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LETTER: Creating 'jewel of a waterfront park' at Midland Bay Landing difficult to 'maintain,' resident suggests

'For those who were paying attention during budget season, the town isn't sitting on wads of unspent cash,' reader says
2021-11-18 ap DSC02832
This is the site plan for Midland Bay Landing. The green areas are designated for parkland.

MidlandToday welcomes letters to the editor at [email protected]. Please include your daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). This letter is in response to various letters favouring more park space on the site along with an earlier column entitled Midland council needs to reset its mindset when considering MBL by MidlandToday's editor.

Dear Editor,

Many people in Midland have been calling for a 'jewel of a waterfront park' on the Midland Bay Landing site. What I want to know is: Are the majority of voters willing to pay the increased taxes required to finance and “maintain” the park?

For those who were paying attention during budget season, the town isn't sitting on wads of unspent cash, and in fact if the reserves that were drawn down to pay for the MBL property are not replenished the town will soon be in a cash crunch.

I hear frequent calls for 'more efficiencies' but the town, with the 'programs and services' it has been tasked with providing to date, has already been doing that for ten years. I alluded to that in my previous note about council's budget efforts.

That leaves either raising taxes or cutting programs and services. The latter is a “values” exercise not a pure fiscal exercise. CFO Michael Jermey along with the finance team have made major strides in upgrading to 'activity based accounting', which will allow council, staff and the public to have a much better idea of how much each program. With that, it becomes more possible to make choices about what programs we value for the cost involved.

A waterfront park is one such 'program or service,' albeit a new one. To make an informed decision the town and public would need to see a credible plan (meaning realistic cost and income forecasts related to a solid project, not vague concepts or 'back of a napkin' drawings of a concept.

I have seen neither a credible plan for a waterfront, nor a willingness to pay for developing such a project from what seems to be more of a NIMBY reaction than a well-formed alternative.

For myself, I think the way forward is to put effort into making sure the promised greenspace is mostly green and that the access to the waterfront is barrier free and meaningfully present for the residents of the town with the current proposed development.

Instead of fighting to create a derelict boondoggle, let's focus on the achievable.

It's not like I want development for the sake of development. In fact the fantastic view I currently have of the bay is likely to be greatly eliminated by this. The problem is a view of the bay versus the town continuing to survive and thrive loses, since if the town goes, I'll have to leave my view of the bay anyway.

So, let's maximize what we can do, instead of getting nothing.


Daniel F. Dickinson