Cities: Finance your own services

Thirty years ago, Parksville and Qualicum Beach needed additional funding to help them establish services such as a swimming pool.

Thirty years ago, Parksville and Qualicum Beach needed additional funding to help them establish services such as a swimming pool. But now, these communities are three or more times larger and residents within these municipalities utilize 75 to 90 per cent of available time of the service.

Recent surveys demonstrated that some rural areas account for only one-two per cent of the total number of users of these Regional District of Nanaimo services. A swimming pool can only service so many users and likewise an ice rink. Isn’t it time for these services to be maintained by the community that receives the benefits? Both services have recently had costly updates and modernization so now is a good time to transfer those services to the municipalities particularly now when they seem to have monies for yet another new service, namely a rubber track.

The RDN recreation services have resulted in “big box” toys in municipalities. The rubber track appears to be another toy. Meanwhile, rural residents are seeing 45 per cent of their rural tax base siphoned off to support these municipal toys at the expense of their own rural community services stagnated by lack of funding.

So which residents will be utilizing a rubber track? How far are residents willing to travel to use this service? Who will pick up the tab in five to 10 years to sustain this service? All RDN services are apparently forever. Add to that the already weighty RDN recreational department supporting salaries of $100,000 and more. Rural taxes are needed to build rural communities. It’s time for municipalities to grow up and finance their own pet projects.

Dianne Eddy



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