So our municipal election looms on the horizon. Perhaps people need a recap of the work that's been done in the past six years to help them make an informed decision.
Too often, people's memories are short and they often develop a “what-have-you-done-for-me-lately” attitude. We saw decisions on restructuring management in the Civic Centre and some staffing reductions (although there still may be some work to do here, yet). We saw the airport transferred to privatization, provincial and federal reductions in transfer grants, wage subsidies, and services. There were more regulations and restrictions to follow, and pay equity legislation was finally implemented (a job the previous council, including Mr. Bedard, seemed determined not to do).
We also saw the removal of the municipal transit system, and, it is on this issue that I wish to comment on.
Now, I consider myself to be an informed taxpayer and I try to keep abreast of the changing times. But a lot of people don't have the time to search out all the facts on an issue, and are not getting the full story in some cases (even though the press, too, covers the story).
I should firstly clarify here that I am not opposed to having a bus system but I would rather see one that was better laid out for everyone's usage. Having served a term on council (1992-94), I can tell you that we first started looking at changing or eliminating the bus system at least five years ago. We studied ridership at various times, we reviewed fares and fare increases. We followed the new provincial and federal regulations and alterations to our buses, and saw reductions in the transfers from them.
I personally considered the bus system to be critically underused and the routes poorly planned. If I remember my figures correctly, the town (and each taxpaying citizen) lost close to $90,000 each year towards the end. I think we let it go on for far too long to waste that kind of money.
From what I can see and have heard, the existing compromised system has been going well and seems to suit the needs of the people who use it. Don't forget—winter's coming; and when was the last time the bus dropped you off at your doorstep with your groceries? And for the opposers of the cut—the handi-transit system is still in place so any handicapped users have not been put out.
Come on, guys; this isn't the wasteful ’80s any more. There are no surpluses and the funds are drying up. All we have is downloading, existing tax bases, more responsibility for our council, and more cutbacks.
When it comes down to electing a mayor in November, I know that Glenn Witherspoon at least has all the information available to him—and the necessary background—do make a decent decision to look after my money a little more responsibly.
P.S. Oh, and remember that taxation review several years ago that updated us to 1992 values? That should help us during this “downloading.” Other communities will not be quite so fortunate. Hmmm, you mean someone at the Civic Centre actually had foresight in getting this done? They certainly did.