Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Arena Deputation April 26, 2012

Mayor, Councillors, and Markham Residents;

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to express my opinions regarding the
proposed Markham NHL arena. Last Friday, I attended the Town meeting to learn about
the proposed Markham Sports, Entertainment & Cultural Centre. I must admit that I
have not been following hockey news and so listened carefully, read the handout, and
then talked to a few friends -- trying to understand what this new opportunity
meant, to the Town of Markham and myself, as a Markham taxpayer.
When I finally realized that this very impressive facility meant that I, as a Markham
taxpayer, could ultimately be responsible for tens of millions of dollars of debt, I wanted
to know every detail possible. The Town meeting raised more questions in my mind,
than answers. Confused and concerned, I again went back to the Friday meeting

As we, the residents of the Town of Markham, are entering into an agreement with Mr.
W. Graeme Roustan, Chairman and CEO of GTA Sports and Entertainment, it is
important to me to learn who Mr. Roustan is and what his company is about. So, I did
what most do in this techno age – I went onto the Internet and started to google… I
needed to do my own due diligence before I could decide, what this opportunity meant
to me.

Unfortunately, all I could find about GTA Sports and Entertainment was recent – from
October 2011 until now. And, all that I found was specific to this Markham opportunity.
Itʼs difficult to learn about a corporation when there isnʼt any history readily available.
So, where can I find details on Mr. Roustanʼs company?

I went back to the Friday handout and continued to the next bullet on Mr. Roustanʼs bio:
“1989: Developed Pro Hockey San Jose” that led to San Jose Sharks”. All I could find
was that in 1989 Mr. Roustan was the co-founder "Pro Hockey San Jose" and that in
1990, Randy Hahn lived in San Jose and was instrumental in helping bring the National
Hockey League to the area, serving as vice president of Pro Hockey San Jose — a
grassroots, non-profit corporation formed for the purpose of attracting an NHL
franchise to the new multi-purpose venue being built in downtown San Jose. Now, I am
even further confused by the terms ʻdevelopedʼ, co-foundingʼ and the relationship
between Mr. Roustan and Mr. Hahn… What are the real and relevant facts here?

Following along Mr. Roustanʼs bio – “2009: finalist to acquire the Montreal Canadiens”;
“2010: runner up to acquire the Tampa Bay Lightning”. What does this mean? Perhaps
this is unique to the hockey world, but I donʼt understand the relevance of being in the
running to purchase something. In my mind, there is the buyer, who successfully wins
the acquisition bid -- and then there are the rest, who lost the acquisition bid. What is
the significance of being a runner up?

Continuing on with my search, I googled Mr. Roustan himself. Remember, I am still
searching and expecting to find a list of similar projects that Mr. Roustan successfully
completed – entered into contracts to design, build, and finance because if the residents
are going to be liable for any dollars, I need assurance that this project will be executed
flawlessly. But I still donʼt find what I am looking for. Instead, during my searches, some
of Mr. Roustanʼs companies appeared including; Roustan Inc., Roustan United Inc.,
Roustan Planet Ice, Roustan Ice, Roustan Ridglea, and Roustan Fort Worth.

I also found that TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie last November, reported that
Roustan - the chairman of the hockey equipment company, Bauer, also moonlights as
an arena builder. Again, not the business acumen I am looking for in relation to this
massive project. Roustanʼs company names appeared in both on-line news sites and
court sites (example: Justia.com, US Law). However, each that I found contained a
number of allegations regarding lawsuits against Mr. W. Graeme Roustan and his
companies. At least one matter, in Texas (2011), included allegations of Mr. Roustanʼs
integrity and credibility – specifically, involving his business acumen, ability to mount a
successful business endeavor, and his and that he committed statutory fraud. It is
important to note that I cannot verify anything that I have found on the Internet sites – I
am only citing what the court documents, posted on the Internet state.

Texas Second District Court of Appeals Decisions September, 2011
Docket: 02-09-00377-CV Date: 09/29/11
The jury charge tracked section 27.01, instructing the jury that statutory fraud can occur
when either (a) there is a false representation of a past or existing material fact or (b) a
party makes a false promise to do an act. Roustan expands on his argument somewhat
in his reply brief, in which he asserts that as a matter of law, the allegations that he
made false “representations concerning his business acumen, his financial strength and
his commitment to funding the new company” cannot support a claim for fraud because
“the representation complained of must concern a ʻmaterial factʼ and not ʻa mere matter
of opinion, judgment, probability, or expectation.ʼ”

The evidence in the record was enough for the jury to conclude that Roustan told S&G
that he could and would provide a capital contribution of $150,000, either with his own
funds or with the financial resources of his business, but that he actually borrowed
money on behalf of the LLC. The record therefore contains sufficient evidence that
Roustan made a promise to S&G that went unfulfilled.

Again, I am only using citations from the court documents, that appear on the Internet,
but reading these gives me reason for concern and reason to question Mr. Roustanʼs
integrity and credibility – specifically, involving his business acumen, ability to mount a
successful business endeavor, and that he committed statutory fraud.

When government is using taxpayers money, it is incumbent upon them to perform the
utmost due diligence. I donʼt think that any Markham residents want to see Markham go
the way of Glendale, Arizona – where thanks to the Mayor and her NHL team – the city is now bankrupt.

Respectfully, Mayor Scarpetti and members of Council, I ask that you take a minimum of
60 days to perform additional due diligence and to also look to the private sector to
build, fund, and operate this proposed NHL arena.

I will not pay a dime, of my taxes, for this area!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

YOUR Input is Requested

Below is the link to a short survey

Dear Markham Taxpayer:

Thank you for your support of the petition calling on the Mayor and City Council NOT to proceed with the proposed 20,000 seat arena project, by using taxpayer dollars, for the benefit of private businessmen. 

You will find, at the link below, a survey that has been prepared by a group of concerned citizens, asking for your opinion on the proposed Markham arena (GTA Centre).

This is one of the most important issues to come before Markham Council, in the history of our City.  Since our Council has not asked for your views, we are.

Please read and fill out the brief survey that we have prepared.  It will only take a few minutes.  Once the survey period is over, all results will be automatically tabulated and the results will be presented to Council.

In this way, we will ensure that our elected representatives know the views of their constituents, which is an important step in the democratic process.
To distribute the survey via e-mail: Copy the above weblink and paste it into an e-mail message. You may also post it on your Facebook page.

Please complete one survey for each person over the age of 18.

Thank you for your cooperation and assistance,
Markham Concerned Citizens

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Renaming Hwy 7 to International Deputation to Region June 12, 2013 by Karen Rae for MVCRA

Good morning everyone, my name is Karen Rea. I am a resident of Markham Village and the president of Markham Village City Ratepayers.

I am here today to speak about the renaming Highway # 7.
I asked the Mayor of Markham on the weekend why it was even being discussed. He told me as the road was no longer a Highway, it needed to be renamed.

The definition of a Highway is: a main road, one between towns or cities, which is what Hwy # 7 is.

In the ad in the local paper it states that the name change will reinforce the new vision for the corridor of being an urban main street within York Region.

The definition of a Main street:  is not only the major road running through a town but the site of all street life, a place where townspeople hang out and watch the annual parades go by.
No one is going to hang out on Hwy # 7. It is a minimum of 4 lanes, and in parts 6 lanes wide, we will also have a bus running down the middle of it. This by definition is a Hwy.

Hwy # 7, was first designated in 1920 and was once a provincially maintained highway in the Canadian province of Ontario. Highway 7 measured 431 miles in length, stretching from Highway 40 east of Sarnia in Southwestern Ontario to Highway 17 west of Ottawa in Eastern Ontario. However, due in part to the construction of Highways 402 and 407, the province downloaded some sections of Hwy 7 to the regional jurisdiction.  Highway 7 is a major arterial highway which traverses the entire southern half of Ontario. The highway is one of Ontario's most important routes, particularly through Eastern Ontario where Highway 7 serves as the only major through route north of Highway 401. Motorists seeking a more scenic alternate route between Toronto and Ottawa can use Highway 7 instead of Highway 401 and Highway 416. It is one of Ontario's longest highways. 

I have found searches on the internet as far back as 2006, when York region tried to rename Hwy # 7 as Avenue seven… your logic back then was that avenue sounds more like a destination.

In 2010 you held public meetings in Richmond Hill, Markham and Vaughan 63 % of people did not want the name changed… so why 3 years later are we now looking at not only changing the name again but to something completely different to what was discussed at the meetings, now it’s International Drive? 

Hwy # 7 is part of our history, part of our culture, you can pull pictures from the internet on what the road first looked like and how it has grown over the years.

We all want our history to remain. The richness that characterizes the communities is the stories that people can tell, about what used to be, the heritage, and our values, the buildings and the memoires of the people that made our villages and roads what they are today. That is our culture and the rich values that we all cherish whether we were born here or not. That’s what makes Canada what it is today.  I moved here in 1978, kicking and screaming I may add, but because my parents thought we would have a higher standard of living here and there would be more opportunity here for us when we grew up. It’s probably the same reason why everyone moves here.

I would like to be able to tell future generations my stories of Canada and the history that I know and that we fought to keep it from being lost. I have grown up with Hwy # 7, and I would like it to stay as Hwy7. Just like Markham will always be a town to me, not a city.

I wonder how many hours have been wasted over the past 6-7 years debating on a name change. Are you going to pay to upgrade my GPS, the cost of all the road maps, signage and business stationary.  What is even more silly, its only being changed from Donald Cousins Parkway. The left side of our bypass is one name and the other side is another name.

 Reading through all the information on the internet I shake my head at all the wasted time and money spent on this, and the future cost of wasting more money. There is no need to change any portion of this road.

Yesterday Markham council voted unanimously to keep the name the same, Markham Village City RA supports their vote and respectfully request that you do not change the name of hwy # 7 and it is not rebought up again in a couple of years. 

York region has no extra money, I have been told by a developer that we are almost bankrupt, so I believe that your time and our money would be better served trying to figure out how to get us out of the debt that we are in, resolve the congestion of our Town and to plan for our future infrastructure, and not add any extra money to the debt that we are now holding.

Thank you,
Karen Rae, President
Markham Village Ratepayers Association

Renaming Hwy 7 to International Letter June 10, 2013 by Annette Cacorovski

The following letter was e-mailed to York Region and Markham Council:

Firstly, I am appalled that the Region and the Cities would consider a name change to a North American well known Hwy. This holds NO value. As a Region, we have many more value added issues that need to be addressed in a growing population with many traffic and transportation issues and cost effective measures!

Let's use our time and money wisely. Scrap this name change to HWY 7 and move on to transportation and safety issues for our Region and the City of Markham.

Annette Cacorovski

Renaming Hwy 7 to International Deputation to Region June 12, 2013 by Jim Kwan

I strongly oppose the renaming of Highway 7. I think it is not necessary to spend the money on renaming the street. There is basically nothing wrong with it, in fact the existing street name is just fine. Why does York Region need to change it anyway? Why waste taxpayers’ money? People are not complaining about Highway 7, it is not a major issue with the residents or businesses to change the name. 

York Region should spend time better to fix other problems like traffic instead of changing a part of Highway 7 name. It is renaming only the part that runs through York Region, not the entire highway.  

Also the majority of people recognize Highway 7, just like 401 or Yonge Street. Yonge Street also runs through many communities but none of the communities have decided to change the name of Yonge Street even through it starts in Toronto. 

In the last proposed name change back on Feb. 2012, the majority of surveyed residents did not like to change the name of Highway 7 because it may cause confusion for users of the roadway and general concerns about the necessity to rename the road.  The change may cause confusion for emergency units or travellers and the affected residents and businesses will need to change the mailing address information, printed envelopes and letterhead.
The report said that Highway 7 is no longer compatible with the new vision for the corridor and this is one of the main reasons for the name change. Highway 7 is becoming more urbanized but even if Highway 7 is renamed, many people will still refer to it as Highway 7. The name change for a section of the roadway may be more confusing, such as 16th Avenue which has two different names, Carville Road and Rutherford Road, but it is the same stretch of road, Highway 7 is a unique road name because everyone knows where it is and there is no other similarly named roadway. It may not be exciting or reflect the new urbanization of the area, but everyone will know where it is.

York Region is making the rapid transit line on Highway 7 with new stations and shelters. The shelters look great, like a piece of art, but does it do the job to keep the sun, rain, wind or snow away from pedestrians? NO.  

It is very dangerous to walk halfway across Highway 7 to the bus stop. It will be added danger for pedestrians who will jay walk across Highway 7 especially when they just get off the bus or chase after the bus. We can see it at the GO train station on McCowan just north of 7. Many residents do not walk across McCowan at the traffic light; they just walk across McCowan along the track. IT is also the same in downtown Toronto. Many pedestrians just cross in the middle of the road when they get off the streetcar, not just at the light. 

Instead of spending time and resources on renaming Highway 7, maybe we should focus more on the safety and protection of the transit riders and improving the transit system.

Thank you

Renaming Hwy 7 to International Letter June 10, 2013 by Elisabeth Tan

The following letter was e-mailed to York Region and Markham Council:

Since the renaming of Highway 7 has been a somewhat hot topic recently, I feel that many Markham residents would like Highway 7 to remain the same.
Some of the reasons are:
- Costs to business owners and Municipalities.
- Confusion for road users, especially when the new name will not be adopted outside York Region.
- The volume of traffic remains the same (it is a highway volume).
- Speed changes/streetscape along 7 should not warrant a change name.

The money, designated for this name change, could be used for improving safety for cyclists/pedestrians when using this major arterial road. 

FYI, this morning was the official opening of the Sherbourne cycle track: Toronto's first dedicate bike lanes on Sherbourne start of bigger network . It is my hope, we will have an official opening of our first dedicated bike lane on Highway 7 in the near future:)

Best Regards,

Elisabeth Tan

Renaming Hwy 7 to International Deputation to Region June 12, 2013 by Donna Bush

Committee Members,

I am here today to ask why?

Why are we even considering changing the name of “Highway 7”? Highway 7 has been around since 1920 -- 93 years.  This road is approximately 535 km long. It goes from Sarnia in the west to Ottawa in the east.

People know where Highway 7 is. I really don’t care if it is actually a highway (in the true sense of the word) or not. It is a recognizable name. When a person is trying to find a home or business and hears Highway 7, they have a great start to getting there. If they have to stop and ask how to find Highway 7, most locals will be able to quickly direct them. Isn’t that what we want -- people to easily find streets they are looking for? GPS units of all kinds recognize Highway 7. 

When I moved to Markham in March 1981, I remember someone referencing Wellington Street. I had no idea where they were talking about. I came to learn that at some point in time, there was a portion of Highway 7, called Wellington Street. Exactly what portion of the road called Wellington remains elusive to me, even to this day. And, frankly I really don’t care.

Recently, I have taken the opportunity to speak to a number of friends in Markham and ask them what they think of renaming Highway 7. The most common response is WHY?

The next question I ask is what do you think about a name change to “International” Road/Way/Street? The answer is a most infactic “NO!” Canada or Canadian something -- but NO, never International anything.

Residents are asking, “Isn’t there much more critical business for York Region to be concerned with, rather than wasting time and money on an unwanted and unnecessary road name change.

As a long-time Markham resident, I say, please focus on reducing our region’s debt and running necessary region business.

Yesterday, all Markham councillors in attendance at DSC voted to reject renaming Highway 7. Thank you to all of those councillors!

Please stop the make work projects and get back to basics.

Thank you,
Donna Bush