Taxpayers to pay as emotion wins the day

Chemainus – At the May 21 North Cowichan council meeting I spoke in favour of developing Echo Heights. There are two main reasons:

1. This property is arguably the municipality’s biggest revenueproducing asset. Revenue from lot sales held the potential to reduce the rising tax burden.

2. The municipality already has 50 parks.

Alas, my taxpayer’s view did not prevail. A mere nine per cent of Echo Heights will be developed, resulting in millions of lost municipal revenue. Revenue reduction from development of nine per cent instead of 20 per cent did not motivate the majority of council, although the 20 per cent previously proposed was to be largely on disturbed Scotch broom-infested land.

The majority of council appeared to be ground down by the Cowichan Residents Association’s emotional campaign. Councillor John Koury cast the sole vote against the reduction. Councillors Al Siebring and Jennifer Woike, who were previously opposed the nine per cent solution proposed by Mayor John Lefebure, reversed themselves. Not to worry, you and I, the taxpayers, will make up for the loss. Congratulations to CRA for providing another example of how a Not In My Back Yard group can sway a council. The appeals of the CRA failed to demonstrate what Echo Heights has to offer that is not found in the 50 parks we now have. Nevertheless, emotion won the day. As a result the backyards of Echo Heights will be preserved to the financial detriment of the larger community.

Don Graham


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