Waste of tax dol­lars

The Daily Courier - - OPINION -

Dear edi­tor: Gov­ern­ment is ex­pen­sive and when it is mul­ti­plied by four: re­gional; mu­nic­i­pal; pro­vin­cial and fed­eral; costs can eas­ily es­ca­late out of con­trol. It takes re­spon­sive, con­cerned politi­cians with non-mer­ce­nary mo­tives to take on the re­spon­si­bil­ity of keep­ing costs down. Those are un­for­tu­nately as scarce as hen’s teeth.

Kelowna is a good ex­am­ple. Kelowna di­rec­tors of the lo­cal re­gional district (RDCO) are meet­ing for as lit­tle as seven min­utes at a time with Kelowna coun­cil­lors av­er­ag­ing $750 an hour (Daily Courier, April 12).

Ac­cord­ing to the 2018 bud­get, the av­er­age Kelowna house­holder with a house the value of $692,000 paid $182.52 for the priv­i­lege of be­ing milked by their lo­cal coun­cil. West Kelowna ($682,000) paid $196.19. Lake Coun­try $202.67.

Why wouldn’t it be of ben­e­fit for these three mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to amal­ga­mate and go to the ward sys­tem for in­di­vid­ual rep­re­sen­ta­tion and ac­count­abil­ity?

In the Re­gional District of Okana­gan Sim­ilka­meen, just south of the RDCO, Pen­tic­ton pays about 40 per cent of the RDOS bud­get. The per­cent­age varies year to year.

In re­turn for this, we get milked by the sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties that de­pend on us for their recre­ational needs. We pay the shot and they gra­ciously par­tic­i­pate.

Pen­tic­ton is fac­ing a $40 mil­lion in­fras­truc­ture short­age. And pres­sure to in­crease in­fras­truc­ture to ful­fill the needs of the com­mu­nity at large.

Ver­non has a bet­ter sys­tem with a grad­u­ated pay­ment con­tri­bu­tion struc­ture for ser­vices used. The Greater Ver­non parks, re­cre­ation and cul­ture ser­vice area in­cludes the City of Ver­non, the District of Cold­stream and the RDNO Elec­toral Ar­eas B and C.

Amal­ga­ma­tion and the dis­band­ing of the RDOS has been an is­sue in Pen­tic­ton for years. But, the satel­lite com­mu­ni­ties have the at­ti­tude why pay when you can ride for free? Need wa­ter go to Pen­tic­ton (West Bench). Need sewer ex­pan­sion to build shop­ping cen­tres and hous­ing de­vel­op­ments (Pen­tic­ton In­dian Band). Pen­tic­ton will do it. Our politi­cians are too spine­less to stand up to them and de­mand they re­turn the favour by sup­port­ing other recre­ational ser­vices. West Bench alone lends small sup­port.

Dun­can/Cowichan is con­sid­er­ing amal­ga­ma­tion. Also Vic­to­ria/ Saanich and the District of North Van­cou­ver and City of North Van­cou­ver are con­sid­er­ing a ref­er­en­dum on the sub­ject. Ac­cord­ing to a North Shore News poll con­ducted on April 12, 72 per cent of North Van­cou­ver res­i­dents are in favour of amal­ga­ma­tion.

Dou­bling; tripling and qua­dru­pling of the civil ser­vice to fat­ten the purses of politi­cians is an abuse of hard-earned tax dol­lars. El­vena Slump


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