Speak up in AAP on new RCMP detachment
As a property taxpayer in North Cowichan, I have great concerns about the way the municipality is attempting to fast-track the approval for loading an additional $48 million of debt onto property taxpayers within the region for a new RCMP building that it wants to build at the corner of Drinkwater Road and Ford Road in Duncan.
I suspect few taxpayers have read the small print on the municipality’s recent flyer, and many will not even have seen it. If fewer than 10 per cent actually fill out the form on the flyer and submit it to say, “No” to such a grand building, by 4 p.m. on July 14, the municipality will take that as a “Yes!”
No alternatives are provided for discussion. The flyer states that the building “will bring Forensic Identification Services and South Island Traffic Services under the same roof with the North Cowichan/Duncan Detachment and Indigenous Policing forces.” According to the municipality, the cost of borrowing for the building will necessitate “about a 4% tax increase” or $71 per year to the average homeowner (assuming no cost overruns presumably).
While I believe our police do need our support, is such a grand building affordable in an area with such a small tax base? The method of gaining approval by the municipality is worrying — rather analogous to Amazon sending you a notice that if it doesn’t hear from you it will assume you want a luxurious new couch and will send it in the mail and bill you for it — no action is required on your part! Wouldn’t some further information and discussion be appropriate?
There is no explanation in the flyer of why the municipality must borrow the $48 million, though the RCMP will pay back 60 per cent. Would the RCMP also cover any cost overruns and extra interest charges, or would that be loaded onto taxpayers? How much interest are we already paying on existing loans? Are there other sources of funding for the 40 per cent above the RCMP contribution? It seems that more and more taxes are being passed down from federal government to provincial, and then to municipal taxpayers.
Finally, what specific benefits will we actually see for this new building here in Chemainus or in Crofton. If anyone else thinks that more questions need to be answered before our municipality adds $48 million onto our debt, be sure to speak up and respond by filling in the form. If you didn’t get a flyer in the mail, please go onto the North Cowichan website to respond, or it will be assumed that you are in favor or have no questions.