Open letter to Whitehorse mayor and council:
Greenwashing a frivolous idea does not make it sustainable or even desirable.
Using a broad brush of sustainability to prop up unproven uneconomical schemes is not in the best interest of the voting taxpayer who foots the bill.
The Gas Tax Rebate is not a bottomless pot of gold to fund pet eco-nut fantasies. It’s not there to pay our friends with nice summer jobs in the Yukon.
The highest priority for spending the gas tax is proven and viable measures to reduce the amount of petroleum energy used. That should be obvious; it’s a motor fuel tax rebate, so spend it to use less motor fuel, more efficiently.
Do the simple, cost-effective measures first. Fix potholes, improve streets, undo previous mistakes that create transportation bottlenecks, re-program traffic lights to reduce congestion and idling in traffic, automatically cycle low-priority electric loads like hot water heaters in city buildings during peak use when the diesel generators are running, convert some city vehicles to cleaner, more sustainable fuels like liquefied petroleum gas or compressed natural gas.
Defer the unproven greenwashed fantasies to the future, and do the practical common-sense stuff now.
Don’t spend the gas tax on foolish marketing schemes to sell your ideas. They don’t work, only appeal to the converted, and it’s a waste of money.
People are already overwhelmed with too much sound and visual pollution, they tune it all out. The people you are trying to motivate will ignore it, and you irritate those who already understand and are doing their best.
The most effective way to motivate the public is to make the things you don’t want them to do expensive, and the things you want them to do cheap. Nothing else works as well, regardless of what any self-serving marketing studies say.
Instead, spend marketing money to directly affect people with fee and tax reductions. Don’t try to con us with the eco-propaganda du jour, it insults our intelligence, and just wastes our tax dollars.
Don’t be conned by slick salespeople in a cloak of green. Spend our gas tax wisely and respectfully for what it was intended; that will be your legacy.
Most importantly, tell the city departments to keep spending within their budgets, and don’t come to the taxpaying voter through city council to ask us for more money to fund their pet projects. Make them do their job with the money we gave them, or find someone who will.
In recent years we’ve seen too much frivolous misspending of taxpayer dollars by the city, so don’t be surprised that we now want more accountability, more transparency, and public oversight on how you spend the money the taxpayers of Canada give you to run our city.