Sugar tax the answer to rural recreation facilities: Peter Fenwick
Longtime political activist and Cape St. George Mayor Peter Fenwick is suggesting a sugar tax as a way to raise money for rural recreation.
He believes more rural communities should have a recreation center like the new one their town just recently built with an indoor pool and walking track.
Fenwick made the suggestion to the pre-budget consultations when it was in Stephenville recently.
He said ever since the World Health Organization blamed increased consumption of sugar for an epidemic of obesity and diabetes, jurisdictions around the world have implemented a sugar tax.
So far many American cities, Mexico and parts of Great Britain have done so and he feels it is time for Newfoundland and Labrador to do so as well.
“To stifle criticism, I suggest the proceeds be directed to rural towns for the construction and operation of recreation facilities and programs to help improve the health of their residents,” he said.
Not only will increasing the cost of sugar rich foods reduce their use but the additional facilities for exercise will help as well.
He said through a different means, they have built their facility and in a rural area like theirs it affords residents a means to exercise all year round. As years go by they expect the general health of the community will improve as a result.
Fenwick said he is of the belief the poor state of fitness and health of rural Newfoundlanders has more to do with the lack of facilities than with a bad attitude to physical fitness. He said if such facilities were more widely available in rural Newfoundland, more people would use them.
He said funding in rural areas for recreation facilities is almost impossible to get under the current Municipal Capital Works funding rules. Invariably any small amount available to rural towns is for water and sewage works, not recreation.
Peter Fenwick is proposing an interesting means to supporting recreation facilities in rural areas.