Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Looking for Allies for Prince Rupert's taxation cap fight with the Province

Last week,  while speaking to the theme of irritants between the City of Prince Rupert and the Province, Councillor Joy Thorkelson suggested that local residents might wish to get in touch with the local MLA and the Province's Finance Minister.

A letter writing project that she suggested could offer up some comments of support for the City's cause, particularly when it comes to taking on current limitations on taxation on port related lands in the region.

And while residents give some thought to the idea of a more personal approach on behalf of the city. Council members and Mayor Brain may want to perhaps look to writing some letters, or making some calls of their own. Seeking to build their own larger alliance of municipalities when it comes to concerns with provincial issues.

One place that City Council may want to approach when it comes to looking for similar interests is on Vancouver Island.

A story is percolating in Nanaimo at the moment, one that might offer up a chance for Prince Rupert politicians to seek out some common ground with elected officials in that community. As Nanaimo officials try to come to terms with issues related to some local dams in the Vancouver island city.

Nanaimo News Bulletin -- Mayor requests meeting with province over Colliery dams
Nanaimo Daily News -- Dams issue before Council Monday

Photo of local dam from  the City of
Prince Rupert Annual Report

And while the Nanaimo concerns are not quite the same as the current infrastructure issues facing
Prince Rupert, the commentary from taxpayers over increasing tax loads and how to address the issues related to failing infrastructure, may be an area of mutual interest for the two communities.

Nanaimo, like Prince Rupert is a Port city, with an industrial base and we imagine some of the same issues to deal with when it comes to taxation caps and the need to access revenue for infrastructure concerns.

There may be some things to learn from the Island city as to how they are managing their infrastructure situation and to learn if they have the same problems that Prince Rupert appears to have in getting their message across to the province.

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice might wish to join in on the review as well, starting with a visit to the Legislature offices of Nanaimo area MLA's Leonard Krog and Doug Routley to determine if there's a joint approach to be had there.

Going further, she could then seek out other NDP MLA's to help make the taxation cap issue more than just an isolated item from the North Coast.

At last week's public forum Councillor Thorkelson observed that there is a need to show the province that the issue is more than as she put it, just the "whiners on Prince Rupert Council".

One way to achieve that goal, might be to engage other communities in that fight.

If nothing else, a little bit of communication between communities may find out if there are some similar issues in other municipalities outside of the Northwest.

Areas of the province with shared interests, that might help Prince Rupert officials when it comes to getting their taxation concerns a higher profile at the Legislature.

For more items related to City Council issues see our archive page here.

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