Ladysmith councillors will be heading up the road to Nanaimo April 8 to 10 to participate in the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities’ Annual General Meeting. There’s certain to be many things to talk about with their colleagues from Port Hardy to Victoria over the two days, but a couple of items in particular might be top of mind.
At their March 7 meeting, after the matter was raised by Coun. Duck Paterson, Ladysmith Council asked staff to draft up a resolution asking the AVICC to lobby the provincial government to end its suspension of ‘major capital’ gaming grant funding.
Since 2008-2009 the money, which funded things like parks built by community organizations or improvements to spaces used by community organizations, has been unavailable ‘until further notice.’
Meanwhile, the 30 or so communities that host casinos – and collect the property taxes and economic spin offs they generate, too – continue to reap a bonanza that has amounted to over $1 billion since 1999, to do just about whatever they want with.
Ladysmith is right to try and get some balance into that equation.
Another resolution will be put forward by the municipality of Saanich, which is getting sick and tired of having to spend its taxpayers’ dollars removing derelict vessels from its beaches after every wind storm, because there is no federal or provincial funding available to cover the costs.
Ladysmith and North Cowichan are both among the municipalities that have a stake in that discussion, and hopefully a consensus can be reached at the AVICC convention to ask the federal government in particular to take a look at jurisdictions like Washington State, where licencing fees paid by boat owners are used to keep rusting and rotting hulks from marring their coast and threatening the kind of environmental disaster that the Viki Lyne II does in Ladysmith Harbour.