Asking questions about the future of Brantford, Ontario’s Market Square (or any public property) to safeguard the rights of taxpayers is good.
Why after 15 years of post-secondary education opportunities existing in downtown Brantford has the
Before spending limited public dollars to build new buildings for Wilfrid Laurier University at the corner of Charlotte and Dalhousie Sts., why was the Market Square’s vacant space not taken up by the education sector?
Unfortunately, the recent fire sale (to get it done before the looming municipal vote) of the Market Square to Wilfrid Laurier University left no time to ask questions and seek good answers.
A commenter to BrantfordExpositor.ca described well the problems with city council’s decision to sell:
“…popped up out of nowhere and is not subjected to debate amongst councillors or input and scrutiny by citizens of the city. It’s disrespectful towards the ratepayers, citizens and the next council. Lack of due process combined with an almost expiring mandate of the current council…”1
It appears that the decision was based on fear; the fear of what the next council would do. The Expositor reported that Councillor Richard Carpenter voted for the sale because he knew it was urgent: “We don’t know if the next council is going to have six naysayers that think we don’t need a university,” he said.2
Sages have said that we should never make a decision based on fear. One way to reduce fear is through open discussion. Why couldn’t all the facts about the Market Square and the proposed deal be revealed and debated in the open? If the sale of the Market Square—a multi-million public property, worth far more than 6 million—to Laurier—a public institution—cannot withstand public scrutiny (aka due process), “something’s rotten in the state of Denmark.”
1-2. Susan Gamble. 2014. “Laurier Buys Market Square,” Brantford Expositor, September 11.
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