Regional solution needed

I enjoyed West Bench resident Eva Durance’s excellently written satirical letter on Penticton wall building. Except she missed the real construction culprit: The RDOS.

I enjoyed West Bench resident Eva Durance’s excellently written satirical letter on Penticton wall building. Except she missed the real construction culprit: The RDOS.

Through the RDOS, Penticton has tried to get a reciprocal agreement between Penticton and rural residents that love to use our excellent public facilities. As 23 per cent of public facility use is by rural residents, I am sure they must be as delighted with our new community centre as we are.

Pentictonites face more pain with a $2 million shortfall in the 2012 budget. How many Pentictonites understand the high financial cost the subsidy to rural residents carries for themselves and underprivileged families and seniors?

It costs $2.4 million a year in operating costs to enjoy that winter swim. Many of Penticton’s underprivileged children are unable to utilize that benefit because we subsidize rural residents. Penticton receives only $800,000 a year in user fees towards the $2.4 million annual operating costs.

We elect mayors, councils and regional governments to settle regional disputes. Yet the RDOS insists Penticton institute user fees for rural residents instead of using the property tax system which would make usage of public facilities affordable for all rural residents.

How do you feel about $20 to $25 for a winter swim? Good deal is it?

The HST is a good example of how grumpy people are today. Consensus building and conflict resolution for the common good is expected of politicians by overburdened taxpayers and they don’t want to be bothered by freeloaders.

If Pentictonites decide to act on this long-standing problem, the rural community is unlikely to be happy with the result. Pentictonites could save millions of tax dollars over the next decade by opting out of the navel-gazing, wall-erecting RDOS. (Abbotsford claims it would save $1.4 million annually.)

Rural residents need to understand the advantage of painlessly supporting the public lifestyle services they use through their property taxes, as West Bench currently does for library services with $20,000 per year.

As a community we need to move forward together with 21st century solutions to 20th century problems. I urge the residents of the rural community to support the public facilities they constantly use by electing RDOS candidates in November that are open to change and will settle this dispute satisfactorily to both parties.

Tear down your walls and support your community. We and you deserve it. Nobody likes or respects a freeloader.

Elvena Slump

 

Penticton