Saturday, June 07, 2008
Mark "The Coward" Grimes shows his face
There was a presentation on Thursday June 5 at the Father John Redmond Catholic High School about the proposed Colonel Sam Smith Skatepark in the park south of The Powerhouse. You may recall that Councillor Mark Grimes cancelled a proposed skateboard park when the community told him where to stick it. Look, I understand his problem. It's so difficult to make any kind of deal to do anything that he has to make it look like he's doing something when he's not actually doing much of anything except pissing people off. And as you will notice, he's not reacting very well to all this.
Councillor Mark Grimes did show up to this meeting but the brazen coward stood at the back of the room and refused to face us. Instead he forced Project Manager Stephen O'Bright to take the heat that he should take. The reason for this is Grimes doesn't really have a response other than this is the only deal he can make. He doesn't get that you don't make a bad deal just to make a deal. This Skatepark is a very idealistic plan and O'Bright was under instructions to present the best case scenario and not be prepared for the inevitable questions about how feasible this really is.
The concept is to spend two million bucks to turn the woodlands of Colonel Sam Smith Park into an ice skating trail. This is obviously based on a similar successful project that is in Brampton. Currently there is a path but it isn't refrigerated. So problem number one is how is this going to change the park. O'Bright tried to minimze that but he doesn't know and he also doesn't know if this will really cost two million. Who knows what they'll find when construction begins? So the current path is going to be refrigerated and they'll even have a zamboni to clean the ice. I'm sure the birds will love that.
So the tipoff that O'Bright doesn't know anything other than the concept is he starts talking about this skate park making the park "a destination" and that this will evolve over time. He was instructed not to answer any questions about the real ramifications of this concept. So when asked about annual operating costs, he conveniently forgot those figures at the office. There's also the question of this being designed to only be used in the winter. What happens in other times of the year? And what about security and trash cleanup? There's also going to be an elaborate lighting and sound system installed in the park. And they really don't want to talk about concessions because though it's not in the plan, you can bet your bottom dollar that someone will make a profit from exclusive concession rights. He tried to put a good face on this but either it hasn't been thought out very well or we're being intentionally misled.
I suggest the latter because it's pretty clear that Mark Grimes is desperate to do something, anything to make it look like he has done something while in office. That's what the gym extension is all about. But anyone with sense knows that none of this is adequate. Most of the questions asked by the community were not directed at O'Bright. They were directed at Grimes. There were a minority in favour but I am willing to bet most of them were plants. This is based on observations I made after the meeting. If you have to do that, there's something wrong. Mark Grimes doesn't want to talk to the residents of the community. He wants to hear what he wants to hear from his staff. And until someone who has his ear tells him how foolish he is to try and get this kind of nonsense over, nothing will change. The mark of a real man is one who responds to criticism and adversity with grace and listens. Mark Grimes' legacy is that of a brazen coward not interested in meaningful dialogue with the community. We don't need him.