Grocery stores in Prince Rupert were sold out of bottled water by noon on Sunday, Dec. 16. Safeway put in an emergency order in for more water after Prince Rupert was issued a boil water advisory. (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)

In Our Opinion: An island in need of water

Prince Rupert residents have been without water for nearly a month, where is the federal government?

What are your best qualities? Asks the interviewee.

Uncomfortable, the subject doesn’t know how to respond. How does one toot their own horn gracefully?

When a new reporter starts at the Northern View, we often ask them to write a column about themselves, and usually the response is: I don’t like writing about myself.

Which makes us all squirm when we think of how our municipal government is feeling right now.

A: There’s a boil water notice, and everyone is pissed off about it.

B: The city has very little money to pay for infrastructure projects, and the dam replacement project is expected to cost a whopping 2.5 times more than anticipated.

C: Elected municipal officials — mayor and city councillors — have to figure out how they’re going to pay themselves with taxpayer dollars.

As of 2019, the federal government stripped a long-standing tax exemption from locally elected officials, note school trustees are included in this.

READ MORE: Tax change triggers tricky debate on politicians’ pay

Mayor Lee Brain has suggested to have a standing committee made up of community members to look at how to make up for the difference but it admittedly looks awkward while the city is under fire due to aging and failing infrastructure, and the boil water notice.

It feels like we’re literally on an island, and while it’s easy to assign blame, let’s not point fingers at each other when the simple fact is we need help.

One of Justin Trudeau’s platform promises was to provide low-cost financing for new infrastructure projects making it more affordable for municipalities. The 2017 federal budget included $2 billion over the next decade specifically to rural and northern communities to “help grow local economies, build stronger, more inclusive communities, and help safeguard the environment and health of Canadians.”

It’s not that we’re invisible. Every single federal official who has visited this island has stressed the importance Prince Rupert as a vital gateway of Canadian trade.

Where are they now?

READ MORE: Impacts on businesses under ongoing boil water notice



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