Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter said the city council is ready to support Canadian Automotive Museum (CAM) in any capital projects it undertakes.
Oshawa refunds the city’s portion of levied property taxes, he pointed out to Durham Post.
Asked about what is the hesitancy in supporting CAM like in the 1970s, Mayor Carter explained that CAM got $25,000 in 1998, and then for a time they didn’t receive anything. “We’ve been giving them $5,000 a year”.
He said a member of council brought a motion forward that stated they want to put $100,000 of taxpayer dollars into a reserve for CAM. The motion proposed city gives CAM $0.25 of every single resident in our community every single year for operating.
“Council doesn’t support that. What the council does support is a). the city portion of their taxes being covered, and b). is when they’re (CAM) doing capital projects, to come to us and ask us for a contribution towards their capital projects. I’ve stated to all their supporters I will support that 100 per cent”.
Mayor Carter said a prime example of this is Parkwood Estates, which is a historical national site. “They come to us every five years or so and say we’ve got a major capital project and we need your assistance. For example, they did a new greenhouse at a cost of $500,000. They asked the city for $400,000. We said we’re willing to give you the $400,000, but we will give it to you over four years.
“That’s what we’re willing to do if the Canadian Automotive Museum comes to us and says we need a new roof and we need a capital investment. Tell us how much it’s going to be, and we will contribute to your capital, and we don’t have a problem there, said the mayor.
“I’m not in support of providing funds for operational use. I think that has to be their responsibility. I think they have the opportunity; they charge to go into the museum. They have the opportunity with their assets, and they have the opportunity to raise the dollars for their operational aspect,” he added.
Carter said he thought CAM was encouraged to try and get all of their taxes waived. I don’t know if they’ve done that as yet with MPAC.
“It’s too bad that there’s only one message going out there, and the message in some of the postings is, we defunded CAM. We’ve never defunded it,” said the mayor. “We have a responsibility on behalf of all taxpayers too. We have everybody come to us and ask for money. It’s always a difficult conversation. We absolutely see value in what they do, but allow us to participate where we’re able to participate”.
Is it better for us to commit to capital projects that could be hundreds of thousands of dollars if we could help them, or is it best that we give them $50,000 a year for operating, Mayor Carter asked. “In my opinion, I’d rather invest in the capital component. That’s just my opinion. I’m one vote out of 11. This isn’t a dictatorship. It’s always a council decision. Each one of us makes a decision based upon what our principles and our beliefs are. We would like to be able to give everybody everything that they ask for absolutely because we all want to be liked”.
But guess what, not everybody is going to like us. But we’ve got to try and make decisions that are right on behalf of 175,000 people. We try and do our very best and sometimes we disappoint people and sometimes we’re applauded by people, and it’s finding that balance, he said.
“But I understand passion, understand anger, but I also hope that people will truly understand where our position is, and then make a judgment from there, he added.