(Printed with my friend’s permission:)

Subject: Kinder Morgan Clubhouse funding proposal
To: hbraun@abbotsford.ca
Cc: Les Barkman <lbarkman@abbotsford.ca>, Moe Gill <mgill@abbotsford.ca>, “pross@abbotsford.ca Ross” <pross@abbotsford.ca>, rsiemens@abbotsford.ca, kchahal@abbotsford.ca, bfalk@abbotsford.ca, “dfloewen@abbotsford.ca (Councillor)” <dfloewen@abbotsford.ca>, sblue@abbotsford.ca


Dear Mayor and Council,

I am sending this to you to let you know my feelings regarding the Kinder Morgan proposal to fund a clubhouse at Ledgeview golf course.  This proposal is seriously disappointing for a number of reasons, and I cannot fathom why the city would consider it unless it is interested in accepting bribes for the sole purpose of furthering Kinder Morgan’s agenda.  My concerns are myriad but as I don’t believe any of you have an interest in sustaining the attention span required for a novel I will keep my arguments as short as possible.  
This proposal will only, superficially, assist Ledgeview golf course and the people who would attend the facility.  Our city’s perpetual assistance of Ledgeview has long perplexed me, as it has only fostered continued dependence on the city and prevented Ledgeview’s directors from making necessary business decisions, ones that are made everyday in the private sector.  Ledgeview is a gem that could be highly profitable but for the fact it does not act as if it needs to be independent.  And of course it does not need to be, as the city seems happy to prevent Ledgeview from growing up to be run as a responsible venture.  As to why the city would, once again, endeavour to pad Ledgeview with yet another gift is beyond me.  This proposal is to be for Ledgeview’s gain and Ledgeview’s only, but the pipeline would be a cost borne by all of Abbotsford’s residents, regardless of their interest or ability to play golf or dine at the course.
Given that much has been calculated with regard to KM’s pipeline proposal’s costs on city infrastructure in coming years and given that those costs would be abominably high, this $1.3M bribe is an extreme insult.  We should be proud of our city and who we are, not encourage the idea that we are desperate and suffer such deserved low self-esteem that we would entertain this insulting bribe.
The proposal seems to be solely focussed on Ledgeview golf course and its needs, to the exclusion of the rest of our vast city.  From the amount of compensation (which, in cash, couldn’t provide anything measurable if spread out on amenities for the city as a whole) to the pipeline construction schedule, which seems to be specifically tailored for the least amount of disruption to Ledgeview possible, and no mitigation for the rest of the city; it would be almost comical if it wasn’t so sad.  Is this how our city leaders perceive our population, as the golfers vs. everyone else?  What of the landowners who will be severely hampered by the construction?  The neighbourhoods?  The exisitng facilities and infrastructure that will be disrupted, to the frustration and cost of the rest of the residents and businesses of this city?  Why were they not given weight when this bribe was being considered and recommended?  What kind of thinking puts a golf course’s needs above the rest of the city’s?  Are we actually trying to reinforce the common misconception of Abbotsford being a backwater full of hicks?  I can’t think of any other reason why the pipeline proposal has triggered so much concern over a golf course and so little over the considerable health, environmental and financial costs the rest of the city’s residents would experience with the approval of the pipeline twinning.
Some of Abbotsford’s most dedicated citizens and many well-respected experts have been working hard these last few years to bring the truth forward about the Kinder Morgan pipeline proposal and what it would mean for both local and distant residents and businesses.  These people have invested considerable time, effort and personal funds in their efforts to try to bring public that which KM would like kept secret.  They have documented studies showing the detrimental effects of the pipeline, the dangers endured by citizens in the past and guaranteed in the future, the lack of benefit for the community, especially compared against the high costs and restrictions that would be imposed on the city as a whole.  The city, as represented at the NEB “hearings”, has taken up these arguments against the proposal and has pointed out the clear, negative effects it would have on Abbotsford and its residents.  This new proposal by KM, this bribe, goes against those arguments and accepting this bribe would negate Abbotsford’s position better than KM has been able to do so far.  It is a slap in the face of those who work, on their own time and dime, to protect Abbotsford against predatory interests.  For the city to be recommending acceptance of this bribe is a shame because it is the city’s mandate to work, first and foremost, on behalf of its citizens, not for the betterment of an outside, private interest.
Sixteen years ago, the folks who would have built SE2 presented the Abbotsford Downtown Business Association a $1M bribe for the ADBA simply to make a written declaration of support for SE2.  That bribe, a sum quite tempting to the struggling ADBA, was easily rejected as too high a cost in the long run.  That rejection served us all so well when SE2 would have the NEB, EFSEC, Federal Court of Appeal, and other judicial bodies believe that Abbotsford does not mean what it says.
Sixteen years later, the bribe is now $1.3M.  It’s still paltry, it’s still a bribe, and it’s still intended to discredit whatever Abbotsford says in opposition of the pipeline in judicial venues.
It is my hope that you will reject this proposal and send a strong message that Abbotsford is not so worthless that it is for sale, cheap.  We should be proud of all of our city, not just the lush and frivolous golf course, and we should be eager to show that pride by doing what is right for everyone who lives here.  Anything less makes us all shameful.
Please vote “no” to this ploy by KM.  In the coming years we can easily purchase that clubhouse for ourselves, if we wish, but we can never get back our priceless integrity.