In a recent letter, the pro-amalgamation writer implied that the residents of Coldstream and BX were using the arenas, library, ball fields, recreation centre, etc. in Vernon without contributing to the costs.
The writer may have been a little off with the facts, which will bring a deluge of rebuttals from Coldstream and BX, but there is considerable validity in the basic point he was trying to make.
Coldstream and BX have few commercial outlets. No significant grocery stores, no big box stores, no hardware and building supply stores, few eating places and few if any doctors, dentists and other professionals.
This means that for all their purchases (except for the occasional pilgrimage to Kelowna) and for all of their appointments, the residents of Coldstream and BX have to come regularly into Vernon.
Here they use the roads and sidewalks, cleared in the winter and fitted with all of the required signs, signals and street lights, plus all of the unseen infrastructure, but they make no contribution to the cost paid by Vernon taxpayers.
This can also be said about the majority of Coldstream and BX residents who work in Vernon.
This may happen elsewhere but not to the same extent.
There are few communities where more than 17,232 outside residents make so much use of a city of 38,150 residents (2011 census).
That’s more than 31 per cent, or nearly a third, of the users who do not contribute to the cost.
Or put another way, with the frequency of use by the two groups about the same, roughly one out of every three cars or pedestrians in town does not contribute.
As a resident of Coldstream, which was started with privilege and continues with privilege, I see this as inequitable and unjustifiable. The question is what to do about it?
There is no easy short-term fix and the situation will only get worse as the surrounding areas continue to grow and use the city.
The long-term solution is clearly unification.