Reject new water authority proposal
To North Cowichan council:
On Feb. 7, you were given a presentation from Mr. Carruthers, CAO of the CVRD and Mayor Lefebure, chairman of the CVRD. The CAO summarized the cost and services of his proposed new bylaw for the proposed new regional service of the water authority. He stated that the proposed new bylaw was expanded to a regional wide expense from his original plan to include only the Cowichan River watershed.
I was shocked at how he pulled numbers, uncomparable apple and orange numbers, that you accepted as gospel, from his budgets, to sell you a proposal that makes absolutely zero sense.
1. He stated that the cost of the proposed new water authority was only going to cost each of the properties in the CVRD $15 per $100,000 of assessment. He stated that cost compared favourably with the cost of other services such as community parks — $22 per $100k, and recreation centres — $88 per $100k. What he failed to tell you is that the recreational centre services costs and park services, in the presentation are not regional but localized, and so those costs that he gave you are not comparable to a regional-wide cost services such as the proposed new water authority. The $88 for the recreational centre service that Mr. Carruthers talked about is also an inaccurately inflated number because, in the case of North Cowichan, the CVRD’s own Schedule “D”, states that the true cost is $64 per $100k of tax for the ISC and the regional park cost to North Cowichan is $11 per $100k, not $22 as presented.
2. The CAO said that the cost of $15 per $100k for the new water authority was a reasonable number. Let’s put that into perspective! Right now the total regional cost of the CVRD’s General Government budget is $11.62 per $100k equating to a total annual budget of $2.3 million for that department. The CVRD’s new proposed water authority will cost taxpayers $15 per $100k or $3 million. Does that sound reasonable given that the proposed water authority will have no legislative authority to control water because water comes under the domain of the senior levels of government? The CVRD can only consult. Is that worth $3 million per year in increased property taxes? I am offering you my consul right now for no cost. Can’t the CVRD do the same on water matters? North Cowichan did that in its proposal to supply Chemainus with new sources of water.
4. The CAO was also careful to say that the new tax will not be used to build any infrastructure or do any remedial work on Quamichan Lake when asked. Instead, he offered to use our proposed $3 million tax increase to do studies and consultations with senior levels of government. That is a lot of money just for talk! North Cowichan and Duncan do their own studies right now to accomplish the same ends. This is nothing more than double taxation for duplicate services. In plain language, it is wasteful spending on a bureaucratic want, not a municipal need.
5. The CAO should concentrate on providing government to his unincorporated electoral areas and leave the incorporated towns alone. The CVRD has enough sewer and water problems in his areas of control.
6. On civic election day this October, the referendum to create this tax should be soundly rejected by this council and the voters.