we’re debt free!

First time I’ve heard our beloved pay-as-you-go debt-free Nepean described as a “Ponzi scheme:”

…And those suburbs that boasted of being pay-as-you-go debt free, we now realize were just municipal Ponzi schemes collecting upfront development fees for grand visible projects like sportsplexes while stiffing other governments for the big expenditures (schools, major sewers and water pipes, major roads)…

…there are a LOT of pipe miles in those endless crescents of six-houses-per-acre 1950s, 60s, and 70s neighborhoods. I suspect that those low density developments cannot possibly generate enough tax revenue to replace their pipes and roads.

I don’t know if Eric has ever been to Bells Corners or if he was thinking of the recent botched strip boondoggle or Timm Drive when he composed “Money pipe.

And maybe this isn’t a reference to Mary Pitt: “My aunt was a councillor in Nepean before amalgamation who always liked to remind urban-me that unlike the dirty city, the suburbs had prepaid for all their development and municipal services. Her economics always seemed fishy.” But I have noticed some Bells Corners references on WestSideAction – his picture of the cracked new sidewalk could have been taken on the strip.

We love our Nepean brand out here in the inner suburbs, and it might seem blasphemous to some to sully the reputation of hallowed politicians like former Liberal Ben Franklin, D.A. Moodie, Andy Haydon and Lloyd Francis.

Nepean entered amalgamation with a large surplus and a record of tax restraint. However, most big-ticket municipal infrastructure items (transit, garbage collection, sanitary sewers, water, arterial roads, police, social services) were the responsibility of the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton, not the former City of Nepean.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m a big Nepean fan. I love Bells Corners, and Lynwood Village is a wonderful place to live. I just don’t think that we should get sucked in by the councillor who loves to market himself as Mr. Nepean, Ben Franklin incarnated.

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2 Responses to we’re debt free!

  1. margaret says:

    debt free and proud of it …. can’t say that now

    look where our tax money went too – to pay for other municipalities who had not planned ahead –
    including the ‘old city’ ottawa …. and its sewers etc. and look at their fancy sidewalks too

    what have we had since amalgamation – apart from the little payback to pacify us at the start ?
    nothing that I can see … after all we already had everything didn’t we? – it was the turn of the other areas … and the other areas benefitted from our tax base and we lost out

    just because nepean and kanata planned, saved and lived accordingly, we got the short end of the proverbial stick

    just look at BC as an example
    how many other main roads in the city don’t have full sidewalks on at least one side of the road ?
    how is it that we don’t get sidewalks when other areas are getting them ?
    don’t we have pedestrians too?

    the answer …. the last few ‘new city’ councils have just wanted to spend on grandiose ideas – adding new infrastructure to balance the playing fields around the new city … the new stuff is taking away the funds required for providing basics and to maintain the old … when will they realize they don’t have the funds to keep what they have well maintained, let alone spend more on new things

    like landsdowne, or the rink of dreams – very nice to have a refrigerated ice surface downtown – but it adds another $200,000 per annum to keep it going … and there’s going to be more of these rinks around the city …. maybe you should put in for one at lynwood to ensure you get ice next year !

    roads need resurfacing, sidewalks are broken or have weeds a foot high, snow rarely gets cleared … we have gone from a place to be proud of …. to what ?


    – At amalgamation our surplus went into the Nepean Heritage Fund, to be spent on community projects in Nepean neighbourhoods only. Over many years the money was spent, until not a penny remained.

    Each neighbourhood was supposed to get its fair share – Crystal Beach-Lakeview got a very nice upgrade to its community building in Maki Park, tripling the square footage, whereas Lynwood, with an identical building, only got a $5000 bunker to keep a snowblower for rink maintenance (it hasn’t been used in two years) and new cupboards in the kitchen.

    I wonder if Westcliffe and Bellwood got their share of the loot?

    • margaret says:

      Nepean only got $10 million, a small portion of the Nepean reserves – the rest was spread around elsewhere

      Nepean Community Legacy Fund total for local projects was $1,100,000, split proportionally between the wards – only Bell-SN and Knoxdale-Merivale was Nepean only, the other two were part of old Ottawa
      Bell-South Nepean $400,000
      Bay $100,000
      Baseline $200,000
      Knoxdale-Merivale $400,000

      I was on the local ward committee until mid-2002
      we got something – can’t remember offhand

      most of our final ‘dream’ was for the greater Nepean rather than just local dreams, though the group had suggested:

      Wading pool – in Westcliffe but could be for Bells Corners – we got this but think this was already on the books

      Westcliffe Park lighting near track and front entrance – very local, but a safety issue.

      Skateboard / snowboard park – in Westcliffe, but would be for Bells Corners and Nepean …. ha ha ha ….

      Hard surface lower field for ice rink/basketball – in Westcliffe but for use of greater area.
      Westcliffe has one of the best run outdoor ice pads in the area ….

      Priam / Florizel Park play structures – think we got this too

      of great concern to WECA at the time was that previously budgeted items (and in theory “paid for” in the reserves) especially for parks etc. were dropped from the new city budgets … some never to return

      just looked at my old files …. guess what came up?

      “Robertson Road pedestrian pathway – southside from Westcliffe to Moodie clear markings of sidewalks especially near McDonalds”

      “skateboard park” – this suggestion was put in by the NCRC before it became NROCRC the local resource centre … they had talked to the city back then and had figures for a portable/removable structure – $50,000 (Centrepointe asked for $250,000 from the reserves … not sure how much they got, but think that was the final figure)
      Alice at Lynwood asked for a lot of upgrades for the building

      what I do remember is that it was a fight to get what we thought we should’ve had … this new city was not very Nepean-friendly

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