To the editor:
Re: Guy Bissonette letter, Hikers Should Buy Land, Charge for Its Use, Oct. 15 Capital News.
I read with great interest your letter to the editor regarding the proposed purchase of the CN southern branch line between Lumby Junction (Coldstream) and Kelowna (49.5 km).
I thought you raised some very common concerns and your suggestion of a referendum is likely shared by others in the community. Although I believe referendums can be a valuable gauge in accessing public opinion, the sad fact is that it seems very many voters do not take the time to research what are truly the benefits or the pitfalls of any given proposal—especially when there is a possible tax increase involved.
There is no doubt that raising taxes for any reason is not popular, however, it is also important to look at what benefits the project may have such as bringing much needed income into the area to offset any tax increase or even benefit taxpayers in the long run.
There has been a rather comprehensive study done by Westcoast CED Consulting Ltd. (Vernon) on the economic effects of purchasing the CN branch line. It is titled the Okanagan Rail Trail Impact Assessment Report. It is available online at http://www.okanaganrailtrail.ca [or type in: http://tinyurl.com/n3zxpot]. It is a lengthy read but as you seem to be very interested in the project and aren’t afraid to state your opinion I think this document may give you (and others who have similar concerns) some pause for thought before we follow your last suggestion to vote the whole city council out of office.
Who knows, city council might have gotten this one right.