Re: High taxes. Low taxes. It’s a question of infrastructure. (Our View, Jan. 14)
Your editorial rightfully raises the aging infrastructure question, which should be the main focus of the District of Sooke’s planning and budget.
The current focus is on high-density residential developments planned for the city core, with apartment buildings, lookalike townhouses, and single-family houses on tiny 3,000-square-foot lots.
These developments make Sooke look more like Langford with its mushrooming ghetto-style apartment buildings swallowing single-family homes. At the same time, it is the rural style of living that attracts people to Sooke.
But the District of Sooke council constantly rezones rural properties to residential, like the Chuch Street farm, and approves 150 townhomes on that piece of land. What a shame!
The editor rightfully points out that the city should attract businesses, who pay higher rate taxes to the area. But there’s another angle to consider. The editorial mentions the “inevitable downloading of services on the municipality from senior levels of government.”
Why should it be inevitable? Why such a defeatist attitude? Why are there school and hospital taxes on our property bill? Aren’t education and health care provincial responsibilities? Surely they are.
So, they should be covered by provincial taxes calculated based on people’s real incomes, and not, like municipal taxes, on some speculative market values that place even ramshackle dwellings into the $500,000 category.
The Union of B.C. Municipalities should stand by its members and reverse downloads to uploads. In other words, make the provincial government do what it’s supposed to do.