Taxes top McGonigle’s priorities

Veteran Lake Cowichan councillor Tim McGonigle is back, trying for another term at the table.

Taxes are problematic because of the limited powers municipalities are given by the province, he said.

Municipalities can only raise money through property taxes but "the system doesn’t take into account the ability to pay. Especially for people on fixed incomes that becomes difficult," McGonigle said.

He wants to see province-wide action.

"We have to lobby senior levels of government to give us powers so we can gain revenues from other sources."

Lake Cowichan has been a standout in several ways in the past year, particularly for its efforts to get an integrated health system in the community but McGonigle still wants to talk more with Island Health, which has mandated a secondary treatment of Lake Cowichan’s water system. The town is looking at a cost of $2.5 million or more.

"We did take a pro-active approach – not a particularly popular one – in implementing parcel taxes to help offset some of the costs – and in all fairness, I will give the authorities credit for trying to protect us from another Walkerton incident but I do think to put that onto a small community is a financial burden."

He wants to see Lake Cowichan’s tax base diversify to include some industry.