Penticton has decided to charge parking fees at the SOEC for events other than Vees games.
Before the oversight committee and management changes at Global Spectrum, checks and balances on the bottom line were insufficient. They must operate the SOEC as a business not a sinkhole for tax dollars.
Dawson Creek, B.C. (pop. 11,000) has an arena similar in size to Penticton. This size is indicative of the support they receive from industry. EnCana recently announced (Dawson Creek Daily News, Sept. 20) that it would be lending its name to the facility for an additional five years as part of a new $600,000 commitment. Penticton taxpayers’ servicing an area of 70,000 to 75,000 do not have the benefit of generous gas dollars for ongoing costs and need to find innovative ways to meet current costly expectations for public infrastructure. The well-recognized benefits to the business sector cannot be allowed to detrimentally affect Penticton’s residential tax base.
I agree with the recent decision of the City; parking fees are one way that some tax dollars can be recouped. It ensures that users pay. I do not agree with the fees at the hospital. The hospital is a necessary service and pay parking can be a hardship for the many elderly visiting sick spouses daily. Those taking tests can be stranded when their time runs out. The SOEC by way of contrast is an optional service.
Regional community cooperation for building; upgrades and running costs is needed for regionally focused public infrastructure. Aside from hospital expansion what are the next big projects in Penticton? New facilities are needed for Penticton’s museum. Aside from the fact the museum and the proposed new Arts Centre should be regional issues, it would leave room for library expansion.
Under current practices, RDOS support will never happen. Until the City and the RDOS recognize the value of community co-operation on infrastructure and operating costs; I will be voting no to subsidization of Penticton residential tax dollars to outlying regions. The RDOS will be seeking your approval to borrow $1.6 million for fire dispatch upgrades in the outlying areas. Penticton taxpayers will pay 38 per cent (about two per cent of property tax) unless 6,844 voters register opposition.
I urge Summerland and Osoyoos voters to carefully examine whether their subsidization of this project is beneficial to their tax base. Watch the papers for notices on where and when you can vote.