Letters to the Editor: August 27, 2014

La-la library

We keep hearing that it’s only going to cost $20/year per household in increased taxes for a new library. Well, that’s not exactly accurate, here’s why. [“Two more potential library sites undergo evaluation,” August 6]

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Council passed a motion to give $3.5 million towards a new library. They base their $20 tax increase on a 30-year loan, which, by the way, they have to get taxpayers’ consent for, via referendum. If taxpayers vote no, council can opt for a shorter term loan, five years or less, and won’t need your consent, but then the $20 theory is bust.

Of this $3.5 million loan over 30 years, the city is assuming that the regional district will kick in 30 per cent. The regional district has not yet agreed to contribute. If the regional district agrees to 30 per cent of $3.5 million to build a new library, they must have a referendum. If the referendum fails, the city will get nothing and the so-called $20 tax increase goes out the window. If the regional district referendum passes, the regional district has advised that the city won’t get one penny until after the library is built. This means, if a library is going to cost $9.5 million or any millions, then all the funding would have to be in place.

Council bases its $20 calculation on the assessed value of the average home in Powell River, which is $211,000 as of April, 2014. So, if your home’s assessed value is more than that, the $20 theory is toast.

This $20 tax calculation is based on the guesstimate budget for construction and doesn’t include geotechnical, environmental and a host of other items. Even more damning, it doesn’t include the yearly operating and maintenance costs once the library is built.

So in the world of la-la, if your assessment is $211,000, the regional district’s referendum for 30 per cent passes, the city’s referendum for $3.5 million over 30 years passes, the balance of the $9.5+ million funding is in place and it costs absolutely nothing to operate and maintain a new library, then the city’s calculation is right.

Taxpayers beware!

– Wilf Rennecke, Field Street


Sense of relief

The huge reaction to the tragic suicide of Robin Williams is interesting in its own right. [“RIP Robin Williams,” August 13]

As a three-decade health worker who has been a first responder to suicide attempts, who has lost people very dear to me through suicide, who currently cares for people who are dying, I know death is a very hard topic.

When Princess Diana died, many people said they felt free to express their sorrow, anger, fear and pure sadness over her passing, even more so than if losing a family member. All kinds of reactions occur—people deal with loss in their own way.

The Peak cartoon on the topic of William’s depression and passing gave me a great sense of relief. I felt like someone else out there got how mixed my own emotions were.

I’m grateful for that.

It has been said that if one has no sense of humour, one has no sense at all. Humour is one of humanity’s most sophisticated reactions to life’s struggles.

Thanks to The Peak for having the wisdom and integrity to give us the weekly gift of Wendy Brown’s humour as a take on current events.

– Lyla Smith, Roberts Road


Inappropriate cartoon

I am compelled to write to you to express my disgust at the publication of a very inappropriate cartoon. [“RIP Robin Williams,” August 13]

You printed a very un-funny cartoon regarding the suicide of Robin Williams.

I cannot believe that The Peak would poke fun at such a serious issue as depression and suicide.

It is not a laughing matter.

I would hope that you would issue an apology in your next publication to all the people out there, who, like me were incensed at your light-hearted approach to this tragedy.

– Holly Roy, Traff Road


Project concerns

The Quay Project public meeting was actually fraught with dissension from concerned citizens worried about the project exceeding the height limits for waterfront buildings. [“Planning department turnovers affect waterfront development,” July 9] Height restrictions were established in the city’s bylaws to protect the beauty of waterfront land. That same proposal was denied by our own city planner, a professional hired to act in the best interests of Powell River. But the city council voted to accept the application, submitted by the eight couples, anyway.

If this project goes through, it will set a precedent for high-rises along the waterfront. One of Powell River’s main attractions is the beauty of its waterfront for all to see and enjoy. A huge, high rectangular block of a building could not possibly compliment the natural beauty of our city.

If this doesn’t sit well with you, there is one more opportunity to halt this project. That is when the eight couples will apply for the variances they will need, like building higher up than the bylaws allow, and for re-zoning so they can live in the building they want. Discuss this project with your friends and neighbours to see what they think. Write or call the mayor and city council members to share your views on this project. The date the city council will meet to vote on whether they allow or deny these variances will be posted on a sign at the site. It is the vacant lot right next to the oil tanks near the ferry terminal. Attending that meeting and voicing your views in real time, before the final vote on this project, could make a real difference for Powell River, the Pearl on the Sunshine Coast.

– Lorraine Webber, Marine Avenue

Missing link

Paul Galinski’s article is seriously flawed by the omission of the full reasons the Gillies Bay Improvement District (GBID) turned down a proposal to amalgamate the two volunteer fire departments under the regional district umbrella. [“Texada firefighters remain apart,” August 20]

Initially, the idea was looked upon favourably but on sober second thought the GBID board decided that, in spite of pressure being applied by the regional district to comply quickly, further research was needed before committing to it. In addition to performing their due diligence, the board also consulted the Gillies Bay ratepayers about whether or not they wanted amalgamation under the regional district to go forward. A survey was sent to all Gilles Bay ratepayers and the return on the question was a resounding NO!

No amount of “massaging” the trustees (what an offensive term!) is going to change the board’s mind. It was the ratepayers themselves who made the ultimate decision to retain local governance of one of the last island public assets actually owned by Texadans.

– Phyllis Mason, Gillies Bay


Field of dreams

We’ve got money to burn or do we?

[“Enthusiasts provide design feature ideas,” “City requires more cash flow,” “Pedal up,” August 20]

Apparently the city has a money shortfall and at the same time a extensive inventory of underutilized facilities (review just completed). But the city apparently has half a million dollars ($550,000) to spend on yet more facilities?

What is more shocking, is that on Wednesday, August 6, via email, I asked a member of council and staff for the expected usage of this new facility—the type that one would expect in a justification report.

The member of council replied that he is not aware of the expected usage and referred me to staff, who also was not aware but looking into it.

If I hear one more “if you build it, they will come”

comment, I will scream. As I recall there was no ferry in the movie “Field of Dreams.” We cannot continue to build (increase facilities) our way out of our negative growth period.

Please, would someone with a financial background and common sense, please, run for council.

– Paul McMahon, Invermere Court


Hill headaches

Veronica Bourassa, in her letter, raises the point of pushing a wheelchair up Alberni Street from the proposed library at the old arena site. [“Library economics,” August 20] Would the library hire wheelchair pushers? Would a wheelchair be able to stop, coming down Alberni Street? Would library insurance cover them?

Maybe a San Francisco-style cable system to haul wheelchairs up and down the hill is needed?

Has any of the arena site supporters walked or ridden their bicycles up the hill with a bag or two of books? Joyce Avenue is a long way away! What about scooter riders? Get to Joyce and Alberni with low batteries after climbing the hill and there is no recharge station there, or anywhere else. And what about the carbon footprint with the extra traffic pulling up the hill?

I think that maybe the new library should be somewhere along the flatlands of Joyce Avenue where everyone can access and leave it.

– Bill Ireland, Joyce Avenue


Communityn focal point

One of my first priorities when moving to Powell River last year was to get a library card. When I lived on Bowen Island for many years, the library was a community focal point, a place where our children

fostered their love of reading, where we ran into friends and made new ones, and where we were introduced to books, films and music we might not have come across otherwise.

The Powell River library has given me the same sense of community. It sources multiple copies for our book club, is a resource for books for my research and reading pleasure, and is a place where I am getting to know more people. But it is too small

of a facility for such a large community. [“Two more potential library sites undergo evaluation,” August 6]

I support the expansion of the library so it can have meeting rooms, reading space, more computers for the use of those in need of access and an expanded collection of books. The proposed site at Willingdon Beach makes sense. How great to have a library by

the ocean, to have kids being able to play outside and also get books to read, to be in an area close to shops and cafes, so going to the library is integrated with daily activities. Having the library in close proximity to Sea Fair, Blackberry Festival and other community events means it can play a part in these celebrations.

Most importantly, the library is a hub of our community and needs more space to expand and continue to do what it does so well.

– Peg Campbell, Mariners Way

Copyright © Powell River Peak

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