The North Salt Spring Water District needs money: to raise the Duck Creek weir and for an eventual treatment plant at Maxwell Lake. Their board has recommended incorporation as the best option for raising those funds. But is it?
- Accessing government grants does not mean receiving Far from it:
- applications to the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program totalled almost 7 times the available funds
- the Gas Tax Agreement Strategic Priorities Fund has 11 separate criteria for funding; raising a weir and building a conventional water treatment plant meet few of them
- On Salt Spring, NSSWD would compete for scarce funding with projects like road upgrades, new fire hall, town hall, sewage treatment plant upgrade, etc.
- With incorporation all taxpayers face greater financial burdens and liabilities: road repair and maintenance, higher policing costs, many municipal expenses. Higher taxes could cancel out any benefit from possible grants.
- Convert NSSWD into a CRD commission.
- Six Salt Spring water districts have converted and secured major grants.
- Transfer NSSWD facilities to the CRD with a new NSSWD non-profit society contracted as the operator.
- New facilities would be eligible for infrastructure grants through the CRD. NSSWD would keep its current island-based management and structure.
- Establish an elected Local Community Commission (LCC) to coordinate regional district services including NSSWD facilities.
- LCCs provide access to infrastructure grants.
A vote to incorporate rules out every other option. A NO vote gives us more affordable options to pursue.
Prepared by Peter Lamb and Murray Reiss