Une nouvelle Étude de la planification stratégique à 10 000$ pour le Village / A New $10,000 Strategic Planning Study for the Village

(English follows)

Parmi les points à l’ordre du jour de la réunion du conseil municipal de North Hatley du 7 octobre, figurait une motion visant à autoriser le paiement de 10 000 dollars à un consultant externe pour une nouvelle étude de la planification stratégique pour le village.

En réponse à une question concernant l’origine de cette proposition, le conseil semblait confus et a déclaré qu’il s’agissait d’une continuation d’une étude initiée par un conseil précédent, pour laquelle la municipalité avait reçu une subvention de 5 000 dollars d’une personne concernée et qui impliquait la participation d’un programme d’études universitaires. Cette étude était antérieure à l’acceptation par le conseil du projet de condos dans la zone inondable de M. Laliberte, auquel cette étude devait jouer un rôle.

Étant donné que le conseil a dépensé plus de 300 000 dollars pour des études sur le projet de condos, des sommes non autorisées par les citoyens pour des études qui n’ont toujours pas été acceptées par le gouvernement provincial, il faut se demander encore une fois, pourquoi dépensons-nous encore de l’argent pour une autre étude stratégique alors qu’une étude antérieure n’a toujours pas reçu l’aval du gouvernement?

Puisque moins de 30 contribuables étaient présents à la réunion du conseil du mois d’octobre, ne serait-il pas opportun de demander officiellement l’avis de tous ceux qui payent pour ces contes de fées?

Après tout, le village a une dette à long terme de plus de 10 millions de dollars, un montant énorme pour notre petite population et il n’est aucunement évident que les membres du conseil comprennent ce qui se passe ou ce qu’ils font ou ce à quoi ils nous engagent!

Etant donné que le budget 2020 sera à l’ordre du jour des trois prochaines réunions du conseil, il sera dans l’intérêt de tout le monde d’y assister et de vérifier le nouveau budget AVANT qu’il ne soit adopté.

Veuillez envoyer vos commentaires sur Fanhca, avec une copie à info@northhatley.org

Don Watt, citoyen

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Among other items on the October 7th council agenda was a motion passed to authorize $10,000 to fund a new Strategic Planning Study for the village by an outside consultant.

In reply to a question as to who originated this proposal, the council seemed confused, and said it was a continuation of a study initiated by a previous council, for which incidentally, they received some years back, a $5000 grant from a concerned resident, involving a university student study program. This predates the council’s acceptance of M. Laliberte’s flood zone condo project, of which this study was supposed to play a part.

Since the council has spent upwards of $300,000 on studies for the condo project, unauthorized by citizens, which is still under review by the provincial government, one has to wonder again, why are we spending more money on another Strategic Study Plan when the last one is under consideration by the government?

Since there were fewer than 30 taxpayers at this meeting, would it not be timely to have formal input from those of us who have to pay for these fairy tales?

After all, the village has a long-term debt in excess of $10 million, a huge amount for the size of our tiny population and our council gives no evidence of understanding why or what they are doing or to what they are committing us! 

Since the next three council meetings will no doubt have the 2020 budget on the agenda, it will be in the interests of all parties to attend and vet the new budget BEFORE it is adopted.

Please post your comments to Fanhca by return, with an e-mail copy to info@northhatley.org

Don Watt, citizen

2 thoughts on “Une nouvelle Étude de la planification stratégique à 10 000$ pour le Village / A New $10,000 Strategic Planning Study for the Village”

  1. Although I think the consultation of the citizens of North Hatley on the future of the village is essentially a laudable step, there are certain elements that require clarification: 1. What is the final status of the condominium project?; 2. Will the consultation be carried out in a way to elicit a wide variety of reactions from the citizenry rather than simply to approve what Council had already decided; 3. Should the citizens bear the full financial brunt of this consultation, or should the MRC also be asked to contribute? The case of St-Irénée in the Charlevoix can be cited as a positive example. In September 2018 the municipality held a public consultation on its future, attended only by citizens (no media, no council members, no municipal administrators). The aim was for citizens (including children) to be able to express themselves fully and openly. An outside consultant was involved in organizing the event, paid through financial aid from the MRC. Our council members were made aware at the time of this approach to public consultation; let’s hope — no let’s insist — that they have learned from it.

  2. Last July, during a discussion about the pending demolition of the Connaught Home, I expressed to Councillor Elizabeth Fee my ongoing concern regarding the lack of a master plan for North Hatley. Ms Fee replied—with open and honest candour—that the town can’t afford a town planner and hasn’t the expertise within its own ranks to take this on (see the quote below).

    I repeated her comment to a respected local architect who said that the town can’t afford not to have a master plan.

    As Don Watt mentions, North Hatley is ten million dollars in debt yet it spends well over a quarter of a million on a proposed development project that might not get off the ground. The town spent $28,000 on studies for embellishments to the new bridge and then asked the Ministry of Transport to fund them to the tune of $400,000. The Ministry refused, of course, leaving the town out of pocket for the studies.

    But North Hatley has no money for future planning.

    At this point, with an election a year away, perhaps our administration will show a little more forward thinking, putting this $10,000 strategic study towards budgeting for a survey of the population to find out how the citizens view the future of our beautiful village and then investing in an urban plan.

    Instead of pulling the covers over its head and saying we can’t, we don’t know how, therefore we won’t, the administration should seek out local expertise and then be telling the world that North Hatley has a vision and that potential investors are welcome to consult the master plan, to take advantage of short-term tax incentives, to help them help us to fulfill our long-term goals.

    It should not be allowing outsiders tell us what our future will look like because, so far, that hasn’t worked. That has cost us a great deal of time, frustrated energy, and money.

    Brian Merrett

    * “I wish our village was big enough to be able to afford professional urban planners. Our volunteer council tries, but we have not at present got a clearly declared vision of where we want to go with our village, and lack the expertise and time to develop one. I regret this, and hope that we can pull something together in the future.”
    ⁃ Councillor Elizabeth Fee, 22 July, 2019

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