall. It will be a whole lot less painful if the council takes it upon themselves to follow the Act with regards to disclosure and transparency than if they are forced.
I, too, have great respect for the councilors as individuals in our community. However, I have little respect for the behaviour of this group of publically elected officials and how they treat the majority of taxpayers and our tax dollars.
Remember, you fellas volunteered to put yourselves out there for public office, and you know how the old adage goes: If you can’t stand the heat …
I feel our town deserves to be treated better. Consider yourselves notified. The Compass’ eyes are not the only critical eyes that are watching. Charlene Dawe-Roach