Some bad ideas are made with good intentions.
A request from the Rath Eastlink Community Centre (RECC) to have the Municipality of Colchester and the Town of Truro help fund a VIP and community welcome reception to the tune of $10,000 (about $3,000 of which would cover the VIP reception) probably belongs in this category.
The VIP reception is a small part of the RECC’s ‘grand opening ceremonies’ on Sept. 28, with classic rock band April Wine scheduled as the headline entertainment.
And since some of the VIPs are the funding partners who, collectively, forked over a few million dollars to help make the RECC become a reality, the reception was probably planned as a small token of appreciation.
But optics is everything here and it shouldn’t come as any surprise that the RECC, rightly or wrongly, serves as a lightning rod for discontent to some Colchester County residents.
These critics griped about the RECC’s price tag (estimated $50 million), they don’t like its design and they’ll surely gripe when a financial update on the centre is released, possibly this week. News flash: last we heard the RECC is projected to lose about $700,000 this year.
Doesn’t matter that many of the discontented have probably never been in the building (a Truro Daily News poll yesterday showed 58 per cent of respondents haven’t been inside yet). Not for entertainment or recreational purposes.
Perhaps it hasn’t dawned on them that the RECC is a very worthwhile investment in our community and the more it is used by patrons, the less that annual deficit will be.
But the point here is the RECC has become an easy target and the VIP funding request just adds fuel to the fire. It sent a message that not everyone was invited to this particular party, but tax dollars (a modest amount to be sure) were needed to run it just the same.
Colchester County councillors quoted in this paper last week opposed the expenditure and no doubt Truro councillors will do the same.
We suggest that in the future RECC officials conduct special events within existing budgets or do without. Approaching councils in search of handouts is bound to produce a backlash of further discontent.