Evergreen Pavilion seems to have strings attached

A tax is a tax is a tax

Evergreen Pavilion seems to have strings attached

In response to Mr. Koehn’s recent submission (Citizen, Dec. 6) we, the Cobble Hill Association of Taxpayers (CHAT), fully appreciate and agree with his assertion that, “This project is in no way being funded with local property taxes”.

However, we have to respectfully point out that Mr. Strom’s letter (Citizen, Dec. 1) does not state anywhere that this project is being financed in this way.

The nomenclature used throughout is “public funds and/or funding”, by which Mr. Strom, a director of CHAT, specifically refers to as the gas tax. Property taxes or gas taxes really makes not one iota of difference.

In this respect, Mr. Koehn seems to have completely missed the point of Mr. Strom’s letter.

A tax is a tax is a tax and let’s be clear, it don’t make no neverminds what the prefix is, gas or property or income. It still comes out of our public taxpaying pockets and should not be sidetracked to a private enterprise to fund a structure project, the name of which project is constantly changing from Sports or Evergreen School Society Pavilion to Covered something-or-other, on privately owned and controlled land.

Mr. Koehn also declares, more than once, that this is a “gift” from the Evergreen Society to the community and local areas. Not only that, it is a “substantial gift”.

Our understanding of the term “gift” is that it is given without strings attached, a thing given willingly to someone without payment; a present. Certainly there is no mention of payment by the recipient of the gift of any kind. This is unquestionably not the case here, given that $28,500 of Parks funding has already been diverted with another $50,000 of public funds being earmarked to further subsidize the project. The definition of the word “gift” in itself also indicates that it would not and could not be taken back at the whim of the giver, a change in circumstances or if the giver of the substantial gift decides that perhaps, it wasn’t such a good idea after all.

Mr. Koehn, in a follow up response states categorically that “The precise usage of the pavilion will be up to the people of Cobble Hill and leadership at Evergreen school”. If one paraphrases the part of this statement “The precise usage…up to… and the leadership at Evergreen School” it becomes even more disturbing. Do we read this as, “You give me lots of taxpayer dollars and maybe I’ll let you use the substantial gift to which you generously contributed”?

As far as use of these funds are concerned, we made our position abundantly clear in Mr. Strom’s original. We are of the opinion that the funds from the gas tax ($50,000) should be used to pay for rebuilding the stairs at Manley Park — this would reduce the 2018 tax requisitions for the Cobble Hill taxpayers. Those gas tax funds are the independent responsibility of the Area C (Cobble Hill) director, in this case, Matteus Clement, who chooses where, how and who receives them.

Readers should also be aware that Manley Creek repairs ($43,000) will be paid for solely by the residents and taxpayers of Cobble Hill and not Regional Parks as stated by Mr. Koehn.

It is worth noting that there seems to be no disclosure or discussion of who is responsible for future costs or maintenance of the Evergreen structure should it be built with large contributions from our taxes.

Yet another ongoing expense for us?

Michael Wilson

On behalf of the board of directors

Cobble Hill Association of Taxpayers

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