So I went to the library last Sunday to drop off and renew a couple of books, only to discover that because of a shortage of city funds (about $3,000) the library is now closed on Sundays.
So after reading just the week before that council is going to referendum in June to ask us whether we should have a prison here in Penticton (referendum to cost $50,000) I wonder what politics are being played with our tax dollars? Just prior to the decision on going to referendum, the council also awarded a contract to a Vancouver communications company at a cost of $10,000-plus per year Ń who I am sure will be telling us through advertising over the next few weeks why we need to have a prison here in our tourist destination city and our well-established retirement city.
A leader is required to access the interests of the people their council represents and make recommendation to council on which direction to go on an issue, particularly on an issue such as the prison that has created a very negative reaction.
All it would take to save us this cost is for the chair/leader to ask council for a motion to withdraw the application. If approved by majority, it could save the city $50,000-plus, which is approximately 0.05 per cent of the estimated cost to our property taxes. Of course this cost doesn’t include the advertising that we’ll be subjected to by the communications firm on how the prison will add to our overall economy? We are told that we must listen to the benefits that a prison will bring and not be persuaded by misinformation before we vote.
If the prison brings in 2,000 jobs it is going to scare every potential tourist and real estate investment away from this city. The other cities that have prisons are not tourist or retirement destinations. Oh yes, council tells us the prisoners will do community work. Can you visualize a family here on vacation asking what the men in orange coveralls are doing on the roadside with an armed guard? What will we do when the escape alarm goes off such as the former mayor from Maple Ridge advised? Are we to lock our doors and stay at home or in the motel room?
One has to ask who is leading this council into this unnecessary and costly referendum. Were we not constantly reminded during the council’s budget deliberations this last spring that the city was so short of money we couldn’t afford to keep the library open for a few more Sundays?