Brockville, Ontario


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A formula for success


11th annual Ribfest grows again this year

Each year Ribfest seems to grow in popularity while many other festivals seem to struggle to keep their heads above the water, each year looking as if it will be their last. 

There are a number of factors to consider for the different festivals including weather, entertainment venues and line-up and countless other variables that can make or break an event.  Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) has been blessed by clear and sunny skies in recent years, but it’s more than just cooperative weather that has made Ribfest a record-breaking success.

The formula is simple:  local talent, interactive scheduled events and as close to complete participation from businesses in the area makes up the recipe Ribfest has perfected.  All of this is made possible by the cause that BBBS represents: a children’s services organization, offering a better life for the kids in their community. 

The entertainment is another key to their success.  Having something for all ages throughout the four-day event is a must.  From the opening of the Kidz Zone on Thursday, there are several games and fun activities for kids of all ages.  The fishing derby and different performers geared towards children make it easy to spend hours on the grounds without the fear of your child’s restlessness setting in.  It isn’t surprising that BBBS has the formula for keeping kids occupied and having fun. 

It isn’t geared solely towards kids, with entertainment, the vendors, the beer tent, and of course the food, which attracts people of all ages. 

No admission at the gates is another key factor that the public has recognized as a big plus for Ribfest.  Knowing that it doesn’t cost anything to get in gives people a more relaxed feeling about staying as long as they want or leaving and coming back another day. 

Whatever the details for the formula of a successful festival may be, Big Brothers Big Sisters has come up with it.  Many aspects are factored in, and the combination of everything Ribfest has to offer along with the support the community has for the organization itself seem to come up with the ultimate formula. 

Congratulations to Big Brothers Big Sisters and everyone who helped make this another highly successful event!

Letter responding to the Mayor

In a recent article by Mayor Henderson he asked the question “What is a development charge?” In that letter he very logically explained the “official” version of what a development charge is. He claims they are a form of taxation and a form of user pay.

The Mayor proceeds to explain studies that the City is required “to establish what costs are purely related to growth”. He talks about the sewage treatment plant and roads. He finishes this part of his specious argument with “what the additional cost that a city will have to pay to up grade and maintain those roads due solely to the additional bodies.”

I moved to Brockville in 1980 to open my dealership and the sign on the 401 said the population of Brockville was 21,000. Today in 2011 that same sign says 22,000. The reality is that the population of Brockville is closer to 20,000. So it is easy to conclude that there has been no growth in “bodies” in Brockville to justify this tax.

In the 31 years I have been here, the only addition to the land mass acquired by Brockville is the addition of Country Club Place which adds over a $250,000 to the yearly taxes. From a land perspective Brockville hasn’t grown either.

During my 31 years here, I have seen a new police station, a second fire station and more municipal employees and the list goes on. I don’t have the exact figures but I am sure one could look up the 1980 city budget and look up the 2011 and see a significant difference, probably 4 to 5 times what it was in 1980. Now that’s growth!

Why has there been such a massive increase in municipal infrastructure? I am sure that the provincial government mandates & increase wages are major sources of those expenses. It does mystify me that the Mayor is focused on such “little fruit” as $2-5,000 per new house built, which might equal $25,000 to $40,000 per year. An amount the new buyer would have to add to their mortgage, when those same houses will pay $2,500 to $10,000 every year once occupied.

An example of this would be two developments that I was involved in. Butlers’ Creek and Courtyards of Kincaid. One is a 52 home subdivision that we built on land that once generated $800 per year. My company cleaned, installed a new street with fire hydrants, lights and sewers and built homes. We built a park with tennis courts and gave it to the city. The taxes are almost $200,000 every year. The other development is a 10 house subdivision, which the Mayor knows well, that now produces almost $50,000 in taxes.
Both of these developments would have paid some form of development fees, however the city now receives a nice yearly income.  Don’t forget every time your house or place of business is reassessed, you/we pay more taxes to the city.

The mayor completes his argument saying buyers would prefer “quieter, safer, park filled, clean little heritage community” rather than lower prices. He talks about competitive markets, and proceeds to suggest that the developers might not be passing on the savings because the same number of houses are still being built. One has to ask why people build in the township then.

Now let me remind the readers that prior to becoming a politician, David Henderson lead the charge on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce to reduce the taxes the Industries were paying in Brockville. He was successful and the city subsequently used most of the money from the sale of the PUC to reduce those taxes. Money we seem to need now. I agreed with that decision. However using his argument one could say that his successful campaign at tax reduction didn’t increase industrial activity in this city at all. I would argue that it saved jobs, but it certainly has not brought any new industries to this city.

Development is a different story than an industry in the normal sense of the word, however what Mayor Henderson is missing is that it is an industry. Why is it if you are an out of town developer or industry looking at doing something or relocating into Brockville you are fêted, but a local developer can not get the same attention from the Mayor and CAO. The examples abound. Do we not value our local resources enough? If development brings that much money to the city’s bottom line why isn’t local development (both residential & commercial) part of Dave Paul’s Economic development portfolio?

Mr. Mayor, you have been brain washed by the institution you serve. I know it is a normal part of the process but I for one would like the old Dave Henderson back. The Dave who wanted to see growth, was going to fight those high commercial taxes and take on the provincial government about down loading. Isn’t it time the city learned to live with-in it’s budget? Stop passing the hidden user fees and taxes down. We have much bigger fish to fry and it’s our expenses. Mr. Mayor just ask me!

Rick Walker
1000 Islands Toyota; Walker Developments


A formula for success

  11th annual Ribfest grows again this year Each year Ribfest seems to grow in popularity while many other festivals s... Read more


Letter responding to the Mayor

In a recent article by Mayor Henderson he asked the question “What is a development charge?” In that letter he very logi... Read more


On Education & Parental Involvement

As out-going School Council Chair for Thousand Islands Secondary School, I am encouraging all parents to take up the cha... Read more


Something thought of, but shouldn’t be said

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Here’s an idea that’s outside of the box, what about a regional police service?  The good thing about our police service... Read more


Brockville finds it in their hearts for the less fortunate

City fundraising keeps going despite tough economical times The businesses and individuals around the Brockville area ... Read more



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