By Mike Archer. While it is sad that the City of Abbotsford feels it needs to hide behind the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act when citizens and the media ask for information about how taxpayers’ money is being spent, thanks to Gerda Peachey and the Abbotsford News (there’s a phrase I never thought I’d use) we now know how much speakers like John Furlong cost us ($20,000) at the Economic Symposium held earlier this year.
The income statement released as a result of the FOI requests shows the City actually made $11,675.96 (before taxes) on the symposium.
Whether or not taxpayers got anything out of the symposium is up for debate. Using the Abbotsford Entertainment Centre (AESC) as the venue for the event when it is one of Canada’s best examples of the waste of taxpayers’ money is an irony lost on no one but those who attended the symposium.
The value brought to taxpayers by having city staff and local Toffs meet and listen to famous people is limited to anyone other than those attending and the attention brought to the City of Abbotsford because of such an event does nothing to counteract all of the statistics, economic indicators, and financial realities which are keeping developers, home builders and businesses from investing in the City.
No economic symposium which doesn’t deal with those realities is going to have any impact on the City’s future prosperity.
Just like the 9-page summary of the Mayor’s Task Force Report, if those charged with making decisions about our economic future aren’t dealing with issues which really have an impact on our future then their time and our money is completely wasted.
The results of the FOI requests at least show one positive result. The City made money on the event and that is good news.
When all is said and done, if they can start doing more of that taxpayers will have an awful lot more confidence in their ability to manage their friends’ and neighbours’ money.