Where should your taxes go?

"Centralized services were created so everyone in the region could benefit from them."

I’d like to ask the Area A director and the Mayor of Fruitvale if they have asked Interior Health for an accounting of the number of valley residents who have used the hospital in the last year. After all, Area A and Fruitvale may be paying too much for their hospital tax. (Come to think of it, I haven’t used that helicopter pad – not once.)

What about the school tax? How many students from the valley attend Crowe? Is there an accounting of how many of those students use the Field House, the Aquatic Centre or the arena? I should point out that the Field House, the Aquatic Centre and the Trail Memorial Centre are either paid for by Trail taxpayers or by some shared agreement with the city.

I guess we can take this a step further. Why should taxes of someone who doesn’t have a car be used to support highway improvements; and if you don’t ride a bus, why should your taxes subsidize public transit? Should the airport, the cemetery, fire services all be user pay?

My gosh – can’t these people see where this is going? Centralized services were created so everyone in the region could benefit from them. Warfield and Montrose can’t afford a rink, a swimming pool, or a library. Fruitvale isn’t likely to build an aquatic centre any sooner than Area A can build its own high school.

And whether you use these services or not – they are available. That adds to all our property values. And I’m pretty sure there are few who are not going to buy or sell a house/business/lot/or something, sometime.

But the going mantra seems to be “me, me, me – what’s in it for me?” These “politicians” represent everything that is wrong with our area – the fact that we are going nowhere at jet speed boils down to the territorialism that abounds here.

Obviously, if this whole region – from Fruitvale to Rossland became a district municipality – one in which ALL residents contributed into a general pool – we’d all be better off. But heaven forbid we contemplate that. Instead, we blather along with five mayors, two district reps and more councillors than the City of Vancouver.

(And NO, Bill Trewhella – I don’t see why Trail should share Teck taxes with the rest of the region when the rest of the region wants to operate on its own with everything else.)

What I want to know is: why is it, when the Trail hospital was threatened, everyone from Ross Spur to Rossland and everywhere in-between rallied to fight off the oppressors (Castlegar and Nelson). Yet when it comes to sharing or preserving our other facilities and services, it’s every man (community) for itself?

You know, if we had been a single-minded supportive community, we probably could have saved some of our schools. But the school board and the politicians pitted each community against one another so that all that mattered was what each one would get. Didn’t matter how much it hurt the other community as long as it wasn’t MY community. Think about it, if we’d stood side by side, supporting our neighbours instead of trying to drive stakes in their backs, we could have been a formidable force. We saved the hospital, didn’t we?

This whole recreation mess should be thrown back into a pot and stirred around again. Only this time, involve ALL the players and come up with a plan that works for everybody. (And why should the director be telling people that Trail has not approached them about it? Didn’t they tell Trail the pull-out was non-negotiable? And what is stopping you from approaching Trail?)

But I think the real issue here isn’t recreation at all.

It’s about boundary expansion – something that’s been studied to death and cost thousands just to think about it.

In the meantime, less than a handful of people are making decisions that are having a profound impact on all taxpayers in this area. People in Rossland and the Beaver Valley will pay more to use Trail facilities; Trail taxpayers will pay more to support these facilities; and the school district will have to cough up more money if it wants to allow out-of-Trail kids to use our pool, arena or field house. And who do you suppose will pay for that? All of us.

It’s time people in this region waged war on their respective councils and demand they grow up and learn to play fair. If that can’t happen, then the citizens of Trail need to toughen up their backbones and demand that outlying communities pay a premium to use our facilities and/or services, such as OUR bridge to run a sewer line across the river.

Just sayin’

Lana Rodlie