Residents complain District services not up to par

As the Mayor sees it: By District of Barriere Mayor Bill Humphrys

More than a few Barriere residents have told me that they feel certain services are not to the level they feel is acceptable. There are few things in life more irritating than paying for a service and not getting what you expect.

Overflowing garbage receptacles, grass not cut, weeds not pulled, turf dying for lack of water, trees dying for lack of care, potholes in the roads, dust from unpaved laneways, unfinished ballpark concession, ball diamonds not prepped properly for play, water that smells of chlorine and ruins your taps, public washrooms not open for the public to use, streetlights not working and the list goes on. The District must be made aware of what is important to residents.

To that end I encourage all residents to take the time to express your concerns and opinions. Please send me a letter, an email, a note on the back of a piece of cardboard if that is what you have handy. I do listen when people take the time to tell me their concerns and I do bring these forward. It is much more effective though if I have some sort of physical communication from you of what you wish to have addressed. Another option is to come to council meetings and give your opinions. I know this is viewed by most as a waste of time. I do guarantee though that you will be heard and what you have to say will be reflected in the minutes of the meeting.

Who is responsible to have these issues resolved? Ultimately that would be the District of Barriere mayor and council. It is not District staff, not the highways department nor any of the other various contractors doing work in the District.

To be totally fair to council, it is the mayor that is expected to take concerns from residents, and with direction from council initiate proper and long term resolutions.

As the Mayor I will take responsibility for the issues previously stated and any others that are brought forth.

It truly would be easier to lay the blame with others but would that fix the problem?

I could say that the people performing the work are responsible for the quality of the work. I could say that the manufacturer of the equipment that failed, allowing the turf to die, is responsible; but then again why wasn’t it watered using a hose and sprinklers?

That approach is one of laying blame. That will not correct the problem.

The fact of the matter is that if the work is substandard or equipment fails the responsibility for correcting the problem must go back to the person or persons that can truly effect a change.

To that end a number of initiatives have been started to assess costs and efficiencies with regards to District services. District staff are compiling data, such as the number of hours spent doing a multitude of tasks, the cost of materials, possible additional revenue streams and so on.

The fix to these problems is not as easy as just hiring more staff or getting more equipment. That amounts to just throwing money at the problem to see if it goes away. We all know this is never the resolution to whatever ills the system has.

Plus, the only way the District has to obtain extra funds is by raising taxes, and that is a route that must be not be taken with any sort of a cavalier attitude.

I wish to thank all the volunteers that have helped in the past, and to the numerous sponsors of District projects that without your help and generosity these projects would never have reached completion.

I want you all to know that I have heard your concerns as of late; that you are no longer volunteering on extra tasks to make things better, but are backfilling tasks that are a portion of the basic and essential services you expect your taxes to cover.

We are working to correct this problem through process improvements and other changes.

Have a great week and be mindful of the heat.

 

 

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