Two civic events in June gave me some food for thought.
First were the public-information meetings on some of White Rock’s more pressing problems, and then, at the end of the month, there was the unpleasant ritual of paying our property tax.
I couldn’t help but conclude from these two juxtaposed events that we are paying an unnecessarily large premium in taxes to live in this small, independently governed ‘City by the Sea’.
It was revealed in the first public meeting that we could easily be connected to Metro Vancouver’s world-class water filtration system, as is the case with nearby Surrey.
However, before we are entitled to connect to Metro’s water, we must first spend a lot of money to acquire ownership of our drinking-water resource from Epcor.
And if we choose to continue using our newly acquired drinking-water system, we will be spending more money to bring it up to proper standards.
The second public meeting revealed that the identical consulting firm that prepared a Biodiversity Conservation Strategy for the City of Surrey two years ago is now being paid by White Rock to fill in the information that’s missing for our area.
It would have been much more efficient and less costly to include our small environmental area with the original Surrey study.
The third public meeting discussed the organic waste transfer facility, which operates on a so-called temporary basis in the city’s works yard, in the middle of a residential area.
Running an organic waste management operation in the middle of a residential area without a comprehensive plan approved by regulatory authorities or the public does not seem to be a very prudent management practice.
Again, Surrey has a properly approved and located waste-transfer station and a soon-to-be-built, ultra-modern, organic waste biofuel facility.
When you begin to compare the modern service opportunities and lower property taxes afforded by nearby Surrey, the redundancy, inefficiency and excessive costs associated with our quaint and independent system of municipal governance becomes glaringly obvious.
Many small municipalities throughout Canada recognized decades ago the economic and financial efficiencies to be gained with municipal amalgamation.
I really think it’s time to revisit the idea of merging with Surrey.
However, don’t expect city hall to push this idea. It will be up to the residents of White Rock to make it happen.
Ron Kistritz, White Rock