Letter: Get PAC built with vision, fundraising — not taxes

Editor:

The latest vision for a performing arts centre in Kamloops would be nice to have, the design is much nicer from the outside, it lacks a parkade however, but appears to offer some parking, and the cost is less.

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If the city pursues this vision, they ought to be very mindful of attempting to place extra tax burden on property owners as a means to get this project built.

I believe the last proposal failed not only because of the overall cost, but also because of the “elephant in the room,” which was the inclusion of a two percent property tax increase on top of already annual tax increases and of course, the usual corresponding convenient arguments and justifications.

To date, Kamloops councils and city administration have displayed an insatiable thirst for yearly property tax increases, usually on either side of two per cent.

In short, they appear to be trying to creep taxes up slowly over years, to meet whatever goals they have.

It’s no wonder taxpayers get their backs up when extra taxation for projects like this is foisted upon them.

In my view, our governing fathers locally have failed to make the necessary hard choices so that these yearly, unsustainable tax increases could become less frequent.

Indeed, it appears this city has become addicted to yearly tax increases to the point they think this is normal.

It has been noted often that many municipalities are out-spending their available financial resources and I believe Kamloops is one of these municipalities.

If this performing arts centre is pursued, I think it would help the cause to get it built, if the groups and individuals who support it would put a fundraising mechanism in place first, to more seriously pursue further financial assistance through other donations.

They need to display that they are also making strong effort to fund this project and not just look for public money.

Kamloops and the surrounding area has already proven itself to be very generous when it comes to fundraising.

There are a lot of professional groups, corporate and business groups and capable citizens that are interested in this venue, who would probably get on board, if they also could be assured that their donations would be used solely toward getting this project built.

The Fawcetts have been very generous to our city’s needs and should be applauded, but I don’t think they should be viewed as the only ones who could help fund this venue.

There is one taxpayer, and that’s us, so we should have a say in where that money goes and how it gets used.

Therefore, before any public money gets used for a project such as this, that is nice to have, but not necessarily essential, the public ought to be consulted.

Think about it and respect the ability of those taxpayers in our city who may be struggling to pay.

Our elected and paid officials are there to work for the people, not the other way around.

Currently, they appear to be attempting to build a vision of our city but forget they are doing it on our dime, largely.

Bob Wren
Kamloops

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