Amenities cost not the reason for slow growth

Amenity contributions do not contribute to high cost of building in Sooke

Well done in your December 18 Sooke News Mirror editorial praising those who, over the holidays, helped out “those who have little” — and also for the point that, “It would have been even better if the government (both federal and provincial) deemed it worthy enough to help with such things.” Is it a coincidence that our province, which boasts of having the lowest tax rate of any province (though the Liberals don’t include the Medical Service Plan charge that hits the lower incomes the hardest) also has the worst child poverty rate in the country? See page 2 of the December 18 Sooke News Mirror.  Forget much help for “such things.”

But are we doing any better at the municipal level? In Sooke we seem to have elected a replica of the previous administration with its mindless support of development and growth. A recent illustration of this, as per an editorial in the Sooke News Mirror of December 11, was council’s decision to reduce the developers’ amenity contribution by more than half. This is for a fund used to “pay for such things as …. affordable hosting” and was never much of a burden. Now reduced to $1,000 and $2,000, the contribution is a piddling amount compared to the cost of land and buildings. Yet, because of it, at least one councillor believes “no developers were coming to build in Sooke because of the higher cost of doing business.” If so, it’s surely not caused by the amenity contribution.

One final thought: when one of our absurdly rich citizens makes a large (tax deductible) donation to some charity of his or her choice it is widely praised. Might it not be more useful if the government took a bit more of that money on its way to lining their pockets in order to “help with such things” as really are needed?

Dick Momsem

Sooke