Re: The Three Amigos and city council, June 27
Depending on how you look at an entire cast of characters, you can assign labels as a group or as individuals.
That is not always complimentary but so far, so good. Spendthrifts, or intransigents, fiscally irresponsible, or as Amigos (which sometimes they are not).
Our mayor and council are individuals but they need to act as a group to reach consensus and that has not always been easy.
I voted for Mayor Jakeway because he promised zero tax increases. I voted for a couple of experienced councillors because it seemed like a good idea to have continuity – someone to show the ropes, who had contacts and knowledge of ongoing issues in our city.
Some of those councillors took this election as carte blanche to impose what they want on Campbell River because we elected them. We did elect them, but I thought it was with the understanding that council would listen, then speak and act on our behalf; and they would make the utmost effort to be frugal and thoughtful with our tax dollars.
I don’t think this is completely the case right now.
The Amigos and the infrastructure funding and overall city spending is an ongoing battle. In a referendum, Campbell River rejected the Robron development as part of a $20 million package but some on council are now saying that we actually do want the $4.8 million Robron development after all. I for one say nay to that but the majority of council – four persons – say aye.
Coming from the point of view that our city has only so much money, and quite a few projects, we – and council – have to think carefully about how the limited monies should be spent.
In harsh terms, Catalyst is dead gone and buried, and the $8 million or so of tax revenue is not there. The council’s spending plan is not reflecting that financial reality.
I think the mayor, the council, and city manager Laidlaw all agreed to begin with, that the infrastructure needs upgrading, it is not a want but a need, and the funding for that must go forward.
But the point had to be driven home, given the limited budget, that some things have to wait. Infrastructure can’t wait; Robron can wait.
Borrowing funds is possible but it just isn’t smart. Taxpayers will, at some point, say that enough is enough and the story of the Amigos will be just a memory of more pleasant times.
Maybe in a few years when Campbell River has the wherewithal for the Robron project, it can be done.
Now is not a good time when infrastructure needs attention – and financing.
Many people will not like me for saying this, but: we need roads before we need astroturf.