Opinion

Our take: When will tax payers get what they pay for?

Ten years ago, we saw homeless people shivering on the street and asked for a roof and some blankets. Instead, we got the $8.5-million Warmland Shelter, jobs for social workers and as many — if not more — homeless.

It’s a prime example of how government projects so often miss the mark for the people who pay for them.

We build a limited access pool in Duncan while allowing our existing Kerry Park rec centre to decay.

We operate buses that often cruise the valley with no one in them.

We hire more and more civil students without ever asking for them.

And because of that unwanted gift, we also got the magnificent CVRD complex and a massive expansion at the North Cowichan municipal hall to give them a place to work. This while downtown office buildings sit vacant.

Then we hand our indispensible civic work force double-digit raises to make sure we keep them here and happy.

This while the taxpayer struggles to keep up with inflation;

Local government tax bills have risen at such an astonishing rate that it is difficult to argue anything other than restraint — or indeed, cutbacks — are in order. Yet worthwhile project after worthwhile project seems to go wanting.

Few of these are bad, or wrong; on the contrary, most are welcome additions to our community. It just seems what we are provided inevitably fails to match what we are paying for.

Isn’t this evidence it is time to bring some sense to the system?

Isn’t it time to give it a radical redesign that somehow takes power away from the bureaucrats and gives it to the people?

Isn’t it time for a change?

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