Removing the Sir John A. Macdonald statue from the front steps of City Hall left many people reeling in appall or cheering in joy, but whatever their position taxpayers were all out more than $30,000.
After the city watchdog, The Grumpy Taxpayer$, submitted a freedom of information request, the city revealed that in total, the cost of the removal was $30,126, with the majority of funding going towards police services ($12,446) and city staff ($9,303).
“Our costs were all resources for before, during and after the removal,” said police spokesperson Const. Matt Rutherford. “We, of course, cannot release the specifics of the deployment, but we had adequate staffing to keep the public safe.”
For Grumpy Taxpayer$ chair, Stan Bartlett, the total seemed far too high, calculating that it probably took the property tax of 10 homeowners to pay for the project.
“These initial costs seemed excessive but this isn’t the end of the bill. It’s been about 100 days since Sir John A. was spirited away in the early hours of a Saturday morning,” said Bartlett in an email. “There’s still the cost of the reconciliation process promised by council, the cost of erecting the statue in another location, and probably an explanatory plaque. “
Bartlett said more planning could have been done to bring down the costs, including moving it on a weekday, as opposed to on a weekend.
“The statue removal is still hitting a raw nerve in our community, either because of the costs, the lack of democratic process around the council decision, or importantly, the matter of Indigenous issues and Sir John A. Macdonald,” Bartlett said. “The sooner council begins the reconciliation process and statue relocation the better for everyone.”
The statue is currently being stored at an undisclosed city property, so no rent is being paid for its safekeeping. A new location has not yet been announced.
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