Letter: Slick advertising to sell fishy deal in West Kelowna

Companies spend millions so we are snared into buying…City of West Kelowna falls into that advertising pattern.

To the editor:

The City of West Kelowna is spending $25,000 to ‘inform’ the taxpayers of all the reasons they should vote YES to borrowing $ 7.7 million to build a city hall. ($7.7 million borrowing plus $7.1 million from underfunded reserves, which has to be paid back with interest — specified by a bylaw, so yes, more borrowing).

Another merry band has set up a shopfront and spent thousands of dollars producing professional signs and information boards to present the case for doing the same thing.

It is so very obvious that both of these groups are really desperate to get the taxpayer to vote for this project. At the farmer’s market, city employees were manning the city booth on a Saturday. You can’t even get hold of a bylaw officer on a Saturday.

Something is really fishy here. Why are they so determined?

What happens if we vote NO?

According to the West Kelowna City Hall press release and on City of West Kelowna website:

“In 2014 Council directed staff to finalize the construction contract between the City of West Kelowna and the Strategic Development Group, formally incorporated as Strategic BC Investment Inc.’

Has the city finalized the construction contract before receiving the taxpayer’s mandate? If it has, is that legal?

Stagnant wages, higher prices and low interest rates have helped fuel a consumer borrowing binge in Canada.  Instead of having to save to buy a large purchase, the credit card and other loans mean that we can have our heart’s desire now.  The only way to ‘keep up with the Joneses’ has been to borrow.

Taking on too much debt has left many families house-rich and cash-poor, living paycheque to paycheque, juggling money to try and make ends meet. Paying off that credit card is impossible because the interest rates [charged by the credit card companies] are so high.

Borrowing this huge amount of money will end up costing West Kelowna taxpayers — you and me — $19.5 million.

But still, companies spend millions and millions advertising their products so that we are snared into buying that dream. And we fall for it.

I believe that the actions of the City of West Kelowna fall into that advertising pattern.

Something is really worrying about this whole civic centre public-private-partnership project. I don’t think that the city will benefit from it. Thankfully, I am sure the taxpayers of West Kelowna are too smart to fall for this fishy smelling deal.

Your vote counts, but only if you get out and vote. Vote NO to massive borrowing!.

Connie Hodgkinson, West Kelowna