The Burden Shifters … fters.html

Good article from the Podunkian !
While I hope all HTMF’s have read  the full article found at the above link,  I found myself  re-reading the two paragraphs I’ve quoted.  

The real financial issues mentioned in this article are not going to go away and will only be addressed if Council has the political will to come up with decisive, creative and effective solutions. Rupert has been bankrupt before and it would be a shame to see it happen again.

To prevent this, it may be time for the long suffering business and residential taxpayers in Prince Rupert to take a page from Dawson  Creek and form a ratepayers association.

I’d be curious to hear from the HTMF clan to see if there is any interest in this and if so how it should be moved ahead.

No interest here. 'Never liked taking a page out of any other municipality’s book. We made it through tough economic times in the past, we’ll do it again. It won’t be without an increase in tax.

Death, taxes and…was there something else?

Is anyone besides me wondering why we are throwing a big party (Homecoming 2010) for all the folks who made their bucks here and then left town, leaving the rest of us to pick up the tab for the maintenance and infrastructure of a much bigger population base? 

The homecoming is a great thing for the community…there are over 1700 people registered right now. Will bring alot of dollars for the community, which we are in need of am I correct

As someone who was born and raised here and involved in the Homecoming, the party is  being put on because lots of people LOVE Prince Rupert. The city is not organizing this party a core group of 9 people are /have organzied the last two homecomings and this one. Anyone who has ever attended a Rupert Night in previous years will understand when I say there is nothing like it. Everyone started somewhere and what  better place to start than Rupert.

I’m not clear on the connection but for what it’s worth, I’ve seen many people leave Rupert over the years not because of a desire to leave but out of necessity to find opportunities that were no longer in Rupert. I think it’s great that a volunteer group is showing great community spirit and organizing the Homecoming. Kudos to these volunteers.

As for us picking up the tab for the maintenance and infrastructure for a larger population, those that have left can hardly be held responsible for leaving for work or better education, lifestyle or whatever their personal reasons were.

If we are content with the present tax burden and do not wish to face up to the hard decisions that Rupert faces, we can hardly look to blame those that have left.

It’s a great idea to have those of us with a common purpose join together and keep city hall accountable. Something has to change as the local taxpayers are paying a tremendous amount of money. Also, who would want to reloacte to a city in such turmoil? Huge municipal debt, schools closing, a dieing retail sector, taxes through the roof… Not exactly a place that many people would want to reloacte their family to. Prince Rupert has too much potential to be in this situation for so long and there must be other sources of revenue developed.

There have been plenty of opportunities presented here and all over the north. There just seems to always be something wrong with them, I think most are content with the cruise ships and a third line at the port. Any development planned or thought of is buried under red tape or ham handed by certain communities and groups. Who would want to develop here?.

“Also, who would want to relocate to a city in such turmoil? Huge municipal debt, schools closing, a dieing retail sector, taxes through the roof… Not exactly a place that many people would want to relocate their family to. Prince Rupert has too much potential to be in this situation for so long …” [/quote]

Good points Seekwyakin

Certainly part of the purpose of a ratepayers association is to ensure our local government bodies are also held accountable. I add my opinion that if a ratepayer’s association is only going to be a one trick pony as a critic and watchdog, HTMF already serves that purpose quite well.

A ratepayers’ association can be much more than a local watchdog over local government and actually serve as an important resource for the community by taking on various projects to improve the local quality of life. 

For example, the following statement of purpose was drawn from the constitution of the Sunshine Valley Ratepayers Association.  (Fraser Valley). 

“The purpose of the SVRA is to protect and enhance all aspects of the quality of life in Sunshine Valley and its immediate surroundings and to provide representation for the membership to local government.â€

I’ve heard this comment more than once about Prince Rupert and how difficult it is to do business here. I’ve always been satisfied with how the rank and file at City Hall have dealt with my requests. However, if this is an issue and the Chamber of Commerce hasn’t been able to get traction on it, it may be something a ratepayer’s association may want to look at.

  The city is not who I am talking about,nor Provincial or Federal. Special interest groups and some others is who I am referring to. All three levels of government would like industry to come here, as well as most communities. It just seems these groups have more power then the majority.(?)

Ok thanks for the clarification that it’s not a failing on the part of any level of government.

  I remember having a town meeting 7 months ago with a company looking to break ground in Prince Rupert. The first speakers at that meeting set the tone of how it would be played out. The announcements, claims filed, and letters that followed to and about that company may have scared them away. I see they are still seeking Environmental Approval, but that can be seen as going through the motions at this stage. The first stage of the port was almost derailed a number of times, every project can expect this treatment.

You are somewhat right about the “First speakers” being involved in the process and making sure that certain goals and objectives are made.
I think it is a pretty safe assumtion that the “First Speakers” want the exact same things as the rest of the region when developement comes…local benifits and jobs for the region. The only difference is that the “First Speakers” have leverage to ensure these types of things are built into any company’s development plans.
You say that the “First Speakers” scared the potential developers away, which is a fair assumption, I say that the companies are not interested in hiring local or keeping profit local.

I think it is a pretty safe assumtion that the “First Speakers” want the exact same things as the rest of the region when developement comes…local benifits and jobs for the region. [/quote]

I agree with this statement and it would be interesting to see how all groups in our community could work together to focus on creating a better quality of life in Rupert.

Certainly it would be good to see a mechanism for all community groups to work together so that we can deliver a unified and positive message to future potential investors that would encompass the advantages of Rupert as well as our expectations from would be corporate citizens.

 No, they want more then what was offered.  What goals and objectives did they want reached. To say the least the Environmental impact of this project was at best a minimum, to 0. They do not add chemicals to there product,no synthetics,just ore and dirt.
 I believe it boiled down to simple greed, or lack of knowledge. As for local jobs there wold have been plenty, some engineering and Technical trades may have been brought in, But their would have been jobs. I wonder what the issue was with the port when they threatened to derail it’s progress?. I am not trolling here I believe we need to come together like I have said in previous post to see what the community wants. If they want there hands greased then they should just say so, I believe that is all it boils down to. As well as all these opportunities coming down the pipeline I wonder if that was the Watson island deal and de-barker they were implying about?. Seems small scale to a job worth 500 Million. Still,it is work for some lucky people.

I am not trolling here. [/quote]

That’s good to hear, but I have to say the use of terminology such as “simple greed” and  “greasing palms” is inflammatory. As this thread is not about Canpotex , perhaps you could share some views on the need for a ratepayer’s association and ideas on what priorities it would need to tackle given the long list of community issues that we face?

You mention you support a mechanism for the community to work together and I’d be interested in your ideas on how you would like to see this come about.

  What do we do in times like this?. Let’s take the approach of say, a private company. When there is no revenue coming in you trim the fat. The fat in this town seems to be at the top, and even council members and the mayor seem to do it for the paycheque instead of civic duty. The honour back in the day was to serve your community and it’s members, not milk them for all they are worth.
  The community does not even know each other, we are like oil and water. When it was brought up at the town hall meeting about getting together having annual sit downs etc. Where were our elected officials,obviously not taking notes. Maybe I should call a meeting and see who shows up, or start a letter writing campaign, or shout from roof tops. It will fall on deaf ears. Maybe a ratepayer’s Assoc. could get this together but they would have to know all the player’s in the community.
So who would they be, our elected officials?.
  My opinions are inflammatory to who, you?. They are after all my opinions. I never implied they want there hands greased just asked and greed is all around us, no matter the individual. On that note will the association be volunteer or wage based, the article did not specify. Is there a need for it, or should we as a community try to be more involved,the poll numbers at the last election were not good. Maybe because it was the same old ball and dance, but that seems to be all we have or know.(?) Maybe we need young brave individuals with fresh ideas to start campaigning even if they do not win we will get to know there names and faces. Or we need some hardasses who’s main goal is to right the ship, and not cater to anyone but the taxpayer. Once again my opinions only.

Thanks for the clarification that the language you used was not directed at any one group but simply a recognition that greed and behind the scenes deal making is generally an issue. Having first hand experience with how the citizens of Rupert were previously kept in the dark of major financial decisions, I hear your frustration.

You’ve brought up great points. Volunteerism and Rupert Determination would be keys  to a successful  Ratepayer’s Association.  As far as I can see the City is already living beyond it’s means. I could not support nor expect to see paid positions in any ratepayer association or any funding from the City. This would need to be driven by volunteer community involvment. 

While a respectful and positive relationship with our elected officials would be a plus, we have already elected them to provide leadership to the community. While our Mayor and councillors should be as welcome to join a ratepayers association as any other Rupert taxpayer, my opinion is that it would be up to the association to choose their board. 

You also point out that the association would need to be inclusive of as many players as possible. Agreed, we have incredible talent and passion for our community in Rupert. It would be awesome to see a collaborative approach to solving community issues.  My opinion is that the  issues facing our community are too critical to keep waiting for elections and then hope new councils will be any more effective than the previous one

As for you calling a meeting, let me know the time and place and I’ll be there. I might suggest after the council meeting on April 26th as the council is presenting it’s five year financial plan for community input on Monday.

I will eat some humble pie here, I saw them working there last week and after reading the story in the Daily news it seems promising. Especially the part about all the companies working together for the bigger picture. I do not like pie.