Why working against our interests

A response to Fortis' proposed new Operations Centre in Ooteschenia.

On Aug. 14 it was announced that Fortis would be building a shiny new Operations Centre in Ooteschenia.

The following day, coincidentally, the mayor of Castlegar followed up with a comment that 180 jobs would move to Castlegar on the site originally proposed for the new regional hospital—not that he ruled out building a new regional hospital somewhere else in Ooteschenia.

The Fortis proposed move is quite a surprise slap in the face for the people of Trail and the communities of Regional District of Kootenay Boundary East End.  I didn’t see any notice of tender for the land nor was any notice given to the taxpayers of Trail that Fortis was looking to consolidate its operations elsewhere. This just doesn’t pass the smell test.

Fortis has already lined up a public meeting with the Castlegar community at the Ooteschenia Community Hall on Aug. 29.

As of this writing, nothing’s been announced for Trail and surrounding RDKB communities.  I guess a loss of a major taxpayer to the RDKB communities means buptkuss.

Although this proposal still has to be vetted by the BC Utilities Commission, I wouldn’t put much stock in the process without at least some serious intervention on the part of private citizens and their elected representatives.

Fortis ratepayers already pay into a two-tiered system at 20 per cent more than BC Hydro.  Now, Fortis wants to spend $16 million on a new building in Ooteschenia.

We need economic development and for that to succeed, we need land.  The most accessible land is in Area A but for some reason, one would have an easier time pulling hen’s teeth than to see a competitive option developed here.

Once again, some of the representatives on the RDKB seem unable to see the forest for the trees.  I don’t know if it’s done purposely, for reasons related more to ego and prejudice than to merit, or if some of them are influenced to work against the interests of RDKB taxpayers.

Just saying “NO” is unproductive and will drain more economic opportunities out of the RDKB.  Is that what you really want RDKB East End?

The results of the recent “NO” votes regarding a second access to the regional hospital and expansion of airport services and facilities seem to have fulfilled the goals to bleed jobs and opportunities from the area.  Sadly, the notion of competition just doesn’t seem to resonate with some of the RDKB elected representatives.

And to all the citizens who think the “NO” votes don’t affect you and your families, think again, then, do something about it.  Call your respective mayors and councillors and ask them why they are working against your interests.

Rose Calderon

Trail