Monday, April 2, 2012

Who is this Public Information Session Really For?

I am starting to have a bad feeling about this Public Information Session on Wednesday Night. At first I thought this was a great idea but after looking at the guest list that Deputy Mayor Geoff Gallant has sent out I am starting to have problems with the motivation behind it. I thought this was about how the Torbay Council is going to make a decision about a piece of land in Motion and how we as Torbay residents want to deal with this type of scenario in the future.

However when I look at the list of guests and I start seeing names like the following I can't be anything but skeptical and worried.

Lorraine Michael - Leader of Provincial NDP
Ryan Cleary - NDP Member of Parliment
Dale Kirby - NDP MHA
George Murphy - NDP MHA
Gerry Rogers - NDP MHA
Rick Boland - Works for the NDP Party
Jean Graham - Works for the NDP Party
Sheilagh O' Leary - City of St. John's Councillor and known NDP Supporter
Shannie Duff - St John's City Councillor
Yvonne Jones - Liberal MHA

That is just the high profile recognizable names that I picked out after skimming through it. I don't know about anyone else but I would like to know what the hell is going on. Why is the Deputy Mayors guest list full of people who don't live in our town and quite frankly most of them probably couldn't find Motion if they fell over the cliff. In fact the only time you are likely to see any of them in Torbay is if there is an election going on and they are shilling for votes.

I want this to be an issue that is discussed by residents of Torbay, you know the people who pay the taxes in this town and have the most to gain or lose by what decisions our council makes. I am worried that this meeting is going to be nothing more than an opportunity for Geoff Gallant - NDP Candidate for the last and most likely next provincial election trying to score some political points with a bunch of grandstanding from his NDP friends. I hope I am wrong about that.

I know, people are going to say that I am over reacting and reading too much into this and that there is nothing sinister going on. Well I ask this question, why should we as residents and tax payers of Torbay, who want what is best for our town, have to be drowned out by the voices of a bunch of people who don't even live here and certainly don't contribute to the the tax base that fuels it. They will only show up in our town to discuss this issue because they have a political agenda, what other reason could it be?

Why is our own Local MHA not on the list of invitees? Kevin Parsons has a Facebook Page just like the rest of us? How about the minister of Municipal Affairs? To be quite frank I don't see why Kevin needs to be there, this is an internal issue related to our town and we should handle it. This is a discussion that should take place between the concerned residents of Torbay and our elected council. This is one building lot we are discussing here, not 1000 acres somewhere in the middle of a conservation zone.

If all these people show up on Wednesday night then this is going to turn into a farce and nothing will get solved because ideological partisan politics is going to take over. I thought municipal politics was supposed to be about people and communities and doing what is best for the entire town, not a partisan platform to push the agenda of a bunch of Provincial politicians and their minions.

Let us all hope that the interest of all who are actually involved in this issue wins out over the interest of a bunch of people who don't live in our town possibly showing up to high jack our public information session.

8 comments:

  1. I was kind of thinking the same thing Craig. To me the decision was a no-brainer. I saw/head the Deputy Mayor on the evening news, on the radio and I seem to recall reading about him in the paper on this issue. If he is so passionate, why doesn't he try to get his own community behind him? Make a few calls, knock on a few doors, etc, like he did during the election!

    MC

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  2. Hi All,

    In case I need to clarify, I simply invited ALL my Facebook friends. On my invite, I asked everyone who does not live in Torbay to please to send it along to anyone they knew in Torbay, or feel free to join the group if they wanted to follow along out of interest. That's all.

    Hopefully no one (either my political opponents or supporters) tries to make this about me or personality politics. This is about the issue of Motion. This is about residents getting to have their say. This is about thinking long term and building a balanced community for our residents. Do the people of Torbay get ~$30K right now or ~1 acre of land forever?

    I'm simply doing my job as Deputy Mayor and Chair of Recreation, and following through on the things I said I would fight for... (Long term plans, green space, citizen engagement, transparency etc)... Its a big stretch to fault me for that...

    If anyone has any questions for me please feel free to contact me anytime. (ggallant@torbay.ca)

    Thanks,
    Geoff Gallant

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    1. Fair enough Geoff. I am just worried that this thing is going to spiral out of control and end up losing focus of the main issue here.

      I think everyone wants the same thing, I know I do. I want to have an open and honest discussion about an issues that relates to our town and it's residents for now and into the future.

      I know many people have no idea of the municipal act that this land or cash decisions are based on and I hope that is part of the discussion and not just one group of people yelling at another.

      We need to work together to get the things we want and sometimes we need to make compromises to make everyone happy. I hope that is what happens here.

      Anyway I don't want to offend you but the optics of all those non-residents was a little troubling. Sometimes optics is reality more than reality is reality.

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  3. Hey no worries. I actually appreciate the skepticism... (even if a bit off the deep end in this case, imho ;-) )

    But Yes... we both absolutely agree that Wednesday is about Torbay residents. It was never intended to be anything but...

    Thanks for bringing up that concern so I could address it...

    Thanks,
    Geoff Gallant

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  4. Glad to see you're on the ball, Craig. Not everyone gets time all the time to keep track of what's going on, especially when you usually never know from out council until it's done and overwith. For example, spending our money on this summer's concert. Why didn't we have a say on where our money went. I would have liked my road paved! It's great that you and Wanda put a community group together so everyone can try to keep everyone else informed. :)

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    1. I can't take any credit for that group, that was Wanda that started that, I will certainly try and contribute to it when ever I can though.

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  5. Maybe I am being a bit nosy, but what group is he referring to? The one Wanda started?

    Thanks.
    MC

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    Replies
    1. Yes as I indicated in my reply, Wanda started that group.

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