Letter: New city hall will burden West Kelowna taxpayers

West Kelowna has a $54-million water infrastructure cost coming our way sometime in 2017 that will triple…water bill for 20 years.

To the editor:

Re: New West Kelowna city hall dream project.

West Kelowna taxpayers will have the opportunity on September 17th to practice their democratic right to tell the mayor, city council and their new big business developer partners that they do not want to put the city into more debt by borrowing, for the construction of a new city hall. Not now, not in this location, not by creating debt, and not with this so called developer partnership. The taxpayers will have the opportunity to tell the mayor and city council to take a step back and reconsider their decision by voting NO.

It was a poor decision by the mayor and city council to try to put this project through without going to a referendum from the beginning. They have created a situation that is costly and has created great concern by all taxpayers.

The mayor and city council have spent $25,000 of taxpayers’ money to hire a media consultant to promote their version of the project. The YES campaign, which is mainly made up of business people who may benefit from the taxpayers building the city hall, has spent many dollars in advertising, renting office space, and coordinating their focus with the city focus.

The NO side of this process has nothing to gain except trying to stop the debt while asking the city to be responsible and build a less costly city hall on their own city property (perhaps next to the RCMP building and combine it with a museum and tourist bureau), with their own construction manager where they can control the costs without giving away profits to developers.

The NO side cannot understand why the city is pushing construction of their city hall on this land that they have to purchase. it is, of course, to the major benefit of the developer. If the developer cannot make this land viable to build upon then why would the city build here to make that happen? Is the city going to do that for other vacant land in order for developments to proceed? Of course not! So what is so important about this land when we have land available which will lessen the cost of a city hall to the taxpayers?

The NO side operates by individual taxpayer donations only and we have no ulterior motives except to protect our friends and neighbors from increased tax burden and with information the other side won’t tell them:

MFA borrowing   $7,700,000

MFA financing cost over 20 years   $2,365,606

Taking from already underfunded reserves   $7,100,000

Interest lost on reserves in the bank   $2,414,000

Total True Cost to Taxpayers  $19,579,606

Our reserves are already underfunded to ‘minimum’ levels by $17 million and the city is going to take another $7.1 million. West Kelowna has a $54-million water infrastructure cost coming our way sometime in 2017 that will triple, or in some cases quadruple, everyone’s water bill for 20 years. Is taking from the reserves for a West Kelowna city hall a good Idea at this time?

I urge all friends and neighbours to let your opinion be known and vote NO.

Bill Anstead, West Kelowna

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