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To the editor,
At the December 12 Meaford council meeting, item 6.2 (a) on the agenda, dealt with the purchase by MOM (Municipality of Meaford) of a vacant lot adjacent to Woodford Hall, apparently for the purpose of creating a paved parking lot. To anyone who has been following the recent happenings at the hall the logic of this intended purchase remains a mystery. There are so many areas of concern and so many questions that need to be answered.

What is the rationality for purchasing then paving over grass and natural woodland and how does it fit into MOMs 'green strategy'? What would Joni Mitchell think of such an action especially as there is presently a huge area available for parking at the rear of the hall.
Has there been any consultation regarding this acquisition with 'the friends' of Woodford Hall, former friends of Woodford Hall, local residents or potential users of the hall? If there has, we taxpayers have a right to know how many, who and when? considering that seven of the original nine friends have resigned and have lost all interest.
Our treasurer warns us that we can expect at least a 5% tax increase next year because of asset depreciation so why would we even consider increasing our asset portfolio without first seeing a business plan. We cannot afford to properly maintain our cemetery, we already have enough vacant lots in this Municipality, why do we need to support more un-needed expense? There is no financial plan available to the public to justify the spending of $51,000 on Woodford Hall, $30,000 on the lot and possibly $20,000 on paving, a total of almost $100,000 that will at the very most earn only $2200 annually from rentals, even less if the stage is removed. The hall is not fully legally accessible and if the basement is to be used, lawsuits are quite possible. Now that the majority of volunteers who used to manage and operate the hall have all resigned, the hall will be operated by MOM staff which guarantees the hiring of more employees resulting in consumption of tax dollars which could be better spent elsewhere and less effective service.
The appearance of big bad MOM in the form of an extra layer of municipal bureaucracy managed by staff stifles debate and refuses logical reasoning. With a limited budget, this Municipal Government cannot continue to subsidize the needs of a declining user base. If after full debate and disclosure, the above questions can be answered to the taxpayers' general satisfaction, then proceed as planned; if not, Woodford Hall should be sold or leased back to the people who created, managed and cherished it, the volunteers. We must not forget what community halls are really for, namely, the community.

David Long,

Eastern Meaford




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