After attending several meetings of the Hope Ratepayer’s Association, not only have I become dismayed at certain members of the community, but also, their sense of entitlement. I also believe that some members of the Ratepayer’s Association have become outcasts and victims of defamation.
After posing certain questions about cost and legal process of Hope’s future tourist information centre and dream scheme, also known as the Station House, some members of the Association have been publicly ridiculed and intimidated with slanderous remarks, such as being asked to move from the community, and publicly defamed by certain council members. Even some council members, who until just recently, were members of AdvantageHOPE, give an appearance of being in a conflict of interest, and are not prepared to talk about the hard issues of funding and finance, without reverting to side stepping issues with political hyperbole. It seems that the proponents of this project have spent so much time on it, apparently years, that it is only obvious to them, that they had the go ahead, from the get go. Instead of having these intense debates months ago, before so much time and labor was invested, they now find themselves in a political battle, that they are willing to press ahead with at any cost, including repugnant and demeaning behaviour, against Association members. How dare the Ratepayer’s query them on cost? How dare the Ratepayer’s inquire about the buildings structural integrity? How dare the Ratepayer’s be concerned about location logistics? How dare the Ratepayer’s ask for a separate RFP seismic/engineering, as well as one for construction.
But, even besides all of this, the public should be made aware, that AdvantageHOPE has no real control over the property, and can be excused from it with as little as 60 days warning, for no reason or recourse available. AdvantageHOPE is stating that they can attain the necessary pre-estimation reports for less than $25,000, suspiciously, an amount that doesn’t require a more intense review of process, and doing so, without any concern for a plan B. The most disturbing factor in all of this, is the financial timing. We are probably going to go ahead with this wish/dream project, when we can least afford it. The municipality has scheduled tax increases for the next four years, at the same time as property values are falling, and the economy has a strong chance of going into recession.
If we are in a continual stream of rising taxes and economic downturns, why are we even considering dream projects? Especially, when the condition of our infrastructure is falling apart.
Most of our streets don’t have curbs and gutters, most need paving. Our population is declining, our industrial component has diminished. If you don’t work for a gas station, restaurant, or some sort of government agency, including city hall, then there’s a good chance you are either retired or unemployed.
Another disturbing factor, is the actual condition of this building. Sure, at one time it was a heritage building, and it does have a certain ascetic, that could be made palatable. But the truth is it’s an old building, that should be torn down and rebuilt. But, most of all we have no control over the land, and no planned recourse, which we can be evicted from, with as little as 60 days warning, with the financial obligation to return the property to its original state. Also, traffic logistics makes it impossible to turn left into the property from the west and north, and there’s no obligation from the transportation authority to make this feasible.
Let’s not throw good money after bad. This project, there are better solutions!