Disturbed about transit proposal

Jacqueline Estabrooks thinks Ladysmith council should seek input from taxpayers regarding the desire for public transportation.


Editor’s Note: This is a letter sent to the mayor and council and copied to the Chronicle.

Re: Transport proposal

I am very disturbed about the above for the following reasons:

1. This was raised several years ago at a meeting of the Ladysmith Taxpayers Association and was firmly rejected. There was no guarantee of ridership, especially to the Duncan destination. When the mayor was asked if there was to be an opt-out clause in the contract so that the taxpayers were not penalized, we were told that we would be locked into financially supporting this forever. I was aghast and pointed out that this was tantamount to signing a blank cheque, a move which no effective business would ever do. It is also immoral, as it is public money. Ours!!!

2. The next move was the purchase of the trolley, also known as the “airbus” because of the lack of riders.

It is imperative that a serious cost/benefit analysis be done on all proposed expenditures, especially major ones such as the above. We have a small tax base, and judging by the way businesses are closing downtown, it is being eroded. We cannot afford irresponsible financial decisions.

The last tax increase is difficult to swallow, especially when one considers how much of it is a result of paying for the trolley. I would like to see a full financial report on the cost of this, including capital expense, depreciation, fuel, salaries for drivers, insurance, repairs and maintenance, storage, etc.

Why not get some input from the taxpayers regarding the desire for public transportation, if any, and suggestions as to where and what type? It would probably be wise to see if they are willing to pay higher taxes for this.

Jacqueline Estabrooks