THE WASAGA BEACH STOCKWELL REPORT
Last week this column was dedicated to the process of developing a new downtown for Wasaga Beach. It spoke of the appointment of a multidisciplinary team, led by Forrec Ltd., who will carry out the planning of a new downtown area and report to Council at the end of the eight month process. During two public presentations, the need for such a process, and the process itself, was explained by the consulting team. The presentations drew a good number of interested citizens who enthusiastically supported them. As the purchase and operation of the seventeen buildings on Beach One dominated the first two years of Council`s agenda, the planning and development of a new downtown will dominate Council`s agenda over the next two years. As one member of Council I am a big supporter of a new downtown. However, I appreciate the amount of time and attention that the downtown process will take from both Staff and Council in the final two years of this Council. In providing that attention from both Staff and Council, I believe that it is imperative that we don`t lose site of the continued development of Beach One, and the creation of a profitable activity program for the site. It is for these reasons that during a Committee of the Whole meeting, that took place earlier this week, I advised Council that at the September Committee of the Whole meeting I will be presenting a Notice of Motion. The Motion will request the C.A.O. to bring forward a report to the Committee that Council give consideration to the establishment of a Board of Governors to be responsible for the maintenance, program planning, and the day to day operation of Beach One. The idea of a Board of Governors, or a Management Board, made up of the Mayor and one, or two, members of Council, plus four or five citizens, would tap a wealth of experience that exists in our community. The citizens would be appointed due to their past experience in one or more of the following fields: property management; entertainment; food service; trade show production; and tourism. It would also remove the day to day management of Beach One from the world of politics, that has hampered the decision making process since the Municipality has taken ownership of the site. The Management By-Law would still leave the elected Council in charge of the purchase and sale of land, approval of annual operating budgets, and the approval of contracts that would commit the Municipality over a set amount of time. No additional staff would be required to operate the facility. It would simply be a case of seconding whatever municipal staff that now “works the site” to the Board of Governors to continue their duties. The only difference would be is that staff would be located on-site at Beach One, and answer to the newly appointed Board. Using an old military phrase, they would answer to the Board but would remain Municipal employees when it came to “Pay and Rations.” The Board would perform their duties under a set of rules and regulations laid down by Council. The idea of a Federal, Provincial, or Municipal Government turning over the operation of a facility or service to a management board is not new. In my career I have served as Chairman of the O`Keefe Centre of the Performing Arts, which was owned by Metro Toronto Council, and Chief General Manager of Exhibition Place, also owned by the Metro Toronto Council. Both facilities thrived under an independent board. Under the Rules of Procedure governing Council, a member who wants to have Council consider a matter, must first present a Notice of Motion, stating the Motion, to the Committee, or Council meeting that would normally deal with such a Motion. The Motion would then be placed on the agenda of the next scheduled meeting of that Committee so that the item may be debated and voted upon. Once the decision of the Committee is ratified by Council, the subject matter is then put into practice. My specific motion is to call upon the C. A.O. to bring a report to Committee of the Whole, addressing the subject of establishing a Board of Governors to carry out the day to day operation of Beach One, for their consideration. The C.A O. will investigate the legality of such a move, as well as investigate the existing boards in other municipalities across the province, along with anything else that he feels will help Council in their consideration of such a decision. He then will report back to the Committee of the Whole who will take the matter on themselves. So, as you can see, a lot of thought and public debate will take place before a final decision is made, I believe that such a move is worthy of consideration.