In this space, the Township of North Dundas, not free from criticism, has taken its fair share of abuse.
Decisions have been debated, and opinions shared – good or bad.
What is published, no doubt, is a much tamer version of beliefs than what is said outside this newspaper’s four walls, among the voting public and the taxpayers who play a part in keeping the wheels in motion.
If there is one subject with which this publication can find some common ground with North Dundas’ officials, both elected and administrative, it’s the cost of doing business.
A more specific example would be the cost of municipal buildings, given their propensity for repairs and other needs.
Now, it is not a belief that North Dundas shouldn’t be in the business of operating buildings, but more that the expense shouldn’t vastly outweigh the revenue.
In most, if not all cases that is what is true, however.
It is this fact that makes council’s decision of late, to put its foot down when it comes to rental fees, all the more noble.
Giving away use of a facility for free is ridiculous, especially when rental rates are some of the lowest in the area.
Too often this current crop of councillors has approved the waiving of fees for a variety of causes, which on one hand is awfully generous.
On the other, however, it is backwards thinking. So little, in most cases, is charged that it is hardly money saved for the host group or individual.
Plus, there’s the argument of non-profit versus for-profit ventures. It was this debate that got entirely out of hand a few years ago when Winchester Open Mic Night organizers took their ball and went home because the township had the audacity to expect payment for use of the village’s Old Town Hall.
The math seemed simple: you charge an entry fee, therefore there is money being made, and no doubt enough to cover use of the space. But, it all boiled down into a “he said, she said” debate before an unnamed financial angel covered the rent for the foreseeable future.
Most recently, the Winchester Hawks expected zero payment for the Joel Steele Community Centre’s upstairs hall during their 50th anniversary celebration. Yet, organizers charged for entry into the event.
Meanwhile, those behind Seize the Day childrens’ programming asked that they not be charged for use of the same village space for its upcoming March Break camp. Attendees were going to be charged, but organizers wanted to keep the profit.
The argument isn’t that these aren’t noble causes, but rather that the remainder of North Dundas’ tax base, many of whom likely didn’t or won’t be taking part, shouldn’t be expected to subsidize the use.
We all know the price of hydro isn’t going down, and heating large spaces in the wintertime is no easy task.
If residents want these spaces, they should be paying for them accordingly.