As a former candidate for Council, I would like to offer some observations on the recent municipal election in Campbell river. Taxation was the issue that did split the community.
I hope the comment “start crankin’ up those tax increases” is not taken up by the new council.
It wasn’t so much the tax increases, but the way council handled the communications with the public. One example was the Peterson intersection traffic light. Normally the traffic engineer produces a traffic count, along with an accident report to justify either a four way stop or traffic lights. Sadly, one councilor when questioned stated “we install one set of lights a year because they are so expensive”. The point is that one should not spend tax dollars without reason. Did any councilor ask for the studies? Perhaps they did, maybe in camera. If so, then that debate should be held in the open.
It was revealed during the campaign that 20 positions were currently vacant. It seems that dollars allocated to fill these positions are counted as surplus by the former mayor and commitments by the former “group of four.” Technically both are correct. Hopefully they will remain vacant unless a strong public case can be made for filling them.
There doesn’t seem to be a strong effort to question Rivercorp and its role in the economic future of Campbell River.
From what I can see the only jobs they’ve created are their own. When both mayoralty candidates were asked the question on Rivercorp, they both said “it’s not working” and needs to be reorganized. It remains to be seen if the tough questions will be asked in public or behind closed doors regarding Rivercorp.
Don’t get me wrong, we need an effective Rivercorp, free of political interference, but their reports must justify their existence.
The same due diligence should apply to Infilm. As someone who works in the industry I am concerned that we are not getting full value for our tax commitment. In addition why isn’t Comox valley paying a share? Their economy is getting some share of what little work there is .
Finally wether we like it or not, a slate existed with the last council. While the “gang of four” didn’t run as a group, they certainly voted as a group, even to the extent of keeping an absentee councilor on the payroll.
Hopefully the new council will remember that the “slate” failed and they were elected as independents and they should ask the tough questions.