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Arthur Goes to Council November 14th: Don the Dad and Tough Budgets

Don “the Dad” Vassiliadis

Don Vassiliadis is the uninvolved father figure frodonm 80s movies. He sits at the dinner table, eats his meal, occasionally gives nods of approval to the rest of those in attendance and votes with the rest of them. He rarely if ever imposes his opinions on the room and when he does it’s millhouse branded milquetoast flavored. When Councillor is feeling Vassiliadis is feeling the flare he busts out a Greece themed tied with the tessellated bright yellow Parthenon’s littered on a piece of fabric that screams for it’s death whenever it’s brought into the public. Every city council meeting he seems as though he’s at his brother in laws step daughter’s dance recital, and is just looking at the ceiling until the whole ordeal is over with.

Bethune Street Gentrification is City Council’s Wall; PDIs going to Pay for it

These people love the Bethune street project, and speak on it the way a certain dudebro with property speaks about a certain wall that he won’t pay for. despite construction of the project not starting for another 8 years, the word tremendous was uttered no less than 4 times. Councillors were not even remotely hesitant to compare Peterborough to New York in terms of innovation. The project is so universally loved that it even convinced Councillor Vassiliadis to laud the project for consulting small businesses. He owns a small business.

The excessive high fives and jobs well down around council when discussing the project makes the redesign of Bethune street a forgone conclusion. But there are still questions regarding the price tag, which is going to cost the city at least 13 million dollars. I believe that PDI is the answer to this price tag for a project which councillors believe will expand the downtown core, bringing in huge investment the way that investment into Hunter street did.

I believe this because it seems that a majority portion of councillors have simply had enough of the discussion about selling this utility. In a bid to give the city more time to process the ongoing public consultation and Councillors more time to hear their constituents, Councillor Pappas recommended that the report on citizens opinions about the sale of PDI be postponed to early February. As it stands the timeline for this decision is as such,

  1. Town Hall meeting on November 24th
  2. Report from Navigant and City staff on offer and Public consultation on December 7th
  3. Decision on the selling of PDI on December 14th

This means that the decision will be made less than a month. Councillor Baldwin has asked multiple times whether there is a hard deadline on when council has to make a decision, the answer has been no every time. Every time a councillor tries to delay the decision the majority shoots it down. It’s increasingly seeming like the sale of PDI to Hydro One is foregone conclusion, and with the amount of enthusiasm shown for the Bethune street project, the money from the sale has a soft landing spot that would be approved of by all councillors.

More importantly, Councillor Parnell revealed that she goes to Farmers markets, while Councillor Riel revealed that he is about that bakery lifestyle.

Prepare yourself, Tough budgets are coming

Councillor Andrew Beamer in response to a call out for greater funding to Fairhaven Long Term Care responded with a call out of his own. He stated in future budgets, council will have to make much tougher decisions about which programs to fund and which to cut. He cited how an increase in property taxes in last year’s budget from 2.5% to 3.1% allowed that year to be one of particularly gratuitous spending on programs. Adamantly, Beamer said that council has extracted as much money that is possible from the taxpayer, which means that Council is in a zero sum game in which one programs life will cause another’s death.

This was in response to a common concern on Council which is the offloading of costs from the province to municipalities. When Lesley Parnell was on the board for Fairhaven long-term care in 2011, there was a surplus of $2 million, fast forward 5 years later and that surplus is gone. It’s no mystery that Peterborough has an aging population, yet Councillor Parnell decided to remind City Council not only of the impending nature of death, but also of antiquated gender constructs by stating that “no one on council is getting any younger, except for Diane (Therrien) and myself.” Councillor Parnell and Diane Therrien are the only two women on council out of a potential 11.

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