Living in Union Bay for a decade, I have spent much time watching and assessing the state of political affairs that seem to plague this community.
With upcoming trustee positions available next month it would seem an appropriate time to state my observations.
Investigation has shown that the community became divided long before I showed up. At the crux of the situation stands the issue of development, which lends itself to predominantly two sides. There are those who are willing to accept development at any cost, without the consultation of experts, and seeming to have a personal interest. The other side is those willing to accept development, seeing long term outcomes, operating in an appropriate manner for the benefit of the community. And of course I shouldn’t omit one other group, those that are uninterested and easy prey for a petition touting words like “free water treatment plant”.
The current board has shown itself to be more financially responsible than most Canadian households. Yes, they have increased parcel taxes and water rates, but not exorbitantly. They have saved enough money to find the community in a position to move forward with both a water treatment plant and a fire hall without seeking a lump sum payment from us ratepayers, contrary to the rumour mill. And nor are they so short on funds to find themselves in a position to be requiring funds from a developer. The existing UBID board is by no means a perfect form of governance, but one thing is without question, they have nothing but good intentions for this community. They are adamant that any developer is welcome to negotiate within the community. This board has two candidates running that support their past, present and future work.
The other two candidates that have stepped forth appear to be supported by the old regime and favour a move back to days past. The days where the board cost me the ratepayer around $115,000 to rid the community of the purchase of the school, and another approximately $120,000 in legal fees to do so. Sometimes I wonder if it is the emotion “shame” that has that old regime pining away to try and redeem themselves in the eyes of our broken community.
Regardless, the evidence shows we have people with anger, resentment, pride, ego and revenge so deep that no one is able to see both sides of the equation even if it was mediated. Everyone wants the same thing for our community but is unwilling to rise to higher ground to make it happen. And in the mix of all this madness we have a developer. A developer that seemingly takes great pleasure in ensuring our community stays divided. More and more the evidence points to a bully in the school yard that isn’t getting his way threatening to take his ball and go home.
I wish we could get this development moving forward. In fact, I truly believe it would be a good thing for Union Bay. But development has to be in the best interest of the community, not the best interest of the developer. There is a reason this has dragged on for 18 years, those that care have stood and fought for what is righteous. I applaud their passion. There is no reason another agreement can’t be drawn up. The quickly created old agreement has expired and is gone. I say if you’re not willing to come to the table under the current conditions, take your ball and go home.