Read­ers give two cents on how to spend $4M

The Standard (St. Catharines) - - NEWS -

We asked read­ers what they think St. Catharines coun­cil­lors should do with an ex­tra $4 mil­lion and re­ceived a lot of sug­ges­tions.

As re­ported Saturday, the money was put aside by St. Catharines Hy­dro for the now-de­funct Shick­luna hy­dro-elec­tric plant pro­ject, can­celled in Fe­bru­ary.

City coun­cil­lors shared their ideas about what to do with the money, such as spend­ing it on af­ford­able hous­ing, tax freezes or road projects. They’ll be dis­cussing what to do with the $4-mil­lion cheque in coun­cil cham­bers Wednesday, Oct. 18.

Here are some reader ideas that came in through email, Face­book and Twit­ter for coun­cil to con­sider. The re­sponses have been edited for space, clar­ity and style.

— Karena Wal­ter, Stan­dard Staff

I would like to see the money go to af­ford­able hous­ing. I live on a pen­sion and the home I am liv­ing in now will soon be sold. The owner is a se­nior and needs to the money from the prop­erty to sur­vive. I, how­ever, do not have that lux­ury and look­ing for a place I can af­ford has been im­pos­si­ble so far. Parks and other lux­u­ries, and that is what they are, are not a good use of funds. We are a se­nior city now and have a great many peo­ple that need help with hous­ing. I do not want to see it go to the city gov­ern­ment where it will be wasted on things our cit­i­zens can­not use. We need an­other dis­as­trous pool like the Ki­wa­nis like we need a hole in the head. I can’t af­ford to use it and the qual­ity of the build was the same as the new bridge. Poor. They are al­ready rip­ping up the road­way to repave. — Sh­eryl Stewart via email It needs to all go to af­ford­able hous­ing. One new build­ing in 40 years is not nearly enough — Re­nee Martin, Face­book Some­times it’s the lit­tle things that count. More garbage cans around the city (that ac­tu­ally get emp­tied) and bet­ter nee­dle cleanup (be­cause, face it, this city and re­gion have a hor­ri­ble drug prob­lem) are just the start. — Erica Langille, Face­book A bridge at Carl­ton to Grape­view. — Chris­tine Thorne, Face­book When an or­di­nary per­son goes to a fi­nan­cial ex­pert be­cause he has just won or in­her­ited a large amount of money what is the most com­mon ad­vice that they would be given? They are told to first pay down debt and sec­ond to in­vest all or some for a rainy day. With the amount of debt we have and the in­ter­est on it, this would be my choice. Do­ing this ben­e­fits ev­ery tax­payer in St. Catharines. Build­ing a pool or arena or mak­ing our parks nicer only ben­e­fits those that use them. — Gary Kostiuk via email My sug­ges­tion is to build a civic square with a foun­da­tion or wad­ing pool like Guelph, from the farmers market to the pub­lic li­brary be­tween Market Street and King Street to James Street. Also, in­stall an out­side big-screen TV so peo­ple can watch a per­ma­nent screen for any news, sports, etc., be­fore Canada Games start­ing in 2021. — Den­nis C. via email Take it to the casino and dou­ble or triple it. — Evan Alexan­drovich, Face­book The mu­seum needs a facelift. Clearer street sig­nage around the city. Bus shel­ters and benches. The new green bins be­ing dis­trib­uted in Toronto could be used here as well. Al­most an­i­mal proof. — @khanga25, Twit­ter I be­lieve that some of the $4 mil­lion in sur­plus should go to the home­less. I have worked as a vol­un­teer with the Out of the Cold pro­gram for about 20 years. Many of the vol­un­teers are get­ting to an age when they will be forced to “re­tire.” I do the night shift at St. Al­fred’s church, but the other churches are fac­ing the same kind of a sit­u­a­tion. Yes, we are called, by our Lord, to help out, but in fact it has en­abled the lo­cal politi­cians to close their eyes to this tragic sit­u­a­tion. Ni­a­gara Re­gion just an­nounced a $5.4-mil­lion do­na­tion from the prov­ince for the home­less; surely be­tween the $4 mil­lion the city has in sur­plus and the $5.4 mil­lion ear­marked by the Re­gion some­thing can be done to al­le­vi­ate hav­ing the home­less wan­der from church to church to get some­thing to eat and have a place to sleep. The Out of the Cold pro­gram reaches out to them for 22 weeks only. I don’t know how they cope for the other 30 weeks. What this city needs, at the very least, is a place where those who are home­less can go to stay overnight, have shower, have the op­por­tu­nity to use a wash­ing ma­chine, talk to a health-care worker, have a postal ad­dress and are made to feel that they be­long. I am sure the churches are will­ing to feed them, but pro­vid­ing overnight ac­com­mo­da­tion for them is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly more dif­fi­cult. I hope that the city will live up to the ti­tle of be­ing a Com­pas­sion­ate City. — Martin Korsmit via email Help the home­less: build af­ford­able hous­ing, help se­nior cit­i­zens af­ford liv­ing. — Kim Rem­pel, Face­book There may in­deed be worth­while po­ten­tial projects to which some or all of these funds could be ap­plied. How­ever, un­til such needs have been clearly iden­ti­fied and costs ac­counted, it would be best to as­sign these dol­lars to, call it a re­serve fund or a sim­i­lar one that the city has es­tab­lished un­der a dif­fer­ent name. Coun­cil and staff should take a step back and weigh the pros and cons of, I’m sure, the sev­eral ben­e­fi­cial projects that might be im­ple­mented. How­ever, be­ing pa­tient about us­ing these funds will hope­fully reap bet­ter re­wards at an ef­fi­cient out­lay. — Lloyd Riches via email Put a large amount in a re­serve. Think of the fu­ture … call it the city’s re­tire­ment plan. Up­grade fail­ing in­fra­struc­ture that should have been main­tained in the past. Freeze taxes in the present. — Ber­nice DEt­torre, Face­book Our cul­ture and recre­ation pro­gram­ming is pretty darn lim­ited. I’d hope some of the funds can be used in that man­ner. — Elise Rit­ter, Face­book How about pro­tected bike lanes or a GO sta­tion so next time Ni­a­gara makes a bid for large companies like Ama­zon to build a fac­tory/HQ here we don’t look like a joke? — Tyler Pel­letier, Face­book Build a park with ac­tiv­i­ties for res­i­dents of all ages and abil­i­ties, and ac­tiv­i­ties for all sea­sons. Add: wheel­chair/stroller ac­ces­si­ble paths/trails, splash pad, shal­low pond/foun­tain that can be used for RC toy boats in nicer weather and can be­come an ice rink in win­ter, wheel­chair ac­ces­si­ble play­ground, soc­cer field, base­ball di­a­mond, pav­il­ion with pic­nic ta­bles, etc., in the south end of St. Catharines — in Bur­goyne Woods to make it a great fam­ily/ com­mu­nity des­ti­na­tion again. — Ni­cole Greco-Zavitz, Face­book More com­mu­nity gardens, more parks and splash pads, more tree-lined streets. With the con­trac­tors they hire, $4 mil­lion won’t go far. — Josh­lyn Bird­ge­neau, Face­book Build an­other swim­ming pool for the sum­mer. — Nathan Bush, Face­book I see many peo­ple say spend it on pools and splash pads etc. … I’m just cu­ri­ous, doesn’t any­body want to see an im­prove­ment to our al­ready-in-need beaches? Why build more pools when we can just im­prove Port Dal­housie beach and Sun­set Beach. — Justin Salomone, Face­book Me. My $30,000 stu­dent debt is hold­ing me back. I’d be able to af­ford a house if I didn’t have this debt. You would make this money back in prop­erty taxes, so it wouldn’t go to waste. — Whit­ney Jean, Face­book

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