Gift that keeps on taking

I would like to suggest that the infrastructure deficit will be one of the main election issues.

Gift that keeps on taking

Election time is upon us and much is at stake.

I would like to suggest that the infrastructure deficit will be one of the main issues.

Maple Ridge Finance Manager Paul Gill tried to warn us earlier this year, in an article, that,  “For every ‘burb built, Maple Ridge pays.”

I added my two cents in, that we need to stop suburban sprawl.

Other communities have done the math and realized they can save millions of dollars and significantly reduce their infrastructure deficit by growing smarter.

Why is Maple Ridge council still not talking about this?

Is it because their constituents are still not concerned?

When a new subdivision is built, the developer constructs the roads and sewer and water lines – as well, pays development cost charges to the city for some necessary upgrades to surrounding infrastructure.

DCCs are provincially legislated and can only be used for things like roads, water, sewer, drainage and parks, but not for maintenance of the infrastructure or for things like a new fire hall or added police services and community halls.

RCMP and fire services together make up a 40 per cent of all municipal expenses.

When we approve more, development and another fire hall is needed, we all pay for that. The more spread out and disconnected the development patterns, the more these services cost per household.

About 80 per cent of the cost of infrastructure is in the operational budget. In other words, all taxpayers pay for about 80 per cent of the cost of the infrastructure over its lifetime.

It’s nice that we get this gift from the developer, but it’s a gift that keeps on taking, from all of us. So it’s essential that the long-term cost of any development application is carefully considered.

Right now, the infrastructure items that appear on the municipal books as “assets” are valued at more than $1.5 billion.

The maintenance cost, as estimated in 2006, when we had about $1.3 billion worth of infrastructure, was about $30 million per year.

Are we actually putting aside that money to maintain these assets?

No. We have only been spending roughly one tenth of that.

However, since 2008, a pne per cent annual cumulative tax increase is being set aside to start dealing with this infrastructure deficit.

If we keep raising our property taxes in this manner, by 2031 we should have cut our infrastructure deficit in half.

Are taxpayers going to tolerate these cumulative annual increases for the next 20-plus years, and are the increases even keeping up with the infrastructure added during that time?

Under pressure from taxpayers, council already reduced the one per cent increase by half last year and we’ll continue to pay a reduced increase over the next few years.

If we don’t put enough money aside to pay for maintenance and eventual replacement, the roads start to crumble.

Pay now or pay much more later.

We really need to look at how and where we build in order to control the cost.

Sprawl is costly.

 

– Jackie Chow is a member of the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows chapter of HUB.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rich Goulet receives a volunteer award from then Prime Minister Stephen Harper. (Contributed)
Petition for Rich Goulet gymnasium keeps growing

More than 4,200 seek honour for Pitt Meadows basketball coach

A drawing of the proposed Harris Road overpass in Pitt Meadows.
Pitt Meadows residents invited to road and rail project updates

Results of noise and vibration study will be made public

Amiri is currently working as a parliamentary intern. (Christian Diotte - Special to The News)
Maple Ridge woman earns scholarship to study law in Montreal

Somaya Amiri, 23, awarded McCall MacBain scholarship at McGill University

Bat Packs are the newest addition to the FVRL Playground, and have everything you need to learn more about bats, and track them in your neighbourhood. (FVRL image)
Bat Packs at Fraser Valley libraries come with echometer to track bats

Packs are the newest part of the FVRL Playground inventory

Online guide expected to make applying for building permits easier. (The News files)
City of Maple Ridge launches new building permit application tool

Users can print or save their results for easy access

Demonstrators at the legislature on April 14 called on the province to decriminalize drug possession and provide widespread access to regulated safe supply across B.C. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
Rally calls for decriminalization, safe supply on 5th anniversary of overdose emergency declaration

From 2016 to the end of February, 7,072 British Columbians died due to overdose

Surrey RCMP are seeking the public's help to locate three puppies stolen from a South Surrey home on April 10. (Surrey RCMP photos)
UPDATE: 1 of 3 puppies stolen from South Surrey returned to owner

American Bulldog puppy recovered after being sold at Mission car show

Two women walk past ‘The Meeting’ sculptures in White Rock’s Miramar Plaza Wednesday afternoon. (Aaron Hinks photo)
New public art in White Rock faces criticism as the ‘two Michaels’ remain in China’s custody

‘I would encourage people to go out and enjoy it’ said Vancouver Biennale founder

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Government of Canada)
Liberal MP caught stark naked during House of Commons video conference

William Amos, in Quebec, appeared on the screens of his fellow members of Parliament completely naked

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Feb. 1, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps to 1,168 Wednesday, nearly 400 in hospital

Now 120 coronavirus patients in intensive care, six more deaths

Moss covered branches are seen in the Avatar Old Growth Forest near Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island, B.C. Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. blockades aimed at protecting old-growth forests reveal First Nation split

Two Pacheedaht chiefs say they’re ‘concerned about the increasing polarization over forestry activities’ in the territory

Everett Cummings in a tribute video posted to dignitymemorial.com.
Mechanic’s death at Fraser Surrey Docks leads to $200K fine for company, union says

Photos of rally outside Surrey court posted on ILWU’s ‘Kill A Worker Go To Jail’ Facebook page

Most Read