LETTER: Municipal projects add to Summerland’s debt

The reason we are out of cash for routine maintenance is because of other big spending projects

Dear Editor:

Now Summerland council is going to borrow $6.5 million to redo Giants Head Road and add yet more to our unhealthily growing debt.

We have to borrow because our municipal financial system funded by taxes and fees does not have the funds for routine maintenance, so we go into more debt.

This loan will be paid by a special tax levy and higher water rates.

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The reason we are out of cash for routine maintenance is because of other big spending projects of little need, value or relationship to the size of the community.

Such as a solar array project that now will cost $10.4 million plus a special new tech hire when we have a completely adequate supply of zero emissions electric power, 22 more electric vehicle charging stations when the existing ones are empty for $500,000, an aquatic centre for a whopping price now at $37.4 million.

And now a separate borrowing due to a depleted cash position in the Giant’s Head project at $6.5 million.

When you look at this grand spending you might think we are a large community but we are not.

The last census puts us at 11,615 people in 5,426 dwellings, and when you do the simple math of the tax needed to support just the project spending mentioned here, $54.8 million in total, it is grossly out of common sense proportion.

Here is a quote by Summerland councillor Erin Trainer on the aquatic centre project: “$15 million is a lot to spend on upgrading a facility that’s already 50 years old, and I question whether it would stand up another 30 years.

“Whereas spending $30 million on a new facility is also expensive, but that’s spread out over a long time and I believe this will last us longer, and serve our community down the road for future generations.”

What is astounding is that there is not one word of concern of where the money comes from and where that puts the taxpayers of this community, and the offhandedness of $15 million versus $30 million, now at $37.4 million cost.

The existing centre rebuild proposal was considered to be quite viable and adequate.

It would be nice if we could have everything, sort of a Utopia, but anybody with common sense knows this is not possible given all the taxes we already pay.

This is an election year for the council, and perhaps it is time to renew its profile from head in the clouds to feet on the ground.

Roy Roope

Summerland

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