The survey comprises 15 pages and explains the features and costs of all the projects

The survey comprises 15 pages and explains the features and costs of all the projects

Letters: ‘Spin city’ on Maple Ridge rec facilities

City is not being honest or clear about real costs of new pool, rinks

Editor, The News:

Re: Mail-in survey on rec projects (The News, Jan. 25)

If the City of Maple Ridge is serious about informing the public about the new $200 million community facilities program, it should stop trying to obfuscate the real cost to the average taxpayer behind their deceptive $30-per-year message.

In fact, the average cost to each homeowner is going to be around $150 per year over nine years.

Yes, it will be $30 in the first year, but each year it goes up by $30.

So, in Year 2 it will be up to $60, Year 3 up to $90  and so on, until, by Year 9, each homeowner will be paying an additional $270, for a total of $1,350 over the nine years.

That’s five times the $30 a year spin this council is trying to put on the true cost, and represents an extra 14 cent property tax increase, on top of regular annual increases at the end of the nine years.

All this is predicated on the original cost estimates, so if, as is typical, costs balloon dramatically, there is every chance that taxpayers will be on the hook for much more.

Yes, Maple Ridge needs more community facilities, and, yes, taxpayers will need to fund them.

But why does the city feel the need to hide the true costs behind a wall of half-truths?

Despite the platitudes about community involvement, there appears to be nothing regarding total costs (annual or overall) of the program on the city’s community facilities conversation web page.

How are residents able to make sensible comment without this crucial information?

‘Buy-in today, we’ll tell you the price later.’

If it’s informed consent the city is looking for, this is not the way to get it.

Council needs to tell it like it is: the average taxpayer will pay around $150 a year averaged over the next nine years – more if costs increase.

To many this will be an acceptable price to pay, and that’s fine.

Ultimately, it is time council fronted up to taxpayers about the real costs of this wish list.

Let the community render its verdict on the clear facts, rather than some cleverly worded spin designed to confuse and entangle the issue.

Gavin Roache

Maple Ridge