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If I Had a Million Dollars…

The on-going kafuffle over whether we should have a casino in our area reminded me of the song by the Bare Naked Ladies, ‘If I Had a Million Dollars’.
The on-going kafuffle over whether we should have a casino in our area reminded me of the song by the Bare Naked Ladies, ‘If I Had a Million Dollars’. The boys had some fun listing all the things they would do if they were wealthy, even to the point of having Kraft Dinner with all the trimmings.

The Bare Naked Ladies aren’t the only ones who dream of becoming rich. Thousands of us buy our lottery tickets every day in North Bay with the hope of instant wealth. Others buy the Nevada-type tickets in the chance of winning back even a small token of what they spend on this addiction. If we only stopped for a moment and considered the odds of winning it big, we might have second thoughts of parting with a loonie or toonie. But it’s only a dollar and if I had a million of them …

One of the concerns of the anti-casino group is that more local people will become addicted by the lure of the big payoff and this will lead to even more social problems. People may become hooked on gambling and go into debt trying to win, win, win. Addictions of any kind are bad and we certainly should be aware of the costs this will bring to our society.

What is it that drives us to seek solace or relief from daily stress in mind-altering drugs, alcohol, nicotine or gambling? Is it sometimes the knowledge that we will never reach those enviable goals of being wealthy unless we ‘hit it big’? Or do we think that money will end all of our problems, no matter if those problems are not even financial in nature?

Is gambling the answer to how we can achieve the great American Dream? Studies are showing that more and more young people have taken to gambling – whether it is betting on sports, rolling dice, VLTs or in a game of cards. Television and movies continually show us how the rich and wealthy live with so-called reality shows depicting romances and dramas that simply do not exist except in the minds of producers and viewers. The only way the average Joe can attain such a wonderful life is to have money. And an eight to five job isn’t going to do it for you unless sell dreams in the stock market. So we gamble.

A million dollars used to sound like enough money to last a lifetime, but our dreams are bigger and the dollar smaller, so if I had twenty million dollars . . .

I’d buy the Otter Lake property from the City of North Bay. Thinking to parlay my twenty into more millions, (and by using Other People’s Money) I would build a subdivision all around that beautiful little lake. Nice expensive homes on lots that have a view of the lake where only sailboats and canoes would ply the waters. One should be able to get a hundred or so homes around that lake without crowding – maybe a few more on the set-back lots.

Victory Villas, named after my win in the Super 7, not the Mayor who sold me the property, would of course need some upgraded road services to that remote area of the City. We would need nice wide roads to eventually support Transit service as well as the SUVs my home buyers will drive. Of course 150 homes with an average assessed value of $500,000 each would require proper police and fire services. We need a new fire hall on the eastern side of the city anyway. The funds for these capital expenditures could be covered by a special levy so the funding would not come from my millions.

The children of these prominent taxpayers should not have to ride a school bus too far, so we may need to have a new school. (Folks living along Widdifield Station road might find new neighbours wanting to live in the upscale area of Victory Villas, so these children would help to justify our new school.) We would only need a public school and perhaps a pre-K in the early years. Of course, the new homeowners in Victory Villas would contribute a share of the taxes needed for these fine upscale edifices.

Water and sewer should not be a problem with a small water purification plant and sewage lagoon funded in part by a Development Grant from somebody. The rest of the good citizens of North Bay would naturally share in these costs (OPM). The New Conservation Authority in its pro-development mode will have no reservations about my subdivision. After all, 200 hundred new homes with all the taxes they generate ought to be worth something to the municipality!

Garbage collection might pose a small problem until the trucks can find a shortcut to Highway 11. Or there might be a need for a small landfill towards Feronia – the Engineering department could look into that, at no charge to me. We could fund it with a surcharge of some sort (again, OPM). The new strip mall that will follow may offset some of these costs, although their lower commercial tax rate will not pay for much more than the installation and maintenance of the new traffic signals on highway 69 and Widdifield Station Road.

With 300 new homes in the area, it may be necessary for the MTO to do some upgrades to Hwy 69 and Trout Lake Road, but this should not burden the local taxpayers as we would use the MTO budget for this (OPM). A better grade crossing for the ONR tracks will be needed, as well. A new hydro substation might become necessary as the demand load increases, but again, it would be all the North Bay Hydro users who would pay for this on their hydro bills, not just the Victory Villas residents.

The City Planners should not worry about rapid growth in this far-off corner of the city. It is all part of the long range view that we need to increase assessment and eventually lower taxes for everyone. If all the taxpayers share the initial cost, it should not be too big a burden – it’s just a few more miles of road, another 400 homes that need police and fire services, another few folks that will help fill our new hospital.

I am beginning to see how the system works! Maybe I don’t need the whole 20 million to get on the road to wealth. By using Other People’s Money, Victory Villas wouldn’t be that difficult to start. But I need that initial investment. Could I win enough at a Casino to get started – or should I just keep buying lottery tickets?

If I had a million dollars. . .

Bill Walton

About the Author: Bill Walton

Retired from City of North Bay in 2000. Writer, poet, columnist
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