Being a pensioner living on a fixed income, I am appalled by yet another tax added by our regional district representatives.
This time it is a parcel tax for acquisition of more parkland, partially consisting of the old railway grade between Royston and Cumberland.
Going to the Comox Valley Regional District website, I see that there is a lengthy list of target acquisitions totalling over $7 million by their figures. Also, they say that they need $3.3 million over the next 17 years.
When do the rural taxpayers get to vote on a grandiose scheme on this scale? At least when they tried forcing the rural garbage plan on us we had a chance to vote on it.
What gives these three rural representatives the right to come up with these schemes without approval of the taxpayers? Are they afraid that if taken to a vote, it could be turned down, like their much-hated garbage scheme.
This is like the ancient Chinese torture of death by a thousand cuts, only in our case we are getting death by a thousand taxes.
I also notice that it is only the taxpayers of areas A, B and C who are required to pay the parcel tax. The residents of Cumberland, Courtenay and Comox are not required to pay the tax.
Why is this? You would figure that as Cumberland, by its proximity is a net beneficiary of this corridor trail. Why are they not contributing towards it?
The parcel tax is $19 per parcel. It does not sound like much, but this is not a one-time tax — this is a tax for at least 17 years.
The real Irony here is that one of the gems of the Comox Valley is Stotan Falls. This was offered along with a large acreage for a park at no cost to the regional district by a private developer in return for a development in that area.
Think of the jobs that would be created by letting this development go ahead.
The regional district put a price tag of $5 million to acquire this property. But, no, it did not fit in with the community plan, which also had no vote by the taxpayers!
Since the Comox-Strathcona Regional District was cut in half a few short years ago, my property taxes have gone up by 50 per cent.
I understand that the administration costs in the now Strathcona Regional District are much less than those of the Comox Valley Regional District.
Why is this?
In these difficult times, with the way the economy is going (i.e. 120 jobs to be lost in the closure of Safeway, hydro to go up 22 per cent, ferry fare increases, etc.), we need to have local governments concentrate on lessening the financial burdens it places on its taxpayers, not add to their pain.