Public meeting this Wednesday must provide answers to questions
Why are the mayor of Alberton and the provincial government so anxious to demolish the old Maplewood Manor instead of allowing a local developer the chance to renovate the building and bring more economic activity to the town?
Alberton could certainly use a shot in the arm and local resident Randy Noye is willing to invest his own money to try and make that happen. A public meeting on the manor property is planned for Wednesday where hopefully some questions can be answered.
Noye can provide more details on what his plans are, the mayor and province can explain why they see demolition as more advantageous than development, and the citizens can express their opinion on what option they prefer.
Maybe when all the facts are presented in an open forum, some common agreement can be reached instead of the acrimony which seems to have affected everyone involved in the issue.
The old manor sits directly in front of its replacement. One argument for demolition was to remove the old structure, allow people to have an unimpeded view of the new building and turn the old site into green space.
Rural P.E.I. needs all the economic activity it can muster so aesthetics would seem to have a weaker argument than creating jobs in this case. The manner in which demolition was approved caused a lot of the problems. The mayor had sent a letter to the province in August saying the town supported demolition and to move forward on the file. This was not necessarily the case.
At its regular monthly meeting Sept. 9, council voted unanimously for a motion supporting development. Mayor Michael Murphy called a special meeting a week later and convinced council to overturn that motion and support demolition by a 4-3 vote.
The mayor obviously convinced government to support this argument because it turned down an offer to buy the property from Mr. Noye and is proceeding towards demolition.
No one seems happy at this point.
Wednesday’s meeting is to gather input on what the community would like to see done with the property. This is what should have happened months ago.
Islanders deserve fair shake
Opposition finance critic James Aylward makes an excellent point with his argument that Islanders’ basic personal exception should be tied to the Consumer Price Index. To be fair with Islanders, Finance Minister Wes Sheridan should move on this suggestion.
Recent Statistics Canada figures showed P.E.I.’s CPI had the highest increase in the entire country last month while we have the lowest basic personal tax exemption in Canada at $7,708.
The critic notes the provincial government has hiked more than 300 government taxes and fees by tying them to CPI. Yet when it comes to giving Islanders a fair shake, the minister fails to follow his own example. The minister cannot argue for increases in taxes and fees on one hand and then disregard that argument while dealing with a similar issue. The personal tax exemption rate has not changed since the present government took power while the cost of living has risen more than 10 per cent and continues to rise. Islanders have one of the heaviest tax burdens in Canada. We pay among the highest rates in the country for gas, heating oil, electricity, food and the list goes on. Giving Islanders a higher personal exemption would put more money in their pockets and enable them to spend more, and thus stimulate the economy in a positive way.