Be careful with our tax dollars
Thursday, Nov 17, 2016 06:00 am
As our municipal governments swing into action as far as setting their 2017 budgets go, the topic of money is everywhere, it seems.
Being that affordability locally, along with the never ending housing crunch and general cost of living concerns, are top of mind with many Bow Valley citizens – always – we’ll give a tip of our collective hats to the Town of Banff for working out a deal with Canadian Rockies Public Schools to increase the size of the Banff Elementary School gym.
With the privately owned Banff Centre altering its Sally Borden Building and reducing available gym space, it seems to make sense for the town to kick in funds for a bigger gym; and swing a deal to use it evenings and weekends when the school isn’t.
The fact the aging BES is being replaced with a new structure provides the ideal timeframe and setting for the town to get involved.
Overall, and we’ve thought this about past theatre projects in Canmore, it seems deals with schools should be a more frequent occurrence. In the case of Canmore Collegiate High School, for example, when one plunks one’s butt down in a comfy seat in the theatre, featuring stacked seating for quality stage views from any location, a sound booth and an overhead catwalk full of lighting, you can’t help but wonder why it’s not in use more often for community events.
Indeed, with $10 million in repairs now needed for Canmore arenas, you can’t help but wonder if a new ice sheet shouldn’t have been penciled into the design of Lawrence Grassi School when it was rebuilt.
Much like transit can be held up as a shining example of inter-municipal cooperation, more deals between our schools and our towns would make sense.
Now, we realize that the $960,000 the Town will spend are taxpayer dollars, but if, once completed, the Town can make use of the gym for extra evening and weekend programming (indoor soccer comes to mind, as do further community volleyball and basketball leagues, maybe continental handball), it would be worthwhile. With some creative thinking, who knows what uses might be found for increased gym space?
Speaking of arena repairs, $10.3 million for repairs to Canmore’s rec centre is a pile of money. We wonder how that $10.3 million stacks up against building a new rec centre that might have a longer expected lifespan?
On the other hand, $10 million will buy a lot of binder twine, duct tape and bubble gum to shore up the aging structures as they exist.
In the end, everyone wants top-grade facilities, but not everyone wants a continual creep in their property taxes to pay for them.
As always, we urge caution from our municipal governments when it comes to spending our hard-earned dollars. Affordability – housing, food, recreation – is something that troubles this valley and care must be taken to use taxpayer dollars as judiciously as possible.
With budget talks ongoing, we’re certain much more spending will be highlighted as necessary, to one degree or another, but there’s only so far citizens’ dollars can be stretched.