Community Centre reno approved as town threatens critic

 

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The Town of Hudson threatens to initiate legal action against resident Véronique Fischer for her pamphlet critical of the town’s proposed loan bylaw to pay for up to $555,000 for renovations to the Community Centre and Legion building. Residents have been assured the town has applied for a $225,000 grant with the federal government’s Canada 150 infrastructure program and none of the loan will be spent if the town doesn’t receive the matching funds.
The Town of Hudson has been given the green light to proceed with its plan to borrow up to $555,000 for renovations to the Hudson Community Centre and Legion.

Tuesday’s register on loan bylaw 687 gathered 363 signatures, 65 short of the 428 which would have forced a referendum or the bylaw’s withdrawal.

In announcing the results Tuesday evening, Hudson’s Director-General Jean-Pierre Roy said the town has no news from the federal ministry responsible for administering the grants program under which the town says it has applied for up to $225,000.

Roy also served notice the town will initiate legal action against Olympic resident Veronique Fischer in connection with a pamphlet sent to Hudson households the week before the register.

Fischer’s mailing criticized the expenditure in the face of more pressing priorities, such as the town’s disintegrating roads and sidewalks and a potentially disastrous water shortage.

Its appearance in mailboxes triggered a lively debate about whether the administration has been transparent in its explanation of how it proposes to obtain a Canada 150 infrastructure grant.

It also generated a number of complaints to the town because Fischer’s pamphlet included the Hudson town logo, conceivably misleading residents to think the mailing originated with the town.

Asked whether the town proposes to take action against the author of the pamphlet, Roy said it contained false and misleading information. “This will not be tolerated,” he told a small group of journalists and citizens gathered on the front steps of the town hall, Fischer included.

“We’re in favour of a public debate, but people have the right to have correct information,” Roy continued. “There will be zero tolerance [for misinformation.]

Roy didn’t elaborate on misinformation allegedly contained in Fischer’s mailing, which pointed out that the loan bylaw contains no specifics about the grant application or on how the $555,000 is to be spent.

Fischer confirmed she was the author of the mailing, which cost her roughly $500, and said the administration’s threat didn’t scare her.

“I’m a lawyer, a litigator,” she added. “Cease-and-desists are my bread and butter.”

Although loan bylaws are usually accompanied by a public consultation where citizens can learn details and see plans and diagrams for themselves, the only information released to date was a short explanation by District 4 councillor Barbara Robinson at the April council meeting and a posting on the town website. which vowed that the town wouldn’t spend the loan if it doesn’t get the grant.

Fischer, who ran against Robinson in the 2013 municipal election, has been a persistent thorn in this administration’s side. One of her issues with the Prévost administration involved the plan to borrow $1.5 million to repave a number of streets.

It was suspended by the municipal affairs ministry, in part because the 15- or 20-year term of a loan bylaw cannot exceed the life of the repair it is used to pay for. Another factor in the suspension was due to the fact that many of Hudson’s so-called public roads are still privately owned, in whole or in part.

Fischer said the current administration has balked at voting for the funding to continue the notarial and survey procedures required to transfer those private roads to the public domain.

“I fully expect to be blamed for the roads, for Pine Lake,” she added. “But I’m not easily intimidated.”

This post was updated with the following correction: Barbara Robinson represents District 4, not District 2

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10 thoughts on “Community Centre reno approved as town threatens critic

  1. Democracy sucks when you’re on the losing side. I can’t remember the last time I have seen something so petty in all my life. 500$ to publish a terribly skewed paphlet.

    Véronique fisher doesn’t own the town of Hudson logo, the copyright isn’t in her name, and she shouldn’t have used it.

    It’s funny she promised to post the results at 7:15pm. But has gone radio silent since being threatened.

    This issue has bought a whole bunch of educated, intelligent adults to a squabbling bickering level. It happens on occasion, but this time it is remarkably petty.

    I said from the beginning, magically the same poise the town took- I’m all in for facts vs. facts. But when someone brings a skewed inaccurate and deliberately misleading written document to the argument to skew people to vote in a certain direction, I find that unacceptable.. and consequently so does the Town of Hudson.

    I’m ready to move on, I’m ready to upgrade the community center- of course, only with fed money as per exactly what I agreed upon. If the feds don’t cough up a dime, I want out. That is also what I agreed too.

    Like I was telling Louise earlier today, I just got my tax refund. So, I’ll see all the non-signers at the legion bar for drinks on me. Up to 500$. Hopefully we won’t get rained on inside. Seems like a much more positive and community building investment of 500$.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I should add and forgot to mention, I don’t believe suing someone for a biased pamphlet is the way to go. Suing someone has a horrible tendency not to work in Hudson. Yes the pamphlet was stupid, no the town logo should not have been used. But let’s not use a shot gun to kill an ant hill. It’ll just cost money with no light at the end of the tunnel.

      Plus, out has already given her the sensation of being a martyr for “freedom of speech”, which is completely irrelavent. This is playing out like a true Shakespeare play.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Out of curiosity, what in Fischer’s pamphlet was “skewed, inaccurate and deliberately misleading?” Be specific. Cite examples and present a logical argument to support your contention. This is directed to everyone, not just you, Kevin.
      As for the town logo, I doubt it was ever registered so let’s leave that aside while the town’s legal counsel researches.

      Like

    3. Kevin, every presentation of facts is skewed to the agenda of the writer. Human nature when trying to justify a position. It’s people’s responsibility to seek the truth by looking at multiple viewpoints, but in a modern world we’re too lazy and quick to judge.

      The best solution is transparency and clarity. Lacking that, angry people with an agenda can get a following much easier. So in the end Council got what they wanted, which is still not a win.

      I’m no expert, but the bylaw seems, to me, badly crafted and cobbled together. The fallback for no grant should not have been nothing happens, but a lesser project and less debt if the grant fell through. Then something would have actually been approved grant or no grant.

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    1. Now Brian, since we have a bunch of lawyers working in Town Hall, that could be taken as not a historic quote but a veiled threat and require legal action for a Grubert once again.

      Back when my wife Diane was sentenced repeatedly by election to be a school commissioner, during one very contentious period, at a public meeting one of her constituents asked how they could get rid of their school commissioner.

      The Chairman basically said wait till the next election. The citizen’s comment was something like “So unless she dies we’re stuck with her?” Veiled threat or stupid comment? No action was the response chosen and Diane wouldn’t have requested any.

      Imagine how Hudson 2017 would respond to exactly that scenario. SQ, SWAT Team, Body guards, media trucks?

      Disclaimer for Brian, this is not a suggestion and not a good idea for a question.

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  2. You are wrong Kevin. There was no winning side. All sides lost. When you have an elected body refusing to abide to the basic principles of disclosure, you have an opening for abuse. How many regulations were blatantly ignored by this Council. Perhaps you were invited to a public consultation meeting for this $555,000 loan bylaw. If you were, could you please advise the rest of Hudson how this money will be spent? Democracy, Accountability, Cities and Towns Acts, what exactly does that stand for in our little burg?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I had this massive response typed up, then my phone went all weird and I lost it. So next loan bylaw is to buy Kevin a better phone.

    I’m wrong: according to you. There absolutely is a winning side, it’s the side you don’t see. Our community center is going to get a revamp, face lift and general improvements to a building most of us use, and some do so for emergency purposes. I’m part of the team MAKE THE COMMUNITY CENTER GREAT AGAIN, of course only with federal money, If not, I’m more then happy the renovations don’t get done. And like has been said 8 million times, No grant, no bylaw.

    You keep saying.. Details, I want details. Here are the details. The community center is going to get a face lift worth the total sum (including federal grant) of 555,000$. Those are the details. If that’s not enough for you, well, that is a you problem and not a me problem. Call me crazy, but I’m not sure the curlers enjoy being rained on while they are playing curling. But If you’re looking for details like tile #1,473 is damaged at 36% of its total area, and tile #1,597 has a 18 mm indent in it which causes additional surface friction. Shingle #2,789 is beginning to curl on the roof while Shingle #1,528 blew off in the storm of July 2001. I wouldn’t wait up for these details. I don’t care about those details. And although this may be a more acceptable solution to the Veronique camp, Gorilla tape has its limitations and can’t fix everything.

    But you did mention something of great interest to me, a public consultation meeting. Let’s not bullshit each other for 5 minutes, I’m as a straight shooter as they get. What would a public consultation have done? The people that walk into the meeting are as deadest against these types of projects as when they walk out. Rarely, does someone have an epiphany and realize there thought process was errant and they’ve been shown the light of the new way. It’s a colossal waste of time. All you have is self proclaimed experts walking around the community center poo-pooing any planned renovations by letting their flawed so called expert opinionated comments get in the way of factual issues. What you have at a public consultation meeting is 300x Trevor Smiths who are convinced their opinion is of more value then facts and money doesn’t need to be spent and could fix the problem themselves. Put tape on it! Screw it in tighter! I could fix that for 50 cents with my eyes shut! My friend has those tiles that match that so we don’t need to buy any! I can fix pine lake myself! Me, I can read the water meters! (Jim McDermott). We all want to save money. Everyone. You keep forgetting that the Councillors are also Hudson residents. And their decisions affect their taxes as well.

    The registry is over. Democracy spoke. I don’t value the opinions of the loud minority over the quiet majority. The registry was as democratic as it could have possibly been, it was well advertised, public notices were well placed and anyone who chose not to partake, well, that is their loss. You can’t put guns to people’s heads and force them. You’ll also have to accept that some people couldn’t give a tin shit about this issue. That is also a fact.

    So to reiterate, No, not everyone lost. That is your opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Poli. Sci. 101- first year students learn
    that the tool that many politicians use is the – Find a Common Enemy, Polirize the Discussion, so that everyone is too buzzy fighting one another to see the big picture. Don’t gloat about what you perceive to be a victory, it wasn’t.

    Liked by 1 person

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