After attending the CCRD information meeting held at Lobelco on April 30, I felt it necessary to write to you. The meeting was to give engineering and other information on the proposed Bella Coola dike upgrade referendum.
It is of utmost importance that all taxpayers take the time to make sure that they are familiar with how this referendum will affect them. You can do this by either going to the CCRD office to pick up the information or go to their website.
The CCRD wants us to approve a 30-year loan for over a million dollars to upgrade the dike at the airport. This will bring increases in our taxes. The information given at the meeting said that there will be a 30 percent increase in the CCRD portion of our property taxes two years in a row.
If the existing dike at the end of the runway is being raised in this project, how does this impact Pacific Coastal and other planes landing? Has NAV Canada given approval to the raising in height of the dike? Why can’t the armour be replaced where necessary instead of the multi million dollar project? The airport was out for a few days. That, to me, is not worth us being saddled with a huge loan for thirty years.
The one benefit that I can see of this project is that it will provide some employment locally. But there are many more areas that need the protection more than the airport. We were told that the governments, both Federal and Provincial, will only approve the airport project. When the Hagensborg gap gives way again, which it will, we (upper Valley residents) won’t have access to the airport with its new dike protection, as we will be stopped by all of the water breaching all the way down the Valley.
We were told if we wanted protection for our areas we (the residents) would be financially responsible for the projects. No help from any of the three governments.
So why would anyone vote yes to the referendum when it does nothing to protect most of the Valley from future floods?
Our taxpayers are aging and a high percentage of them are on fixed incomes. These future tax increases are too much for them to budget for, as well as many other residents.
How do we know if the one million plus is all it is going to cost us over thirty years? I feel like we are leaving a signed blank cheque for the Directors to spend. The past years have not given us much confidence in our Board of Directors. Directors consistently miss meetings. One Director and one Alternate attended this meeting. Where were the other Directors?
Downtown businesses will see a marked increase in their taxes, as there are so few residential taxpayers. So, will we see increased prices to make up for what they will have to pay in future taxes?
So please take the time to inform yourselves before you vote on May 25 at SAMS or advance voting at the CCRD office on May 15. This is not a time to be apathetic. Get out and exercise your right to vote.