Say what you mean

City council has two big problems. After years of neglect, infrastructure is crumbling and in desperate need of an overhaul...

This city council has two big problems.

After years of neglect, infrastructure is crumbling and in desperate need of an overhaul. And they know it, but don’t have the money to fix it.

Secondly, saying what they mean.

Even with far too many derelict buildings and potholes, Prince Rupert’s real crisis is what you can’t see.

Mayor Lee Brain keeps telling us — echoing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — that what needs to be fixed is not “sexy development” and most people wouldn’t even notice what is being done. And one of the most pressing is dealing with the 110-year-old water facility.

Using the word crisis is not an overstatement or exaggeration. A lack of potable water for a city this size is not an option.

However, at the public budget meeting barely 30 residents showed up out of interest or concern over what the city is going to do with their money.

For those who did show up, they found themselves in an awkward Orwellian-like setting, with the councillors and mayor propped high on stage, overlooking the audience with the budget handout at the end of the stage. Behind the city politicians was a giant screen that displayed a question the residents were supposed to answer by using their smart phones.

Both questions were loaded and were looking for the same answer.

“Do you agree with the city’s recommendation in the 2016 budget to set aside funds into asset renewal reserves?”

It’s classic double speak. If people answer no, they are saying they don’t think the city should do anything about the crumbling infrastructure. If people say yes, they are agreeing to more taxes. But the wording is deceptive and confusing.

Why not ask: “Should the city raise taxes to fix the infrastructure problems?”

Instead of trying to disguise the word taxes with the obfuscating catchphrase “asset renewal reserves”  or gobbledygook questions, treat taxpayers with respect and say what you mean.

If this is the way the city addresses the issue, it’s going to see more glazed eyes and less engagement.

Nobody likes to pay “asset renewal” fees.

But moreover, nobody likes being manipulated.

The City of Prince Rupert needs to speak plainly and clearly to taxpayers.

It may not be sexy, but it certainly is what taxpayers deserve if we are going to solve this crisis.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

International Women’s Day contest starts March 5

The Northern View supports women in business

Water main break – McBride and First

Ten inch water main break flooded intersection

Rupert residents show anti-bullying support

Are you wearing a pink shirt today? Send us your photos!

Budget is dam good!

Proposed 2020 budget include no tax increase and road repaving

Breakfast Club of Canada launches the day right

P.R.M.S. students are fed the benefits of community partnerships

VIDEO: Reconciliation is dead: Wet’suwet’en supporters vow to keep protesting at B.C. legislature

Supporters say they will continue ongoing action to hold government accountable

UPDATE: Arrests made, tires slashed on patrol cars in northern B.C., says RCMP

But a Gitxsan hereditary chief says 14 were arrested, as fight over natural gas pipeline continues

VIDEO: Province promotes ‘lifting each other up’ on 13th annual Pink Shirt Day

Students, MLAs, community members gathered at B.C. Parliament Buildings Wednesday

Prepare for new coronavirus like an emergency, health minister advises

About 81,000 people around the world have now become ill with COVID-19

B.C. residents in Wet’suwet’en territory have right to police presence: Public Safety Minister

Nevertheless, Bill Blair said officials remain ‘very anxious’ for the barricades to come down

Winnipeg police investigating graffiti on RCMP and other buildings

Manitoba Justice Minister Cliff Cullen denounced the vandalism

B.C. seniors’ watchdog calls for better oversight after recent problems at Retirement Concepts care homes

‘There is no financial incentive right now to be a good operator’ - Isobel Mackenzie

Trucking company fined $175K for Kootenay creek fuel spill

Decision handed down last Friday in Nelson court

B.C. city rebrands with new logo, cheeky slogan

‘Langford, where it all happens’ is the City’s new slogan

Most Read