After the last Council meeting on the 2nd of March, I was stuck by some thoughts and feelings that I needed to let settle before making them public. It is hard doing things that you know will upset people; I have voted in favour of a duplex that some neighbours did not want but i am a believer in densification so I voted according to my principles. It is hard knowing that you made a conscious decision to do something that will have a direct negative effect on another person’s life, contrary to their wishes. Making these decisions has really got me thinking about the current position I hold and the weight of my responsibility for this community. I am thrilled to be sitting in this chair and engaging in such important conversations and decisions, but I feel we need to broaden the discussion.
Recently we received a presentation from the Comox Valley Regional District and Councillor Frisch asked how our sewers are handling the flow, and how close we are to the maximum capacity. It turns out that we will be needing to upgrade it soon! The city of Courtenay turns 100 this year, and from what I am gathering we need to upgrade all of our infrastructure. The roads are getting potholes, the sewers are getting full, our pump stations are failing, the bridge is being criticized and our water source is under stress. SO the question I have for everyone is what do you want to do about it? Are smooth roads more important than clean drinking water? If you had to pick between functioning sewer systems or lower property tax which would it be?
I feel that our whole community needs to have a broad discussion about what we want for our future. Talk with your friends and family and butcher and baker about what we truly value and what we are willing to exchange for it. There are six Councillors and a Mayor who are sitting at a table and dealing with issue after issue and the common denominator is that…. There is no money!!! The provincial and Federal governments are paying for less and less services and that burden is being downloaded to the local government. So what is the plan? Just keep raising property taxes until nobody can afford to live here? Cut public transport services and shut down the LINC and the CRA?
I am at this table to represent the people of Courtenay. It has its challenges and its rewards, but I can’t speak on behalf of us if I can’t hear your voice regarding the long term plans for our City. What do we value and what are we willing to pay for it?