General News · 4th September 2017
On September 1st, I received a petition signed by 458 Cortes residence and property owners in support of a community hall tax and requesting that the Strathcona Regional District hold a referendum to gauge the Island’s support for the same. I have also received a few letters on the issue and I understand more are coming. I would like this to not drag on in either the community or at the Board and therefore request that all letters on the matter be addressed to the Strathcona Regional District Board and submitted to administrationstrathconard.ca by Monday, September 11.
So, what’s next?
First, at the September Regional District board meeting I will ask them to follow through on the petition’s request and initiate the referendum process so that all qualified voters can have their say.
Second, because a referendum question needs to address the specifics of the proposed tax, we will pick up where we left off this very same discussion in 2010 and I will be asking the SCCA, the WCC and the community to review whether the specifics proposed then are still what should be voted on now. The last proposed referendum question included five main elements:
1. That the tax be applied to all Cortes properties,
2. That the tax be in the form of a flat rate parcel tax (meaning every parcel of land pays the same amount) which would not exceed $85 per year,
3. That the total amount collected would not exceed $79,000 per year,
4. That the funds collected be available to the Southern Cortes Community Association and the Whaletown Community Club, and
5. That the spending of these funds be limited to *operating and maintaining community hall facilities including enlarging and improving such facilities. *‘operating’ shall be limited to core operating expenses meaning electricity, heating, garbage collection, telephone and fax, internet services, property taxes and insurance.
If you have a substantive comment on these specific elements you are welcome to contact either community hall group or me. I will also be hosting an open public discussion on these specifics in a few weeks.
Third, we should continue the Open-Space dialogue, initiated by the late John Anderson, to address the underlying issues that this tax raises in our community. I call upon you to find a host and continue this discussion. I commit to attending. If there is a referendum or not, and regardless of how it goes if there is one, these issues will continue to dog us if not addressed. I have attached here the invitation to, and results of, that Open Space dialogue from 2010 and my very brief summary thereof.
I will collect questions and publish a Q&A in a couple weeks.
Given the magnitude of events transpiring both locally and internationally I ask that we can hold this issue in perspective and treat each other kindly.
Please note that due to my alternate director’s conflict of interest on this matter given her position at Manson’s Hall, I will be exclusively handling the hall tax file. Please address all correspondence to me rather than Mary.
In gratitude for all we have,
Regional Director, Cortes Island
Comment by Walker Evans on 9th September 2017
I've talked to a lawyer who said that your petition is invalid because it uses the plural 'halls' without receiving permission from the executive of the WCC or Klahoose halls. Therefore it would be inappropriate to hold a referendum.
Thick Baloney Sandwich
Comment by Wendy L. on 7th September 2017
1) take two separate hall tax Bylaws defeated by the SRD board of directors in 2010
2) add for the last 2+ years behind closed doors meetings have been held with Noba, SCCA and WCC Execs, Yes petitioners, to discuss and plan another hall tax attempt
3) shorten the time for public input and discussions so the issue won’t ‘drag on’
4) resurrect a defeated Bylaw and a late resident’s Open Space discussions; call upon the public to find a host (Saints preferred)
5) hopefully ask - if the SCCA charity has turned a blind eye to basic fundamental democratic freedoms of expression and choice
6) and if Yes petitioners have been ‘strong arming’ Friday market vendors refusing to sign up.
7) Cram all local SRD related meetings into the same time frame- e.g. Zoning Bylaw Review, AQ Gorge ‘stake holders’, surveys, Hall Tax
Thinking about this dense sandwich - bread splitting, insides oozing spurting out dropping to the floor, toddlers nearby scrambling on all fours, watchful dogs lurking for fall-outs;
and wondering when is enough, enough.
PS - No one suggested I edit the first version. I alone removed it. Here it is.
On Labour Day I sat and read Noba’s article while I ate a delicious sandwich of fresh garden greens and a couple of slices of bologni. When I was a child my Mom sent us off to school with a lunch box of fruit, cookies and sandwiches made from a variety of inexpensive packaged meats. They were always a treat in the middle of a long school day.
Bologni can be cut into chunks and fried, is cheap and easy to prepare. Spam, ham, salami are tasty too. Don’t forget the popular mortadella.
The much maligned bologni, considered a politically incorrect food these days, is said to be the origin of – baloney, or nonsense, also phony baloney.
Recipe for BALONEY sandwiches:
a) for two years hold private discussions of a hall tax with chef Anderson, sous-chefs SCCA Execs and Yes petitioners; add a dash of input from WCC Execs. Keep it all behind closed doors.
b) resurrect hall tax Bylaw 75 already defeated by the SRD board in 2010; an earlier 2010 Bylaw 55 was squashed by the SRD board.
c) shorten time for public discussions so the hall tax issue won’t ‘drag on’; don’t let it age.
d) turn up the heat, discourage opposing views of Friday market vendors not supporting Yes petition; avoid peppery public input.
e) then, cram all local meetings scheduled for this fall into the oven – Zoning Bylaw Review, AQ Gorge steak holders, various surveys, Community Forest, Hall Tax....
That night, reading Chef’s concoctions really made me savor my simple bologni sandwich. Jars of yummy canned fish and venison can wait. Winter is coming.
Comment by Ron Kroeker on 6th September 2017
A question for your collection. It is regarding two different terms used to address the elements of a potential question. Point 1 states "all properties", then point 2 uses a slightly different term "every parcel of land".
Can you now say if the proposed tax will or will not apply to water leases (docks, aquaculture tenures, etc) which are, for the purposes of property tax, treated as a "property" but would not fit the definition of "every parcel of land". If so, perhaps you could clarify that now for everyone.
If this is not clear at this point, and therefore part of the discussion we need to have, I would like some basic information. I would like to know how many water leases would be effected by the proposed tax and, if possible, a split of the main uses such as docks and aquaculture.
An idea; let's shuffle the order
Comment by Ester on 6th September 2017
Here is an idea, let's shuffle the order:
First: Community consultation
Second: Open-Space dialogue
Third: Follow through with outcome
which is it
Comment by Patricia L on 5th September 2017
address all letters to the Regional District or address all letters to Mary? You said both.
taxing apples for not being oranges
Comment by ron lund on 5th September 2017
the hall never needed property taxes to operate before. what has changed? no more gaming grants? yes the halls were lured into the addiction of gambling money to run them selves and got use to the luxury of easy money. now they communities are paying as i knew they would for these non sustainable grants. now as they halls have grown fat on the grants they find them selves failing without them. they should have never used them in the first place is my opinion. the suffering of the loosing gamblers is what was paying for community clubs and their halls.
i think property taxes are a better way of funding the halls than gaming grants but not much better.
as to don tennant s comments. no one is hiring union workers at the halls. and yes i think taxes are wasted on roads, hospitals and everything else the government does in its out dated and wasteful ways. adding more taxes to the community for the hall that is paid for and never needed tax moneys to be built or managed before begs the question. why tax now and not before?
OH Gosh! A tax increase already!!!
Comment by Jack on 5th September 2017
It looks as if the hall tax has already been more than doubled before it is even approved!
Proponents in the last week or so have quoted a figure of $35, now it is $85!!!!
OK, so a maximum of $85.....does anyone really believe it would remain less than the maximum for very long? How long would it be before $85 is not enough?
Taxes, buses, public services
Comment by Don Tennant on 5th September 2017
The esteemed Mr Lund is somehow using Greyhound's request to drop money losing routes as a way to critique how the local halls are run.
I am very familiar with the bus business as I grew up with Greyhound, and my first full time job was with Greyhound. In the olde days, pre UPS, FedEx, and other courier companies, the fuel for the coach, and the bus operators salary was paid for by the freight business. This is no longer true.
Tofino Bus likely is non union, and that gives them the ability to run buses with less overhead. It also means that driving a bus would be less of a family supporting occupation.
Bus service to remote locales should be considered a public service. Young, old, and the disabled may not have any other means of transportation. We shouldn't expect a private company to provide a public benefit for free. Greyhound is a publicly held corporation, answerable to its shareholders.
Greyhound's operating authority requires it to maintain service on all its routes, subsidizing the money losing service with the profits from the black side of the ledger.
I'm getting the impression that certain individuals on this lovely island think of all taxes as theft. I suppose they never drive on roads, use the ferry, ever visit a doctor, or use any of a myriad of taxpayer supported services. Do we really want to live in a world where the fire department wouldn't put your house fire out because you didn't subscribe to their service?
The community halls on Cortes are a public good. If you have issues with how they are managed perhaps stand for election and put things right rather than sniping at folks who are putting their time and talents to use.
taxed for disfunction
Comment by ron lund on 5th September 2017
the greyhound bus service in b.c. has deteriorated over the years and people used their service less and less. as the ridership drops greyhound bus company asks government to pay them to operate or reduce services and drop routes. they claim they need the money to cover costs. meanwhile tofino bus company has taken over dropped routes on vancouver island and have improved service and are not asking for tax payer money to operate. i think if the halls cannot pay for themselves new directors should be elected who can make the halls financially sustainable without taxing all citizens who live here, and yes renters pay property taxes too. user pay seems fair to me for a private club and its club house. i also agree if the majority wants to tax itself to pay for the halls then that is ok, but i doubt citizens will get a sustainable hall and more and more money will be asked again and again. a tax death spiral.