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Random Thoughts





Nightly, as we drift to sleep Donnee and I listen to Omaha Nebraska, KFAB, just to hear how the right wing enthusiasts interpret the day’s news. Almost 50% of Americans put their “X”of approval on someone who admits that all of his promises before the election were just words to be elected by and shouldn’t be taken seriously! But Portagers should be able to have empathy with our American neighbours because we have snake oil salesmen among us also. Our grandparents would have hated this situation because they believed in straight shooting. A man that promised and did not deliver was no man at all! But bull-shit government has developed here due to years of back room governance and we now have a nearly non-fixable situation in City Hall! How did we do it? By allowing ourselves to be groomed as an electorate of dummies. I hope my feelings about our government and the electorate here are not permanent, nothing is, and we can fix the problem. However, our low voter turnout and our apathy to Council’s foolish decisions surely indicate we are unaware of the seriousness of their recent moves until they are passed into law! And then we traditionally seem to wake up! Best possible example of this is the choice of location of the community centre!

This backroom style of governing has festered as council’s modus operandi for years, but now they have added the extra insult to us by forbidding the presence of the press and the public in the Committee of the whole meetings. Why is it even important that the public be allowed into the Committee of the Whole meeting? This council to a ‘man’ have placed no value on the public and the press being allowed into that meeting and yet it is the very meat of our government, the rest is just a stage play and we get to play the fools. There is a good reason why over these hundreds of years the Fifth Estate (the Press) is so important. The Press acts as our protector, our bulwark against the takeover by the few! The ‘backroom method’ draws a curtain of secrecy over anything council does not wish us to know. It is however that lack of background knowledge that keeps us ignorant and has developed the uncaring attitude that currently cripples us. Apathy is us! Every report on council’s business just reinforces to me what a bollocks they are making for us and future taxpayers! A council should give us grounds for hope! Ahead of us though lay the sale of our water treatment facility and our sewage treatment facility to an outside corporation. Portage la Prairie supplies water to countless communities far and wide around us. If the acquiring group, who will probably be the corporation that controls much of the southwest America’s water treatment, can make money from our system, then why can we not at least break even on it? The P3 concept is not being carried out for our benefit, but to clean up the Assiniboine River down-river from our sewage plant, and thus help to clean up the plume of blue-green algae that is making the wealthy cottage owners on Lake Winnipeg distraught! Simplot processes their own sewage in this community. My concern is that the multimillion dollar burden not fall unfairly on to local taxpayers because you can be assured that the new water and sewage processor will hold the city (the taxpayers) responsible for their losses and upgrades! They are not going into this for fun! It is for profit! The effluent that is the source of the waste to be treated is McCain’s potato waste. Therefore the three parties that benefit most from this upgrade are the potato growers, McCain’s (the potato processor) and the people who have jobs in Portage (and thus the merchants of Portage). What percent of the P3’s enormous cost will be contributed by the Rural Municipality of Portage la Prairie? What is the actual figure that Portage la Prairie is facing? If we are to see our taxes escalate for years into the future we must surely have a formal agreement that guarantees that McCain’s will not pull up stakes and leave us with an over-sized, underused and privately operated water and sewage treatment system! We couldn’t be that stupid could we? But what is our track record in the stupid department? There is no rush to tear out the bridge. Lets examine all the possibilities. Stride Place is undergoing much remedial work, a remake on the dehumidification system and even a possible replacement of the cement under the ice surfaces. The engineer that the city hired to assess the real condition of the “PCU building” in essence tells us this: you built this lemon and now all you can do is throw money at it for 99 years! Purely because of the Island location of the PCU there has been this scheme to build a three lane causeway over to it! The reason why some sober second thought is called for is the report that council is daring to keep hidden from us! The report was tendered to the City at the time the 75% of bridge piles were replaced. The City engineer of the day stated in it that for a mere million dollars our present wooden bridge could be put into first rate shape and answer our needs. But now Councillor Dreiger tells us they have got the cost of the new bridge down from 15 million to ONLY 9 million dollars! Then the cost was dropped to $6 million but the giant culverts were dropped from the plan! So now council proposes that we spend 6 million dollars and lose our historic wooden bridge as well! The grisly flaw in this whole bridge discussion is that nowhere in the planning has council requested the engineers to come up with a scenario whereby we get to re-purpose our existing bridge as a community cultural asset! The discussions of our economic future all indicate that we lack a hook--some positive, tangible allure, to bring the tourists into the City. I am suggesting that we already have that hook! We simply have to open our minds and do what many other communities have done with their obsolete bridge. Keep it, and turn it into an asset for citizen cultural use. I think it is time for us to turn in our sheep badges!



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Hello and welcome to my thought process !

I suspect that if this resembles my Facebook in any way that there will be subjects I post on that will be offensive to some. I welcome all comments and constructive criticism and corrections are always welcome as it helps my site improve.  If you are just commenting to be negative then post your grievances in the Forum section as that is what it is designed for. Thank you for your cooperation.                           --- Don ---

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