Letter: Support going green, but not climate specialist hire

I am one among many that have been getting increasingly alarmed

Support going green, but not climate specialist hire

I was quite distressed to read the recent article in the Cowichan Valley Citizen regarding North Cowichan’s approval of hiring of a climate change specialist to the tune of $90,000 and benefits per year.

While almost everyone that I know would support moving in an environmentally green direction, I have yet to speak to anyone that supports the outlay of a yearly $90,000 plus benefits to do so at this time. I would therefore suggest to councilman Justice that he is not correct in his beliefs that “residents support council’s moves” in this matter. While many support the premise, there are many like myself that believe that we should move in that direction in increments that would minimize and spread out the cost outlay of doing so.

I am one among many that have been getting increasingly alarmed at the rate that the current council is approving new and additional expenditures. Council has already approved large financial commitments such as the new RCMP building and the new garbage pick-up trucks incurring a significant tax load that would perhaps suggest it is time for council to curtail their spending. Some of councils’ desired projects can be done incrementally over time, easing the tax burden on residents. I would ask council to view new expenditures as if they were coming from their own personal pocketbook to give some perspective. The addition of the climate change specialist is just one more financial burden that many of us do not feel is justified or necessary at this time.

To give some perspective to those members who voted in favour of this motion…many residents in Chemainus are on fixed incomes. This means that ANY tax increase adds a burden that is sometimes insupportable. Property prices and rental costs are so high that more and more people are living out of their RVs or worse, because they cannot afford the cost of living.

Property assessments have skyrocketed (in our case by 50 per cent) significantly increasing property taxes and in addition, council is looking at a further 4.04 per cent tax increase.

This will be a difficult financial burden for many! People are already facing the challenges of keeping their businesses open and maintaining their employment status. The situation with COVID and healthcare has added to the stress many are experiencing right now and this is the wrong time to be placing additional financial burdens on people.

So I ask. Is this really the best time to add on an additional $90,000 plus benefits position to the tax burden? My answer and that of many other residents is a resounding NO! I thank you, Mayor Siebring for recognizing that.

In their elected role as a council person for North Cowichan, representatives must not only explore new ideas, but be accountable and cognizant of the burdens placed on the residents they represent when doing so. There is work to be done in the latter part of this equation.

Louise Peters