District’s proposed borrowing bylaw creating discussion

as the mayor sees it with District of Barriere Mayor Bill Humphreys - borrowing bylaw

Many questions are being asked around the borrowing bylaw the District has proposed to provide funding for work on Barriere Town Road.  At the regular council meeting held on April 8, staff provided a question and answer report on the borrowing bylaw. They provided the answers to the questions most asked.

For those that could not attend I will summarize the answers to the questions I have been asked most often.

1) Who will pay for this borrowing? The 964 property owners that use the District water system.

2) What is the cost? The cost if paid up front will be approximately $1,300.

3) Can I make payments over time? Yes. If the cost is deferred to taxes then the payment would be $115 per year over 15 years. That amounts to 32 cents a day.

4) What is the interest rate? The interest used to calculate these costs is four per cent, which is the rate the Municipal Finance Authority suggests to use for calculations. The actual rate may be lower.

Most, if not all, of these questions have been asked and answered a number of times. I wondered why they were being brought up again. It seems that perhaps some residents don’t like the answers they were given, or that they didn’t understand.

There is nothing wrong with not understanding and having to ask again. There is something wrong though with spreading around information that is not correct or is incomplete. When this misinformation causes concern for those residents on a fixed income these actions are particularly unwelcome and unsavoury.

In my opinion, this spreading of misinformation is being done by a person or persons with an agenda of their own that most likely has nothing to do with what is best for the community.

If anyone has questions please direct them to the District, and do not rely on what is said by some that claim to have all the answers, but are just trying to get some attention for their own personal agenda.

The current District of Barriere Council has worked hard to trim expenses and plan for the future in a way that is fiscally sound. When opportunities to improve infrastructure come along at a sale price it would indeed be irresponsible of council not to take advantage of the savings.

Council can replace an aging cement asbestos water line and also remedy other ongoing problems like bad drainage, lack of crosswalks and no safe pedestrian pathways, for half the price of what the waterline replacement alone would cost in the near future when it fails completely.

And yes, it is true. The mayor is concerned with resident safety, improvements for seniors and our youth, clean water, and reducing costs. If “liking sidewalks” is part of solving problems attached to that list, then I will work to create sidewalks if they happen to be part of a package that is on sale for half price.

Council will be going forward with various initiatives that allow for economic growth in the District and the surrounding areas. In order to allow for growth in the town core, the District will apply for long term leases on the remaining lands held by the Crown. This is recommended by staff as the first step in getting outright ownership of these lands. The process will take some time, but unless it is started it will never come to be. We cannot entertain public/private business partnerships unless we properly control the land.

The attraction of investors and businesses to Barriere is ongoing and has accelerated.

The mayor’s expenses reflect some of the costs related to these initiatives and are not all for travel. The accounting for this, and other related economic development and District business activities handled by the mayor happens at council meetings. Should anyone have concerns, or preferably suggestions, around how to go forward with economic development please contact me at 250-851-6165 or email at mayor@barriere.ca.

There are a number of activities happening all through the spring and summer here in Barriere. I encourage you to check the paper for up coming events like the Walk on the Rural Side Expo and Trade Show happening on April 27 and 28 at the North Thompson Fall Fair facility.