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Mailbox: On the Bowen Island financial plan...

Reader seeking shift in fundraising focus
Letter pen

Dear Alex,

I read with great interest the letter in the April 28 Undercurrent by Tarrnie Williams headlined, “Let’s Not Build Bigger now” on page A5.

With interest rates currently soaring, building materials at an all-time high with no end in sight in the short-term, and many Bowen merchants still struggling with the weak sales volumes over the past two years due to Covid, I wholeheartedly endorse Mr. Williams' thesis.

Stopping construction on the community centre (which is not fully funded yet anyway) would not be a catastrophe, because it was under-budgeted drastically and we are filling a shortfall in fundraising via taxation... and if we waited a couple of years to restore business volumes, people’s confidence, seek additional fundraising for the community centre and wait for inflation to subside [and most likely retract], everyone would be better off.

Municipal councillors that support this idea should be lauded, not criticized as they are trying to balance a variety of competing “needs”.

I really don’t see a large downside in delaying the community centre project until we can afford it, and therefore allowing council to reduce the large per cent increase in property taxes that will affect both residential and commercial occupants. 

Now is the time to be a bit cautious in my view and live within our means... not just SPEND and therefore be forced to fall back on significantly increasing our property taxes that most people, especially small businesses, cannot afford.

Also the health centre has already raised 3/4 of their goal of $8 million, and in my opinion that is a higher priority than the community centre at this time. Bowen Island has such a small financial base to raise funds from, hence to have the two major projects competing with each other for fundraising at this point is going to hurt both projects.

If the community centre project was delayed for 18 months, this would allow the health centre to continue their fundraising efforts to move forward to success. After that, the community centre project could later reduce its dependence on all property tax payers to fund any shortfalls in their project. Likely the escalating costs, re-inflation will reduce somewhat over time, due to a slowing economy that most economists are predicting.

Best regards,

- Ken Hallat