Re: April 2, 2013 Council Agenda (Sauble parking, Oliphant water system costs) (Craig’s 3-12)

The pdf version of the full agenda package is at:

An Html version is at:

Following are comments on a few agenda items.

Agenda item 7.1 – Bev Buckton and Mike Graham, Sauble Chamber of Commerce-Effects of Paid Parking on Tourism and Commerce in Sauble Beach

The Sauble Chamber of commence members have only one strategy – get the taxpayers of TSBP to subsidize them.

During the 2010 election chamber members offended all seasonal residents in the TSBP by suggesting that seasonal residents should have less say in policy decisions than “permanent” residents.

Also in 2010, in an attempt to force a 70 million dollar sewers project at Sauble so they could turn Sauble into Myrtle Beach, the Sauble chamber, without grounds, falsely blamed Sauble beach closures on septic systems.

With all that chamber deceit, no one but chamber members and John Close believe anything the chamber says.

Now the chamber is trying to tell us, the residents of the Town of South Bruce Peninsula, that their proposal for dropping parking rates at Sauble from $15 a day to $5 a day is for the benefit of the residents of TSBP.

Isn’t that nice. The Sauble chamber members have put the interests and wellbeing of the residents of the Town of South Bruce peninsula ahead of their own interests. The Sauble chamber is looking out for us.

At least that’s what the Sauble Chamber wants us to believe.

The problem is that it is untrue. The fact is that the Sauble chamber is looking out for themselves, and for themselves alone, to the detriment of the residents.

Here are some of the lies and misrepresentations in the Sauble chamber’s April 2 presentation to council.

The chamber says:

“additional revenue will flow into local businesses, allowing them to add more staff, add improvements and grow the local economy”

The economy will not grow.

It may be true that additional revenue will flow into tourism businesses if parking rates are cut down.

But what the chamber fails to tell us is that the current $300,000 in parking revenues cover a good chunk of the beach maintenance costs, and if part or all of that $300,000 parking revenue goes away with lower parking rates, then taxes for all TSBP residents will have to be increased by as much as $300,000 to cover the existing beach maintenance costs and up to another $100,000 to cover the increased beach maintenance costs resulting from more tourists.

Residents use their money for consumption or investment.

Take $200,000 to $400,000 out of the pockets of the residents and that’s $200,000 to $400,000 less that they are spending and investing. That’s $200,000 to $400,000 taken out of the economy. So the economy is going to suffer, not improve.

Reducing the parking rate is good for the Sauble tourism businesses. But it’s bad for everyone else, and bad for the economy.

It is also unfair to take from some citizen’s, making them poorer, and just give it to others, making them richer.

The Chamber says:

“tourism is the economic engine driving Sauble beach and much of TSBP”

That’s false. Tourism may be the largest commercial component of GDP in the Sauble Beach area. But the economy is far more than commercial. Tourism is a small part of GDP.

And even if tourism were a bigger part of the economy, it wouldn’t justify taking $200,000 to $400,000 out of the pockets of the residents and using it to subsidize the Sauble tourism industry.

The chamber members may sit around their boardroom table chanting:

“if “they” don’t support us the town will perish” ….“We’re entitled …, We’re entitled …, We’re entitled …”,

But chanting ridiculous lies does not make truth, no matter how long and hard the chant. The chamber members need to get real.

The Chamber says:

“sauble beach businesses are a significant portion of the tax base”

This is just plain false.

All commercial properties in the TSBP represent only 3.7 per cent of the property assessments in TSBP. That’s 3.7 per cent of the tax base. That’s not a “significant portion”.

And tourism is going to be a fraction of the total commercial assessment.

And Sauble tourism again a fraction of that.

I don’t have any assessment data yet for just Sauble tourism properties, but I expect it’s less than 1 per cent of the total assessment.

One per cent or 3.7 per cent – it’s still an insignificant portion.

And even if the Sauble tourism sector was a larger portion of the tax base, it would be irrelevant.

Because if the tourism businesses were not there, the properties would still be paying property tax commensurate with municipal costs incurred. There is no gain to the town or the residents from the property taxes paid by businesses.

The Sauble chamber says:

“we contribute significant income for year round and seasonal residents allowing employees to pay bills tuition, and more”

This is a misrepresentation. First of all the chamber businesses do not “contribute” money to their employees. The pay their employees. Employees work for their money. The chamber pays them because they are bound by contract to do so.

The chamber makes it sound like paying wages is something they do out of the goodness of their hearts.  Wages are not a “contribution”.  They pay people so they can profit.

More importantly, as argued above, taking another $200,000 to $400,000 or more from the residents to subsidize the chamber members makes the residents $200,000 to $400,000 poorer, making it harder for them to pay bills, pay tuition, renovate their homes, start small businesses, and much more.

The Sauble chamber says:

“TSBP’s partnership with the Sauble Chamber is positively affecting our community – thank you for your support.”

First of all we the “town” do not have a partnership with the Sauble chamber. Council is illegally giving the town’s money to the chamber. But that’s a result of a partnership between John Close (and accomplices) and the Chamber. It is not a partnership with the town.

Secondly, as argued above, taking another $200,000 to $400,000 per year out of the pockets of the residents is, contrary to the chamber claim, negatively affecting “our community”.

The chamber has included results from two surveys in their presentations.

The implied conclusion is that residents support the chamber proposals of reduced rates.

These results are misleading, and the implied conclusions are invalid.

Anyone can decide what answer they want for a survey question asked, and get that answer simply by asking a leading question. The leading question is false or biased or incomplete information.

So for example the chamber asked:

“Many tourists complain about the cost of parking at Sauble Beach. Do you believe paid parking is negatively affecting tourism?”

That’s a leading question. The person who posed the question already knew what answer he or she wanted respondents to give. The surveyor biased the result. Any conclusions are invalid.

In addition there is no control to make sure that the survey respondents were randomly chosen, so the respondents that agree with the chamber could have been selected at higher than their proportion of the population. This too would bias the results.

The survey is useless.

Sometime after the chamber presentation on Tuesday, it will be put to council to decide what to do with it.

I hope council members are not gullible enough to believe the chamber misinformation.

In the past council has ignored the plight of the residents and ignored concil members’ sworn duty to the residents and council has instead catered to the Sauble chamber’s ridiculous demands, at the expense of the residents.

What will council do about parking fees?

Council has an obligation to the residents of the town.

Will council ignore the extra $200,000 to $400,000 burden on the taxpayers and coddle to the demands of the Sauble Chamber?

Will some council member propose that staff put together a “parking fees recommendation”?

We already know where John Close stands.

In a March 18, 2013 interview with John Divinski, John Close apparently said that he

“would like to see the [Sauble parking] levy eliminated altogether.”

John is also reported as saying:

“in these rough economic times, they need the tourists in the region to enjoy the beaches and if reduced parking rates does it, then so be it.”

It’s clear that Close is spouting the same economic mistruths as the Sauble chamber.

But that’s not surprising.

John Close is a member of the Wiarton Chamber of Commerce. I do not know if he is a member of the Sauble Chamber too.

For his Sauble chamber buddies John Close thinks nothing of adding $200,000 to $400,000 to the heavy burden TSBP taxpayers already face.

For his chamber buddies John Close thinks nothing of throwing the residents under the bus.

Will council act for the residents and deny the chamber request?

Will any council member, knowing repercussions could be severe, dare to argue against John Close?

Will any council member, knowing repercussions could be severe, dare to speak for the residents of TSBP?

Will council members be considering the votes they can get in the 2014 election by supporting the chamber and throwing the residents under the bus?

Will some council member propose that staff work with the chamber to put together a “parking fees report” for council to accept?

Will some councillor have the courage to ask for a recorded vote so the residents can see what their elected representatives are saying?

Message to council – We’re watching you.

Agenda item 7.2 Betty Hall and Ana Vukovic-Operating and Capital Cost of Small Communal Wells

Council in the March 18 meeting decided to refurbish the Oliphant water plant and charge all TSBP taxpayers for half the bill.

In my most recent (3-11) of several commentaries on the out-of-control Oliphant small water system fisco I showed that taxing non-users to pay for the refurbishing is illegal.

Betty Hall and Ana Vukovic were councillors in the 2006 to 2010 council, when some of the water system changes were put in place.

It will be interesting to hear their perspective on the current council’s actions.


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