Kootenay-Columbia MP David Wilks (right) greets Sergeant at Arms Kevin Vickers in the House of Commons in Ottawa.

Letters to the Editor: Nov. 4

October 22, 2014; History's butchers; About Cranbrook's taxes

October 22, 2014

October 22, 2014, will forever be remembered as a sad and solemn day in Canadian history. The death of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo while standing guard at the National War Memorial, as well as a gun man storming Parliament Hill before being mortally wounded by the Sergeant at Arms, Kevin Vickers. Let us not forget the death of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent a few days earlier at St. Jean sur Richelieu.

Through it all, Canadians stood strong and galvanized as a Nation in the support of our fallen soldiers and in solidarity of what makes Canada so great.

We are The True, North, Strong and Free.

David Wilks, M.P./Kootenay-Columbia

History’s butchers

In reply to Ferdy Belland’s diatribe against the “Harry Potter-looking chowderhead” who dressed as Adolf Hitler at the recent Fort Steele Spooktacular:

Whoa, Ferdy! Get a grip, boy. The “jerk who dressed as Hitler” was in a costume. Dressing in costume for Halloween is a form of artistic expression. Do you, Ferdy, support censorship of artistic expression? Would you encourage the staff of Fort Steele to ban costumes they found offensive? This is a free country and, even though his costume may not have been appropriate in your opinion, he has a right to wear it.

If this boy had dressed as Vlad the Impaler (aka Dracula) or Genghis Khan, would you have been so shocked and driven to write the newspaper criticizing him for portraying a “human butcher”? Both of these men were truly butchers of humans, wielding the sword themselves!

I don’t believe any of the innocent little children at the Fort Steele Spooktacular were aware of or even knew of Adolf Hitler and if you decide to dress as the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan next year, I am sure the kids will think you are some sort of a goofy ghost.

P.S.: What have you got against Harry Potter’s looks? I think he’s kind of cute.

Kathleen Simon/Cranbrook

About Cranbrook’s taxes

At a recent workshop titled “Small Business, the Driver of a Local Economy”, the presenter showed Cranbrook having the fourth highest taxes in BC per population size. The most recent BC Stats are from 2013, showing there are only nine municipalities with populations between 16,000 and 24,000. (Courtney is outside the range but close at 24,314). Either way Cranbrook is around the middle.

There is concern among the business community re the gap between residential and commercial property taxes.

Having previously worked in economic research, I looked at The Canadian Federation of Independent Business Report “B.C. Municipal Property Tax Gaps 2003-13: A 10-Year Perspective” (published October 2014) http://www.cfib-fcei.ca/cfib-documents/BC1003.pdf

• Appendix 2: 2013 BC Municipal Property Tax Gap Rankings — by Municipal Property Tax Gap, Cranbrook ranks 94th from best to worst out of 161 municipalities.

• Appendix 3: 2013 BC Municipal Property Tax Gap Rankings — by Municipality, Cranbrook ranks 90th out of 161.

While property taxes are a deductible expense for businesses, and not for residents, many small businesses do struggle with property taxes.  Some municipalities have different approaches for dealing with commercial taxes that might be worth opening up for discussion.

Sharon Cross, City Councillor/Cranbrook

Tax relief zone, etc.

I attended the all candidates forum on Wednesday, Oct.29, and some comments made by Wayne Stetski and Sharon Cross warrant a response. Both of these individuals, when listing their accomplishments, implied that they had created the downtown tax relief zone for new builds and renovations. Both of these individuals are misleading the public and wrong in their statements.

The downtown tax relief zone and strategy are products of the previous mayor and council. The concept and the actual bylaw was in place before they were elected. Mr. Stetski, in his summary of accomplishments implied that the award winning design and construction of our waste water, spray irrigation field system was somehow part of his accomplishments. The irony here is that Mr. Stetski’s last campaign went to great lengths to discredit the entire project. His only involvement was that after the election, he travelled east to receive the award for the city.

The redesign and upgrade to our spray irrigation system was the result of Mayor Manjak, the previous council, our MLA Mr. Bennett, our MP Mr. Wilks and most importantly our dedicated staff lead by our engineer, Jamie Hodge.
Transparency is extremely important but without facts, the image is blurred.Please vote on November 15.

Jim Wavrecan/Cranbrook

Kimberley Reserve Fund

In response to recent letters written about the Kimberley Reserve Fund (Daily Bulletin, October 23, October 28). It’s a shame that election time is reduced to a time of attempting to discredit decisions made by City Council.

The Reserve Fund, something that has been invested wisely is suddenly called into question. Do those who dispute this spending call into question the value of each of these expenditures or is it that they believe that the money that is intended for the betterment of the community should sit idle. If it is the former, do they dispute keeping the Marysville Arena open, supporting the development of a kids’ spray park, or having a parade float represent us in other cities? If it is the latter, are they so naive as to believe that a community can progress without spending? Or is it that they are willing to settle for the status quo at the risk of regressing to a time of fear and doubt about our future?

The Reserve Fund has been used as it was intended when it was first created by City bylaw in 1959. It has been invested (not spent) in areas that will help our community to maintain its quality of life and continue to create appeal for those looking to move here. In the past 55 years it has been drawn down and replenished, primarily through sales of city owned land, many times. Anticipated land sales will again replenish the fund and provide more money to invest in our community.

In fact, we should be thanking the City Council for using the Reserve Fund rather than having each of us bear the burden through taxes, to cover costs of upgrades and improvements.

Keith Nicholas/Kimberley

Kimberley business licences

Dear Mayor McRae:

You have stated that business licences have increased by 40 per cent.  How many businesses is that? Will these businesses occupy some of the empty stores in town?

Will they be paying business taxes? How about employing some of our residents? Or are these businesses home-based with minimum taxes and overhead.?

Please do not give us generalities. As voters we need facts so as to make an informed decision when voting.

Isabella Gray/Kimberley

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