HIGHWAY ROBBERY- WHY OUR CAMPAIGN CONTINUES
HIGHWAY ROBBERY: This phrase originated in the middle ages along with the term “Highway Man”, which referred to one who laid in wait to plunder and terrorize the travelling public in 15th century England. The penalty for those highwaymen who were caught was death by hanging, being drawn and quartered or other gruesome form of capital punishment as administered by the ruling authorities as their discretion. It seems that such activities were treated as high crimes back in those days. There was little or no tolerance for any accused offender.
Today’s world has changed. We have developed a system designed to be equitable, impartial and effective in administering penalties that fit the crimes committed.. We no longer send people to the gallows for theft.
Nevertheless, these activities continue and our legal system is clogged with cases ranging from simple fraud to elaborate internet based schemes. Criminals have invented new ways to steal from anyone who is not constantly vigilant, especially when using the internet. they range from those posing as CRA ‘enforcers’ to computer virus cons. Who hasn’t received an email offering a foreign inheritance or a message from a bank claiming to be checking their records? The fact is, we are destined to be victimized buy those who have devised schemes to rob us at nearly every turn. The highways of today exist in different forms and so do those who take advantage of travelers whether they be on the asphalt or the internet. Make no mistake, “highway robbers” continue to thrive.
HAVE WE BEEN STOLEN FROM?
We suggest that there is yet another example of what appears to be highway robbery recently committed right here in our province. Saskatchewan taxpayers have been the victims, and there seems to be little appetite for identifying the perpetrators.
The recent major infrastructure project known as the Regina Bypass has had a significant and punitive impact on many individuals. It has also resulted in a major deficit which will be placed on the backs of Saskatchewan residents for many years to come. With a cost estimate exceeding $2 billion dollars, it also represents the largest fiscal liability in the history of our province.
It follows that with such fiscal commitment comes equal responsibility to ensure that those paying for it (you and I) have our interests protected and fairly represented. When you examine the history of this development and its implementation, it would seem that these principals have been deliberately ignored. Many landowners have been arbitrarily dealt with by our various levels of government. They have suffered losses both financially and principally as a result of the way this project was planned and implemented. The apparent lack of concern or transparency for those who have been impacted is sadly evident, especially on the part of our elected officials. They are responsible for upholding the public trust.
DUE PROCESS. WHAT DOES IT ACTUALLY MEAN?
For several years, the plan for the new Regina Bypass had been in place and was available for public inspection before it was actually begun. Traditionally, any proposed changes were subject to a process which required full disclosure along with the opportunity for any affected to express their concerns or ask questions. Any proposed changes were assumed to be subject to this process. Such proposals, we were told, would be subject to study and review by the planning departments of both the city and the department of highways. It was indicated to us that accepted practice regarding the approval of any changes would likely take several months- if not years, to implement due to the various factors involved. As a result, we and others in business around the perimeter of the city formulated our future plans for development based on the Regina Bypass plan that had been put in place at that time. We had no indication that this process could, or would be interfered with. We had no indication that this process could, or would be interfered with. We had been assured that major changes were not anticipated or likely to be endorsed.
WE ARE ONE OF MANY EXAMPLES
Our company, Super Seamless of Canada, made commitments to contractors and suppliers with the intention of establishing a new manufacturing facility. We had planned to contribute new employment and much-needed diversification for our local economy. Regina would have been home to a source of manufactured products which would be shipped throughout North America. We needed good transportation access to ensure the delivery of our products, and our selection of property for this project was critical. While our particular circumstances were unique, we were not the only land owners with vested interests in the original bypass plan. We had accepted in good faith that what has been laid out under the aforementioned process would be subjected to any further major alterations. Sadly, we would be in for an unpleasant surprise.
WHO SUFFERS WHEN PUBLIC TRUST IS ABUSED?
For Super Seamless and our business plan, a significant financial undertaking was made in order to coincide with the proposed changes of the Regina Bypass. For our company, land purchases and investments in equipment and buildings were based on what had been shown to the public and sanctioned by those in charge of infrastructure planning. To ensure business continuity, these commitments had been made prior to the bypass plans being implemented as promised. As a result, we began construction on recently purchased land adjacent to the proposed Regina Bypass. We were in the midst of constructing the first of four buildings planned for the new expansion when we were informed of land minute changes to the plan resulting in our property being partially annexed, our access interfered with and our site no longer able to accommodate our complete manufacturing plant. How could this have happened?
WHO ARE THE REAL BENEFICIARIES?