LtE bug

Letter: We should’ve known of Westerner’s financial situation sooner

First, let me thank the Advocate for keeping us informed of the goings on at the Westerner. Without the newspaper, citizens would be completely in the dark.

Of course the sustainability of the organization is of utmost importance to our city and if taxpayers have to back up the financial operations, then so be it.

But having said that, I am very disappointed, that even though at least two paid city councilors were on the board of directors for the past five years, we taxpayers have only just been made aware of the financial crisis threatening the solvency of the organization.

Further to this, I notice that whilst different councillors have been one of the two city representative over the last five years, Coun. Tanya Handley has been on the board every year since 2016 without raising the alarm.

Maybe someone can explain why we bother to have representation on the Westerner board, if they are not accountable to the rest of council and ultimately Red Deer taxpayers. Fortunately we have an election this fall and we get the opportunity to elect people that will respect the taxpayers that pay their wages, and are stewards of their tax dollars.

Just for information, the other council members that have served on the board in the last five years are: Frank Wong, Michael Dawe, Tara Veer, and Paul Harris who is no longer on council. Why didn’t one of these council members realize that the financial picture was in such dire straits and why didn’t someone speak out before we got in this mess? Please don’t blame COVID, sure it hasn’t helped matters, but this was a problem long in the making.

George Croome, Red Deer

Editor’s note: As it has been previously reported in the Advocate, Westerner Park first told the city about its financial struggles and asked for assistance in December 2019. In January 2020, the city assumed temporary oversight of Westerner Park.