At the July 2 council meeting Courtenay Coun. Jon Ambler introduced motions to direct City staff to provide assistance to the covered bridge project, which we had been told would not require taxpayer funding.
In fact the wooden bridge is rapidly becoming a taxpayer-funded project. We have already spent $70,000 and now we must pay the salaries of city staff who will provide their expertise for the project. The motion is open-ended directing “City staff to provide expert support.”
It hopefully suggests there should be prudent limits, but it essentially gives the City a blank cheque to pay wages to our employees who work on this project.
The wooden foot bridge is an unnecessary frill which is the dream of some local proponents who desire a pleasant means of strolling across the river. If they wish to donate it, we welcome their civic spirit, but foot and bike traffic across the river is already quite adequately provided by the adjacent Fifth Street Bridge.
In a second fiscally imprudent motion, Coun. Ambler (whose willingness to spend taxpayer dollars apparently knows no bounds) introduced another motion to encourage “all willing and able” council members to attend “all” of the civic conferences across the country (even federal and provincial ministries would balk at such excess).
In the past council delegations were occasionally sent to specific conferences for a specific purpose, but our free-spending council now sees these expensive trips as a perk and an entitlement, which we are expected to fund. Such trips are billed as being for networking and learning purposes, but common sense would suggest that our councillors’ time would be better spent within our community unless a specific need is identified at which time a small delegation could be sent on a one off basis.
In fact, most of such taxpayer-funded trips across the country and internationally provide no additional value for our community and serve only to increase the city’s expenses. We should make the connection when we review our ever increasing tax assessment each year and remember our pain at election time.
Thank you Mayor Jangula for being a consistent voice of reason on council and the only member who opposed the above waste of our tax dollars.