Calculating the costs of no growth

I have enjoyed our letters to the editor of late. Especially those that take the time to write various responses to my column.

I have enjoyed our letters to the editor of late. Especially those that take the time to write various responses to my column.

Last week, we published a letter from a reader wishing for a simpler time. A time when you could purchase a property for $15,000.

I have some bad news for that reader. Those days are gone and they aren’t coming back.

A simple property search on MLS will demonstrate that in spades.

We now live in a time where everything from milk to electricity is going up, sometimes double digit increases year to year.

Of late, discussions are underway within the school district regarding the future viability of Summerland’s elementary schools.

While passions run close to the surface on this one, it is simply a matter of arithmetic.

No-growth policies have either chased families with school aged children out of town or prevented them from moving here is the first place.

This can’t be breaking news.

It is a well-known fact that Summerland has had a closed door policy for years.

Many think it is up to this mayor and council to fix this but the reality is that choices made by previous councils 20 years ago or more have led us to this day.

It is true that a viable plan could be put forward to start turning the ship around but the last council that tried to suggest a sustainable growth plan was thrown out on their ear.

I’ve been called an ‘Urbanite” for suggesting we build up instead of out.

Building up is better for the environment and promotes a healthier lifestyle. Obviously that kind of talk gets people nervous.

So what is the plan then?

Is there truly a growth plan or is it just hyperbole?

Failing a proper plan to promote sustainable growth the only way to maintain current levels of municipal service is higher taxation.

As we approach the new budget cycle, it will be interesting to watch how our leadership tackles this issue.

Simple math would suggest that a tax increase is guaranteed.

How much is debatable but I think it should be at least 10 per cent. I would bet that most opposed to growth are also opposed to higher taxes.

I’ve seen a few proposals put forward for new home construction in the past year.

My guess is those homes won’t be marketed to or suitable for, families. They will be built for those with means, moving here to retire.

Don’t get me wrong, that’s not a bad thing but I hope those folks are prepared to pour their own coffee at the local coffee shops.

At this rate, there won’t be any younger people left to take those jobs.

This is not uniquely a Summerland problem.

Many communities across B.C. are feeling this crunch.

The solutions aren’t easy but with focus and a plan, they can be achievable.

So, to those who long for the good old days, they’re gone. It’s time to create some new memories and a thriving community.

Rob Murphy is the Summerland Review’s sales manager.


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