Region should unite as one, ‘quit waging economic wars’

" can anyone say these people have the best interests of their constituents at heart?"

The world is at war. Bombs are still blowing people up in Afghanistan; Russia has taken over the Crimea; the premier of Alberta resigned; the mayor of Toronto won’t; and here in the small Southern Interior of B.C., we still have people waging economic wars on each other.

You realize this puts us right up there with Americans who don’t want Obamacare because they don’t want to pay to support those who can’t afford Medicare. I really thought we were bigger than that. Guess I was wrong.

Look around at these five mayors, 22 councillors and two regional district reps who are all supposedly working for the “betterment” of their constituents. Ask how many of them would stay on the job if it was on a volunteer basis. Maybe a few of them would. But I’d guess the majority would bale.

So how can anyone say these people have the best interests of their constituents at heart? If they really did, they’d recognize that “united we stand – divided we fall.” That none of what they are doing is serving the 1,729 people in Warfield, the 2,964 in Fruitvale and Montrose, the 3,407 in Areas A and B or the 3,278 in Rossland. Together with the City of Trail – we are 18,615 people, according to the last available statistics. Yet, we are all divided up into little confrontational groups with our leaders holding up their hands with catchers mitts saying “Me, me, me!”

You wonder why Nelson or Castlegar are doing so much better than we are? Think about it – they each have only have ONE mayor and council to deal with.

Young people who want a house that was built after 1963 will continue to buy in Castlegar because there won’t be any recreation amenities within 30 kilometres of Trail, Rossland or the Beaver Valley, so why build or buy here?

I dispute Bill Trewhella’s take on “rich” Trail. He’s been banging that drum for a lot of years.  Yes, Trail gets the lion’s share of Teck taxes but we also get the lion’s share of dust, smell and noise along with all the negative publicity that goes with it. (When a belching smelter is shown on the news, they never seem to mention that it is next to Warfield.)

We also pay the lion’s share of facilities and regional services. Mr. Trewhella wants to share the wealth but doesn’t want to share the expenses. He, and councils since he served, worked hard to convince the people of Warfield that they’d lose services if they joined Trail. Duh! They are already losing services and yes, their taxes will increase when they have to pay for the rising costs of supplying water, sewer systems, paving of streets and other aging infrastructures. I wonder how much keeping that multi- million-dollar water treatment plant is going to cost them. What if they cannot attract a highly-trained individual to run it if; or heaven forbid, it breaks down? That’s $3 -4 million, possibly, divided by 400 or 500 households. Do the math.

So think about this: if we were all one district municipality, EVERYONE would share in the tax revenue and each other’s expenses. We would all share equally in services and amenities.  We’d be able to make the entire region a much more sustainable, economically-sound viable place to be. We’d have shared amenities that would be an attraction to young families, businesses and professionals. And 19,000 voices would have considerably more clout in Victoria than 1,700 voices here or 3,000 voices there. People would build houses in Emerald Ridge; professionals would continue to live in Rossland; and the Beaver Valley would fill up because everyone would be able to benefit from the many services we’d share.

But nooooo! With the exception of a few, we are all at the mercy of a handful of individuals who are supplementing their income/retirements.

And don’t even get me started on the library issue. I can almost understand Rossland and Fruitvale opting out of library services because they have a library. But Warfield? As I said, I thought the people of this region were better than that.

Sad, sad, sad.

Lana Rodlie