A proponent of a separate regional district for the Western Communities has claimed that the costs associated with separating from the CRD ‘are not a persuasive argument.’ He also claimed that amalgamation, not splitting of districts, gives rise to extra costs.
I find all this hard to believe. Of course, each case is different. Yet, I would like to relate what happened on Bowen Island a few years ago.
Bowen is an island nominally in the Islands Trust. It is also now a separate municipality. Formerly, it was part of the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD). A few with their own agenda wanted to split off from the GVRD. Their arguments were similar to those now advocating a split of our area from the CRD.
Costs of this proposed change loomed large in everyone’s mind, so many calculations, estimates and guesses were made. On the basis of such ‘Higher Mathematics,’ citizens were convinced that the costs would not be excessive. Besides, people were promised that taxes would not go up for five years after the split.
Indeed, after this separation, for five years, taxes did not change much. This was the result of a slush fund, together with a stay on needed expenditures. Then, of course, the need for new facilities, duplication of services, etc., became overwhelming. Taxes increased considerably.
Please, whatever your political beliefs, do not be swayed by the arguments of a small but vocal minority that has its own agenda at the great inconvenience of the vast majority.
Dale W. Read