Disclosure an easy call

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The answer was surprisingly easy.

The question was a little more complicated.

How much, we were asked, did the Truro Daily News agonize before opting to print the actual amount donated by the two primary private donors to the new Rath EastLink Community Centre?

"Not at all," was the reply. Why? Because the public has a right to know. Plain and simple.

They have a right to know because the new community centre is a public facility and because taxpayers have paid roughly $45 million of the community centre's estimated $50-million price tag.

This means they have a right to know exactly how much individuals and companies paid in order to get their names on the side of the building, on the walking track, the climbing wall, the arena, the pool and elsewhere.

This right to know, in our view, supercedes any desire to keep the donations private because without full disclosure we would have been left to speculate for decades to come what the naming rights were worth.

It is also in keeping with the Municipal Government Act (Article 462 (a,i) which states that it is council's responsibility to ensure that we are fully accountable to the public by giving the public full access to records.

We can thank Colchester County councillor Karen MacKenzie for bringing this point to the forefront. She quite correctly advocated for full disclosure of the donated amounts and for that we owe her a debt of gratitude.

But in this debate about whether the dollar figures should have been revealed, we would be remiss not to mention how fortunate this community is to have such community-minded individuals as Stu Rath and John Bragg, the two primary private donors.

They didn't have to donate a combined $1.2 million to the new centre. They donated because they want to support the community.

The fact that they wanted to keep the amount private is in keeping with their habit of not conducting business in public. That's the modus operandi of most successful businessmen.

We should also not forget the remaining corporate and individual donor contributions, which have generated another $1.8 million of the $5.5 million community portion of the building's cost.

And there is more to come with naming rights announcements to the arena and the aquatic centre just around the corner.

We welcome them all. We just want to know how much.

 

Organizations: Truro Daily News, Rath EastLink Community Centre

Geographic location: Colchester County

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Recent comments

  • sick and sad
    November 22, 2012 - 20:29

    nobody i know will be supporting this, but then again, i dont know anyone who is filthy rich. These tycoons have finally managed to alienate those they don't care about.. but we wont forget. One more blow to the average Truronian. At least Millbrook has a brand new stadium, hospital, theatre and soon, all our government offices. Good job guys, the downtown is now dead. You killed it. Let us eat cake, right? Phoooey

  • Political Pundit
    November 22, 2012 - 10:47

    Aside from maybe Millbrook, Kohler as a supplier, and maybe Sobeys cause they give money in communities where there is a store, everyone getting their names immortalized at the Spirit Centre had direct business relations ties with either Rath, Stanfield, or both…..Not surprising there isn’t any liberal or ndp supporters named in the building – or any other local competitive corporate support like bell or rogers etc… Those peoples were probably not pressured to donate much, ensuring that the Conservatives got their names on THEIR building…. All said for Stanfield’s efforts, a lot under whelming, and… still 2.5 million short of 5 million….. Stanfield would have impressed me if he actually had done a little work and raised 10 million. Typical PC Tory effort, only in it for themselves.

    • My Side
      November 23, 2012 - 18:19

      I just read the donations. How is it that when some donates 1 . something million they get a building named after them. But the public gets to contribute 45 million and has no say... hmmmmm .... In the past even businesses around town has had public input about naming places, I guess thats why they are still in business. They know who butters their bread.