Area E will never reap benefits from Aquatic Centre tax hike

The owners can increase all their taxpayers, who own the facility and will reap the financial rewards once the facility is paid for.

The CVRD backgrounder reported that the Cowichan Aquatic Centre (owned and operated by the City of Duncan and Municipality of North Cowichan) “is well used by residents of Area E” and because the owners of the centre are moving toward a “user pay model” they have decided to “test the water”, or should I say the taxpayer of Electoral Area E, to see if we can provide them with a little more money to pay for their costly facility.

But there is a problem. This data was collected in 2010 or 2011 and is far out of date.

It goes on to state that “as a result, the annual financial contribution to the operation of the Aquatic Centre must increase in proportion to Area E residents use of the facility.” Not really, it does not need to increase at all.

The owners can increase all their taxpayers, who own the facility and will reap the financial rewards once the facility is paid for. But we, as Area E residents, do not need to assist in this boondoggle. We will not receive any of the financial rewards at the end of the day. As a community we must stand up and say enough is enough.

Unfortunately, there is something missing in the background information released by the CVRD last month. Specifically it does not provide any hard, up to date statistics, the actual number of users or percentage of users that live in Area E. One can says it is “well used” just as someone else can say it is “not well used” by Area E residents. We do not know the answer now but could in the future since Area E is drafting a new community plan and community meetings will be held throughout the process. Where was the community involvement, the community consultation, when were there any community meetings held on this matter? In the middle of August, two advertisements appeared, telling residents of Area E about this proposed tax increase.

It has been pointed out by others and in the very information Citizen article of Sept. 2, residents of Area E will be paying an additional $5.74 on top of the $2.69 already being paid to the Aquatic Centre owners for a total of $8.43 per $100K. Business and industrial owners will be paying at an even higher rate. This is far and away more than all other residents or business owners of other electoral areas.

It is time to just say no to this increase. We are paying enough. Think, how many times are you using the Duncan/North Cowichan pool each day, each week or each year?

The only way to put this proposal to rest once and for all is to acquire the electoral response form for Bylaw 3923 either from the CVRD website (www.cvrd.bc.ca) or at their office and return it as soon as possible. The deadline is Monday, Oct. 5, but don’t wait until the last minute.

 

Ron Smith

Area E resident