Hockin’s accusations against ratepayers not held up by fact

This refers to Tom Hockin’s letter of May 20.

Mr. Hockin accuses the Saltair District Ratepayers Association (SDRA) of being a secret society and supports his allegation by quoting a definition. If he had taken the trouble to search further he would have found a guide by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation on starting ratepayers associations. The guide clearly states “… an RPA should claim to represent local taxpayers that agree with its core mission statement.”

Mr. Hockin did not quote this statement since it did not support his allegation. SDRA has a clear mission statement and it is posted on the Saltair community web site sunnysaltair.ca. Perhaps Mr. Hockin should read it.

There is a Members Only page containing information relevant to our members. This is not an unusual practice with other ratepayers associations which share expenses and maintenance to support community webs.

At our annual general meetings all members of the public are invited to attend and participate.

The only activity that only members can participate in is the election of the board. At each annual meeting the president of SDRA reports on all the activities that the board has undertaken since the previous meeting. This part is also open to the public. So Mr. Hockin, where is the secrecy?

Mr. Hockin also alleges that SDRA “… is very active at encouraging new tax levies….”. At no time has SDRA supported new tax levies.

However, individual members have supported the purchase of the school property and did canvassing to increase parcel tax for the Saltair water line remediation. It appears that Mr. Hockin has some difficulty separating actions that members of the SDRA take as part of the organization and actions they take as members of the community.

Mr. Hockin also alleges that SDRA “…

were active at getting voters out to reelect Mel Dorey”. SDRA, as an organization, took a scrupulously independent stand in the most recent municipal election. Further to better inform the residents

of Area G of the candidates’ platforms SDRA sponsored an all candidates meeting. However, some members of the SDRA chose to exercise their democratic and constitutional right to support the candidate of their choice. This action was taken as individuals and not as members of SDRA.

I support Mr. Hockin’s right to free speech and opinion but I think his cause might be better served if he were able to support his opinion by fact.

John Silins President, Saltair District Ratepayers Association

Cowichan Valley Citizen

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