The necessity of an underpass is a matter of opinion regardless whether the mayor rates it as uppermost on the priority list. She attempts to elevate it as a safety issue which doesn’t stand up and, if it does, then further development across the tracks should be curtailed until the issues have been addressed.
What is not in any doubt is that this smacks of a sweetheart deal with the developer, similar to the half a million plus contribution by the taxpayers to the Prestige Inn. If council deems this to be essential to future plans, then expropriate the property, as they did at Lakeshore and 20th and have done with it. If the underpass is abandoned at a later date the property can be resold giving the owner first option. Why lease and develop it as a parking lot for the benefit of the landowner? If parking is such an issue in that area, why then were some of the developments given permission to construct with less than the number of spots normally required.
Another questionable proposal is the one by the regional district with the other developer in the same area. I question the wisdom of locating Government offices on that side of the tracks, adding to the congestion or the need to place them on prime waterfront property in the first place.
Those two proposals will amount to $20 million. They both require large sums of money to be spent without first being approved by the taxpayers. Surely we have bigger priorities such as sewage in the industrial park, rebuilding Lakeshore Road and cleaning up the mess left by another developer near 20th, to name a couple.