Open Letter to Mayor Bev Buckway and city council:
I examined your rationale—read excuse—for the proposed 12.5 per cent increase in our water and sewer utility fees.
You state that your consultation with chambers of commmerce, of talking to other groups and conducting a citizens poll led you to the conclusion that city council is on the right track in its budget allocation.
Did you tell them, at the time of these consultations, that you were considering a double-digit increase in utility rates, never before experienced in the history of Whitehorse, not even when we were building the mega sewage lagoon and infrastructure (which benefited all Whitehorse citizens with the exception of Crestview, which has its own lagoon)?
Looking at your 2009 proposed budget, it negatively appears that your real reason for this obscene increase is because you have a huge utility project in Takhini that you have to deal with.
The history of this undertaking is mirrored in controversy; the federal government sold these ex-army duplexes (which had a very old, jumbled and illegitimate interconnected water and sewer service) very cheaply to a certain group of entities who then face-lifted these properties and put them on the open market with real-estate businesses.
Obviously the feds, the real-estate agents, the city and the second purchasers of these properties (the current owners) did not do their due diligence—that is with the exception of the original buyers of these homes from the feds.
It now appears you want the rest of us Whitehorse citizens to pay for this fiasco and make it go away?
Somewhat like the costs for the court challenges against ad hoc changes to the Official Community Plan?
Unfortunately for Buckway and councillors Stockdale, Graham and Stick (for a short period), you can’t blame former mayor Ernie Bourassa for this debacle as you were all part of his regime.
An official response would be appreciated.
Roger Rondeau, president, Utilities Consumers’ Group,