To the editor:
I could not believe it when I read the paper this morning and saw that the District of Lake Country was trying to sell of a strip of land at Gable Beach which is a public access to Okanagan Lake. The reason they gave for this was to pay off the money the City of Kelowna lent them to pay for the rail trail. Thank god the people in that area are coming forward to protest this sale. This is not fair to the people of Lake Country because it was never mentioned when we had the referendum to buy the rail trail. When the referendum was going on Mayor Baker was going around telling everyone that we could afford to buy the rail trail and also fix up the infrastructure in Lake Country. I guess he meant we would just sell of some of our public beaches to pay for the rail trail.
Myself and some other Lake Country citizens had some very big concerns at the time when buying the old CN Rail line to make the rail trail as to whether we could afford it or not. We even had a meeting with Baker and some district staff at which time Baker told us that over the next three years there would be many new businesses coming to Lake Country and they would use the tax money from them to pay for the rail trail. The concerns we had are now starting to come true. At the council meeting both Coun. Ireland and Scarrow pointed out the district would have no choice but to sell Gable Road property in order to pay back the money the City of Kelowna lent us for the rail trail. Scarrow also pointed out that the district had made a promise that they would not use anymore tax dollars for the rail trail. So I guess the question is how will they pay this money back?
I would also like to point out that the Day family in Oyama are in the process of suing the District of Lake Country for expropriating their land for the rail trail. This could end up costing the district a few more million and how will they pay for that. Maybe sell off more public beach property?
Another question I have is does anyone know how much of your taxes that you pay each year go towards paying off the other money the district borrowed to buy the old CN rail corridor for the Rail Trail? I inquired last year and nobody at the district office could tell me. I think the amount should be on a separate line on your tax notice just like the road tax, sewer tax, water tax and school tax. Each one will be different because it is based on the assessed value of your property and we all know how those assessments have gone up since the purchase of the rail line.
Ron Volk, Lake Country