Go back to planning city budget based on needs

In an era of fiscal restraint where Mayor Banman has said civic spending is about needs versus wants ...

Have we missed something? In an era of fiscal restraint where Mayor Banman has said civic spending is about needs versus wants, now there’s a call to spend $17.5 million for the YMCA.

The YMCA has had a great record of providing for communities around the world and if the City of Abbotsford could afford to give them the money, it would be a great asset.

However, we can’t afford it right now.

City staff have been clear that to have the YMCA come to Abbotsford now means the roads, buildings, and other infrastructure we presently own will not be maintained to current standards.

And what about this $17.5 million? The mayor goes on that this is “50-cent dollars.” What rubbish!

It is about our elected officials giving money to the YMCA without us owning a thing. What happens if the YMCA runs at a loss? Will they then ask the city for a top-up to keep their operations going?

Meanwhile, would recreation services at the ARC and MRC be cut?

Suppose the YMCA pulls the plug on the project and sells the building. What would happen to the taxpayers’ $17.5 million investment?

Would we get it back?

So let’s go back to planning our budget based upon needs. Let’s invest in our existing recreation centres. Let’s maintain our roads. Let’s focus on keeping our current buildings well maintained.

And let’s put this dream for another white elephant aside.

Ken Wuschke, Abbotsford