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Rob's Rant

Publisher Rob Ritchie's latest rant that looks a host of issues

Well, its been a crazy few weeks and so much to talk about.

Lets start with CPI, (Canadian Protein Innovation).

Although this or any industry would be good for Moose Jaw, the statement from City Hall received on November 1st is, and I quote “There was an agreement signed between the City and CPI but it expired as CPI did not proceed.”

My last question on this might be, ‘when did the agreement actually expire, and when were they actually going to inform the citizens?’ You can read on page A17, A Scandal in the Making by Robert Thomas, asks more questions than gives answers, and at Monday October 28th council meeting it was mentioned that they had received three extensions, no mention that this was actually over. No sense beating this to death, as it does appears to be over, although a Pea (protein) processing plant did seem like a great fit for Moose Jaw and area, even at the sale of $12,000 per acre.

What’s land worth in Moose Jaw? 

Now it seems to run at about $2000 per acre.  Again, at Monday night’s council meeting, the city entered into a purchase agreement for 82.1 acres for $180,000 to a numbered company, 102050303 Saskatchewan Limited. The company was incorporated on May 15th, 2018 and the President is Allan Leung of Vancouver and the director is Donald Leung, also of Vancouver. They also have holding companies listed in BC, but we have been unable to find what business or businesses they run or operate at press time. The land is located east and south of the XL Beef Plant and is zoned commercial. 

Hopefully with such a deal, the sale scheduled to close March 31st, 2020 will be based on bringing an industry to Moose Jaw, we certainly do not know yet, but will continue to investigate. Again, and I’ve asked these questions before, ‘was the land ever listed for sale?  ‘did anyone else have an opportunity to purchase this?’ or ‘was it just sold to a ‘suit and tie’ that walked into City Hall?’

Honestly, I think if communications were better, we would all be happier and perhaps less suspicious of what goes on behind the many closed door meetings, which we were promised there would be less of.

NOTE: recent information seems to indicate that the numbered company may be Donalds Fine Foods, who own and operate ThunderCreek Pork. The rumour is that XL Beef Plant has also been sold to the same numbered company. Potentially this could be a good deal in the making, only time will tell.

Canadian Tire 

The last response on this is as follow;

  • There is currently no signed agreement with Canadian Tire and negotiations are continuing. If an agreement is reached, it would need to be brought before City Council for approval, at which point contract details would be public. 

Would one be wrong in assuming that this land should now be listed for sale and open to other investors or corporations who see their business as a good fit in Moose Jaw?

Hopefully that sign goes up this week, 3 year plus after-the-fact is long enough to make any decision in my opinion.


Who knows where to start on this?

Extension one is in the books and was done in an in camera session.

Do I agree with the extension, for sure, lets hope this one works; we are due. Do I think there should be a penalty or an amendment to this deal, absolutely and here’s why.

As Councillor Swanson stated, we offer way too many extensions without penalty. 

In this case, to my knowledge, we are not collecting interest on the 7.8 million dollars that should have been in the bank on October 31st (and to be VERY conservative, it could have been invested in a short term investment certificate for a 120 day term and it would return 1.90% per annum which is about $406 per day interest earned times 120 days invested = $48,723) and as for Carpere giving the city about one weeks notice, this does not show professional respect in my opinion.  Yet according to Communication #31. Attachment #1, Offer to Purchase, Moose Jaw is paying interest on $780,000 that we are lead to believe we have as the deposit, of which $200,000 is non-refundable, with a host of conditions. We will have the link to the offer to purchase online with the story if interested, and we have copies at our office for your viewing, so you can read it for yourself.

This land in this deal is worth $10,000 per acre.

So really, where does this leave the citizens of Moose Jaw?

In comments to the North Battleford Optimist on April 17th, 2018, an associate publication, here were the comments from Jim Puffalt, who was at that time City Manager there:

“I really have two roles,” Puffalt explains. “The first role is I run the day-to-day for council.”

It is the city manager who is responsible for providing the services the public expects from a municipal government such as water, sewer, trash collection, policing, roads and sidewalks.

But the other part of the job is being the chief adviser to council on decisions, providing them with information so they can make a decision.

“Council will accept or not accept our recommendation. Council is the boss,” says Puffalt.

In the end, what council decides is what is done, and council is accountable to the public. Ultimately, Puffalt works for the citizens of the city.  

And in Fraser Tolmie’s election platform, item one states:

“Accountable to you: The tax payers of Moose Jaw deserve the opportunity to be aware of issues, to understand them fully and to see clear and accountable decision making processes."

Honestly, I just don’t see it.  We as taxpayers may pay the wages; they may say they work for the people; but to me, I see less and less of that everyday.
And finally on an off note, our mayor felt it necessary to take a shot at the Moose Jaw Express the other night live at the council meeting, inferring that the paper should be taxed as a recyclable.

Now I can’t judge his opinion, he’s entitled to it, and whether I agree or not, he owns his own words and actions, and a simple call to our office can have his home delivery suspended so we wouldn’t have to burden him.

I suppose it might be another economic driver for the City taxing the paper, like adding another $1.00 per hour to park downtown, or perhaps his thinking is that we should shut down the paper and put 22 full-time and 37 part-time workers on the street, who pay taxes, purchase goods and services and who collectively put almost 2 million dollars back into this community annually.

We are a functioning business, one that the City Hall supports through ads that are required to be placed by the Cities act, but a City Hall that does not give us the opportunity to quote on the $100,000 they spend on printing each year, and one who can’t seem to even find the funds to support a salute to our Veterans on Remembrance Day as they usually have in the past, but they can find funds to spend $300. for drinks on an evening out and leaving a 20% tip.

Time would be better spent working on the city’s issues; direction needs to come from mayor and council for administration to act, but where is that direction? Are ex-politicians and motivational speakers the driving force?  According to the mayor’s comments, he gets contributed ideas from Tourism Moose Jaw and the Chamber or so he claims.  But what about the citizens who elected him?  Are we the forgotten?

Perhaps they should look after the businesses and the citizens that continue to build and support this City as this is not Newspaper vs City Hall.  I would like to think we both have the betterment and affordability of the city in mind, as we both should be a voice for the people of Moose Jaw.

There seems to be no bite in the dog, and the one word that keeps ringing in our ears is extension, extension, extension.  Hopefully we don’t hear that at election time.

And on elections, thankfully the council voted down the mayor’s suggestion of 58 days of no work for campaigning, as Dawn Luhning put it, ‘we’re are being paid to work, so we should be working.’

As seen in the November 6th issue of the Moose Jaw Express

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