To the editor:
Response to A Word from the Mayor of West Kelowna (Kelowna Capital News, Sept 15.)
Firstly, in my opinion, the mayor and council should have remained neutral and not used their positions to promote the proponent side of this referendum. By not remaining neutral, the mayor and council are failing to represent, disrespecting and ignoring the 4,000 citizen taxpayers that have already voted no during the alternative approval process. The mayor and council are not fairly representing all taxpayers.
Also, spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayers’ dollars to many private business consultants (some of whom were wrong) over a three year period and then selecting this small piece of land at a taxpayer cost of $655,000 to assist a private developer with his development is not smart business practice. Will the mayor and council do this for every developer who is having problems developing their land?
Our city council are taking more $7.1 million of our underfunded reserves to help pay for this without any plan of paying these funds back which is against their own bylaws. With the reserves being well below minimum requirements, this is defiantly not the time to risk this development.
The mayor and council keep stating that this city hall development will not cost any increase in taxation as it has already been built into the 10-year, 3 per cent tax increase. The loan is for 20 years so where is the plan for that? Also, if the city loses the referendum, can the taxpayers get the budgeted amount dedicated to sidewalks, safety concerns, or other such projects and get those projects done faster?
The mayor keeps talking about Interior Health and two condo complexes being a part of a new civic centre. This is not a civic centre. Perhaps the mayor and council should look up the definition of a civic centre in the dictionary. Please stop the rhetoric and misleading information you are attempting to force upon the public. The public is smarter than you think and can see through this misleading rhetoric.
The mayor says that we have to build on this land because we have very little land that is acceptable. The 11 acres on Bartley that the city owns is unacceptable to the office staff. However, the city will be moving the operations and works departments to this location. Is this acceptable for the blue collar workers and not acceptable for our mayor and council?
The mayor and council never speak about the real cost of the proposed city hall and sidestep all questions regarding the cost and go back to the borrowing amount alone. The taxpayers all know that the building is going to cost taxpayers in excess of $19 million. Why not just admit the price. Why are you trying to hide the total cost?
One last note for the taxpayers to consider: Look at the whole picture and make your decision, not on how the politicians are trying to persuade you to vote.
Bill Anstead, West Kelowna