To the editor:
I was pleased to attend the Rail Trail information meeting last week at Creekside Theatre in Lake Country. Good information was provided and legitimate concerns were raised and addressed.
However, I have trouble understanding those who think we should not spend tax money for parks and recreation facilities such as the trail, because our roads need work or because we already have municipal debt. What a pathetic town we would be living in, if in earlier times, voters had voted “no” in previous referendums, or if past councils had chosen to fix the roads rather than build the arena and curling rink, the seniors’ centre, the community complex and Creekside Theatre, Beasley Park, Swalwell Park, etc.
Roads needed fixing back then and will always need fixing. Paying taxes for ongoing infrastructure maintenance is the price of living in a decent community. Paying additional taxes for amenities that improve our standard of living, such as those mentioned above and the proposed lakeside rail trail, is a privilege that I look forward to, in order to continue the Lake Country tradition of building a community that is a great place to live.
Fixing existing infrastructure or acquiring new facilities such as the trail is not an “either or” decision. We need to do both and we need to recognize that we will have to pay for both.
Several people have told me they will vote no because they are mad at Lake Country and/or its council for decisions on other matters. They want to punish those currently in city hall, all of whom will move on; and I can say from experience, after they are gone, no one will remember who they were. The trail will be there forever.
Voting no will not punish existing politicians or bureaucrats; it will punish Lake Country’s current and future citizens.
If we vote yes and move forward to build this great trail, our grand children and their grand children will be using and enjoying it for years to come. If we vote no, they will be asking us why we were so cheap that we couldn’t come up with an average of $27 a year for 20 years to provide a world class trail for them to use.
A bargain at twice the price. The city of Vancouver wisely set aside Stanley Park in 1888 when its population was little more than 1,000; San Diego set aside Balboa Park when its population was only 1,500. And you can bet the roads were in poor condition back then. Surely we are wise enough to secure this trail corridor now so we can get on with turning it into the fabulous asset it will be.
Contrary to what some are saying, the District of Lake Country does not currently have excessive debt, nor will the rail trail boost it significantly.
As former Lake Country councillor Tim Witty used to say, buying long-term assets through borrowing not only ensures that the public can start enjoying those assets now, but it ensures that the cost will be spread amongst the people who will use those assets over the life of those assets.
This argument makes especially good sense at this time, when the municipality can borrow money as such low interest rates.
Those of us who will vote yes can see the future benefit of the rail trail, and many of us are willing and able to meet the challenge of building and maintaining it. Vote yes; do it for your grandchildren.