So they passed it. Moved the proposal onward and upward, until they can pass the final decision to give away an obscene amount of our money, to a private business enterprise.
With just 72 hours notice, Abbotsford council ‘granted’ us the right to speak to them about the YMCA proposal.
Almost no one in Abbotsford was aware that a cool chunk of change was about to be given to the YMCA. Nor was this held along the lines of a genuine public hearing, in that there was no adequate notice given. The first announcement (last Friday) of this meeting, said this would be our last chance to speak to the giving away of our money. The public has yet to have a first, genuine opportunity to do that.
The details available to us, and to the council, are incredibly vague, but people asked enough questions to elicit some clarity. The Y is asking to be tax-exempt. The Y will be in direct competition with day care providers, housing providers, fitness clubs and other health-related providers.
Other non-profits have been begging for more money from the city, and many worthy groups go hungry. What they beg for is peanuts compared to this lavish, multi-million-dollar gift council wishes to bestow on the Y.
Council was given a list of other Canadian cities. No other city has given such a huge amount with so little in return. But (parks and recreation director) Mark Taylor asserted that Calgary had contributed far more. First of all, Calgary is rich, and we are broke, because of the foolish decisions of our council, who want to pretend we have a boundless supply of money.
Beyond that, Calgary has a population of 1,214,839 people. On top of that, Calgary (I am told) owns the building. We would simply gift the Y with $17.5 million and own nothing.
Why is this council trying so hard to ram yet another massive expense onto the taxpayer, with so little information, and so little time for the community to speak to this?