Too much philosophy, too little merit consideration

North Cowichan – Re: Presentation to the Municipality of North Cowichan special council meeting, Tuesday, May 26.

The 39 page priority initiative report was issued late last week. There has been insufficient time to review this document but a number of deficiencies are obvious.

Broad overview of objectives, only seven pages devoted to actual projects.

Too much on philosophy, too little on merits of projects, no analysis of cost benefits, too little time for council to review.

Speaking of philosophy, there is no mention of restraining tax rates. Job creation is mentioned but only in general terms. There is no mention of real job creation incentives. By real jobs I am reminded of B.C.’s famous labour leader Jack Munro stating that selling popcorn to tourists was not his idea of a real job for his union membership.

The report has too much emphasis on social issues and pet projects.

Speaking of pet projects, the fifth dog park for Chemainus comes to mind. This is a prime example of a staff suggestion that merits a bottom priority. This pet project could have been eliminated from the present budget, if only as a token to show that council was concerned with holding the line. When I point out to residents that a motion to strike this park could not attract a seconder they shake their heads.

In my view, the mandate of municipal government is to provide basic services. It has been stated in this chamber that municipal governments have a very small portion of the tax revenue in this country.

It should follow therefore that municipalities must stick to the basics.

In summary, unless the underlying priorities are reduced to fundamentals, the vision statement of this report should read, “Create the most expensive place on Vancouver Island to live.”

Don Graham

North Cowichan