Editorial: Back to square one

The Iroquois campground building replacement issue is not going away. South Dundas council instructed staff that a tender was to be issued. The same council then rejected the tender to work with a citizen to oversee and design the new building. Now the project is back to square one.

The appeal of having a qualified citizen do the work of designing and overseeing the construction of the building is understandable, and that citizen’s intent is much appreciated. Where the process fell apart was balancing wants and needs.

The original project was to replace the 50-year-old washroom and showers facility. However, while the needs stayed the same, the wants increased. Added to the project list were a kitchen for handling the annual fly-in breakfast, and the lawn bowling club; then a common room for activities; then a space for the airport controller. These are all valid wants near the campground, but not the intent of the original building proposal. In the end the plan tried to do too much, and please too many people. Nothing was done.

Who is to blame for this failure? The municipality bears some of the blame, for allowing the infrastructure to deteriorate to the point of dire straits before dealing with it.

The user groups have to shoulder some of the blame here too. For too long, groups have enjoyed a free-reign and low-or-no cost use of these municipal facilities. Those facilities have been subsidized by the entire community: it is likely many South Dundas residents have never used, or even knew, those facilities existed.

Council has to shoulder some of the blame too. Instead of dealing with the task of building a project adhering to a specific purpose, it ignored a staff report from the spring which showed a clear route to deal with the matter. At the time, the $57,000 engineering cost was deemed too high for some on council. Council tried another method, and it failed. As one councillor quipped at the August 14th meeting, “being frugal has come back to bite them.” Now council has reverted back to the original staff report. The tendering process has begun again.

Another season has been lost. Groups who were looking for help, as well as individuals who offered to help, have come away with bad feelings from the whole process.