To Mayor Dilkens & City Council,
With regard the recent F.I.N.A. swimming event I would ask why inquiries into hotel room expenses were first refused by the city? Why the knee jerk reaction to force an absolutely unnecessary FOI request? Why is F.I.N.A. now interfering with this simple request for an accurate accounting of taxpayer dollars? There is absolutely no legitimate reason to withhold this information. F.I.N.A. clearly has no respect for the very people who paid millions of dollars to host their activities.
This attempt by F.I.N.A. to block the inquiry is reason enough for me not to want to spend another nickel on them or their events. The taxpayers deserve an accurate and independent report on all of the expenses and revenue generated by this event. Please spare us the political rhetoric about the provincial contribution as that too is taxpayer money.
A “guesstimate” along with unsubstantiated claims by our mayor and others simply aren’t good enough when spending millions of taxpayers’ hard earned dollars. A report by the Canadian Sports Tourism Alliance, a group with a vested interest in the results of said report, again is simply not good enough. Just because the model is used by other governments does not make it right for this situation. Why not examine the more stringent Quebec model? Why not an honest third party audit of the event so that we truly understand the value for money aspect of the event?
Do any you understand how insulting it is for the taxpayer to have to beg for an honest and accurate accounting of our expenditures? You answer to us every day, not every four years. During the election campaign how many of you trumpeted the need for transparency in municipal government? The majority of you have since voted against a true independent auditor general and now are making it difficult for the taxpayer to understand what, if any, benefit the F.I.N.A. event may have generated. When this accounting happens please do not count our taxpayer contributed dollars as revenue.
The following quote from a recent Gord Henderson column could easily sum up how many of us taxpayers are feeling about the numbers being cited by Mayor Dilkens, Peter Knowles and others. “It’s literally like fake news, said Dilkens. Throw out a bunch of numbers, the bigger the better, and the gullible will happily swallow it.”
In a recent Anne Jarvis column Mayor Dilkens is quoted as follows ““We have a sports tourism officer who’s going to continue to pursue opportunities,” said Dilkens. “We know there’s huge value in hosting these events.” How do we know this Mr. Mayor? None of the public evidence past or present supports your statement. Why do you continue to push this agenda in spite of mounting evidence contrary to your claims?
I’ll take a moment now to respectfully request that all of you refrain from the predictable name calling of citizens with an opposing view that has become your modus operandi. We are not against the athletes. We are not against the events. We are not conspiracy theorists, boo-birds, naysayers or any of the other foolish names you call us.
One in six of us in this community live in poverty. That’s a recent statistic you can check with reliable sources. We the so called naysayers and conspiracy theorists are no more than community minded citizens who oppose to being treated with disdain and disrespect when all we want is an accurate accounting of the spending of our hard earned money.
It is commendable to set our community goals high. That being said we are not Barcelona, Paris or Beijing. Our goal should be to be the best possible community of our size. Sometimes that may mean spending our money on less sexy things that are proven to benefit a community rather than niche sports events with a questionable return on investment.
All too frequently this mayor and council are operating in virtual isolation. It is time that you truly engage the citizens of this community, even the ones who may not agree with the current agenda. Our voices will be heard regardless of the ongoing effort to discredit us.