Wednesday, October 9, 2013

$6,250,000 to fight 11 building fires a year?

It certainly can get a little hair raising for taxpayers on Salt Spring Island watching how independent organizations like the Fire Dept. Board operate. They do so with an impunity that only volunteers can safely do without worrying about being personally liable for the decisions they make. We see a lot of this sometimes laudable, independent, wild west flair among groups freely taxing us in our unincorporated district. We need to contain it.

The problem in this day and age is that money is in short supply and the taxpayer is fatigued by the mega-projects we've had to digest over the last few years. It is like the next planner wants to out do the previous one as we snowball into yet another architect's big idea! The audacious nature of dreaming up a monster fire hall plan while propagandizing it into a full blown Emergency Service Building Project takes balls but it defies logic given our recent census numbers! At just over 10,200 people now 'associated' with Salt Spring Island, the myth of Salt Spring's projected massive population growth can finally be put to bed. If anything, projects like the new fire hall can safely be scaled back to be a lot more modest and reasonable! And well they should be!

Just saying. In 2008 there was an unusual blip on the screen with the financial collapse mostly in the US yet the Federal Government knee jerked out some make-work money so we could spend $7,000,000 on an edifice to that vanishing medium called the printed book. One wonders how on Earth we can dial back peoples' expectations after such a spectacular extravagance as the new Library. Now we find ourselves, as taxpayers hardly able to compete with that kind of 'Manna from Heaven' and still we are told we need that kind of money this time for a really important emergency service centre. Fair enough but in this case SIZE MATTERS.

We need to chill for a bit and re-examine our priorities which is probably a governance study over most anything else. If these decisions were to go through a responsible central council like in a... wait for it... MUNICIPALITY, surely the smart people of Salt Spring Island would prioritize peoples' tax monies in a far more efficient and caring manner. Just saying.

I refuse to vote YES for an extravagant security blanket in the face of the astronomical odds of a geological event... and believe or not, I can do that and still "support the troops". We are all very proud of our Fire Department and the brave men and women who service this outfit but this current plan uses fear of the unknown next 'disaster' to attempt to extort far too much for far too little actual community need.

Moderation is all you need! --- and then something quite adequate is possible to support. A NO Vote this time on October 23rd and 26th will ensure that happens.