Comment 41993

By Michael Desnoyers (anonymous) | Posted June 15, 2010 at 16:24:49

Although the letter to the Mayor and Council is lengthly it is fundamentally asking rather simple questions that we all, as taxpayers, should be asking and demanding answers to.

Why is a very detailed and extensive report being released for public comment without including perhaps the most vital and controversial aspect - the finacial cost and implications to taxpayers?

In January a draft of the report was released to the CLC that suggested that the "contribution" (fancy word for paid by taxpayers)for the first Phase of the development could be in the $100 Million range. This estimated amount is for only a small portion of the total development that represents the "easy" part. This amount obviously caused a great deal of controversy and since January there has essentially been no further public disclosure of costs. In other words - the wool is about to be pulled over your eyes!! Despite this very important point staff is asking that the report be released. It is likely we will not find out until it is way too late and only then will the true belly achers come out of the wood work when taxes go up yet again.

Here are some real "facts for Bill;

Almost 70% of the estimated jobs to be create by the AEGD will be warehousing and logisitics and will take up the majority of the land space. (Dillon Phase 1 study)

HPD argued (along with MMAH) that the initial attempts by the City to expand the urban boundry was premature and won an Order by the OMB to prevent this from occurring - Strike 1.

HPD argued that the City should not proceed with the studies for the proposed huge industrial park without completing the Land Budget as required by the OMB settlement. They proceeded anyway, spent several million taxpayer dollars with Dillon only to have to battle with the province every step of the way - Strike 2.

HPD has argued since 2005 that the aerotropolis posed too many environmental constraints, used vital food lands and would simply be TOO expensive. In 2005 our estimates were 200 to 300 million in taxpayer "contribution" and we are potentially at $100 million for about a third of the proposed park - Strike 3.

For 5 years we have asked the questions and demanded answers to all these tough questions only to be ignored and now the truth is begginning to emerge - Out of strikes!!!

Unless you are really good at reading Annual reports and have followed the airport progress as HPD has for many years I would not put too much weight on what is published. The airport is far from boomming and in fact their story is getting rather tired.

Pasenger numbers for HIA have dropped steadily from a peak of 1,000,000 4 years ago to less than half of that today. Take away the revenue generated by the $20.00 airport improvement fee (non operational revenue generator) and I believe the airport loses money in 3 of the last 4 years.

Cargo out of the airport is calculated on the Gross Take Off weight of the aircraft not the actual tonnage. This is where the larger aircraft flown by Cargo-Jet can fly empty but still generates reveue for the airport as if it were full! I hardly think a 1% increase in overall tonnage can be equated to booming.

The report is quick to state that Tradeport has saved the taxpayers of Hamilton 7 million dollars in annual loses since they have taken over th eoperation but makes no mention of the $25 millin additional taxpayer dollars put into the airport for land etc.

The shareholders of tradeport have taken nearly $10 Million in dividends in the past 4 years but the taxpayers of Hamilton have received about $650,000 for rental payments on an asset worth easily $250 Million.

As a successful business owner the numbers just don't add up.

No one should be afraid to ans the tough questions but it would seem the powers to be are afraid to provide the answers becasue of the inevitable public backlash!!

M. Desnoyers

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