Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Where I Stand

My name is Sue Stroud and you already know me as someone who cares about community issues and community values.

This election is about working together because our community is at a crossroads: it can remain true to its heritage as a land of peaceful plenty, or it can quickly become just another cookie cutter cityscape.

We chose our urban containment areas with great care. Now, together, we must assess carefully any proposed development because growth is expensive, both environmentally and fiscally. I do not support building outside the urban containment areas for reasons outlined below.

Every development requires both an initial outlay for infrastructure services and an ongoing maintenance cost for those services: sidewalks, lights, sewers, water, electricity, crosswalks and more. These are the things that increase our taxes. We are told that developments increase the tax base, but the reality is that it is rare for that increase to cover the true cost of a development over time.

The country road I took to school is now a thriving industrial park. But we need to make better use of this park and build up within it rather than sprawling out from it. There are many underutilized spaces for expansion in this site.

I have seen the pressures of urbanization and the conflicts as we spotzone on the buffers that divide the residential and industrial lands from farmlands and the food security they provide us. Those buffers make good neighbours and when they are encroached on the district becomes swamped with complaints about noise and smells and smoke.

We have been characterized as a ‘go slow’ municipality by some, but slow is in fact exactly the right speed for us. We need slow roads, slow growth and slow use of our natural resources, because the slow route is the wise route. Going slowly gives us time to measure our footprint and to correct and change our path as needed.

I support Panorama because it is a full service rec centre with activities for all ages. My father uses it; I have recently booked one of the skating rinks for the BCGEU Children's Xmas Party; my nephews have played hockey and taken swimming and scuba lessons there: nearly everyone I know goes to Panorama at some point.

Panorama has served us well and is a necessary part of our community well-being. It is unfortunate that upgrading Panorama and other such structures is so expensive, but that is why we take care of such things collectively.

This election is not about 'common sense' which too often isn't very common. It is about a sense of community which we must build and nurture.

Our municipality includes old and young, First Nations and new immigrants, those with no financial concerns and those struggling to maintain their housing in the face of rising expenses. We must include everyone when we deliberate about how we will meet the financial and environmental problems we are facing and we must have a thought for those who come after because we are only stewards here "in this green and pleasant land."

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