MLA expresses frustration with local government

Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett says Cranbrook council should look at ways to save money instead of asking the province for more funding

Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett is putting out a call to action for Cranbrook city council.

Council should stop asking the province for more money, Bennett said, and instead think about ways it can cut costs itself.

“Over the past few months I’ve heard them say they want a new high school – that’s $50 million; a new theatre – that’s $25 million; a new Intensive Care Unit at the hospital – that’s $21 million; a new homeless shelter – that’s $20 million, plus more money for RCMP and infrastructure,” Bennett told The Townsman. “So do I; all those things are great. But there isn’t enough money.”

He spoke out on Thursday, January 10, in response to two motions on farm gate sales and policing models that Cranbrook council decided on January 7 to bring to an Association of Kootenay and Boundary Local Governments meeting for discussion.

According to Bennett, it was another example of local government complaining it doesn’t get enough funding from provincial government.

“It all comes back to the provincial taxpayer and perhaps it’s time to figure out what they can do as mayor and council,” said Bennett.

“The solutions to these problems don’t all live in the wallets of the provincial taxpayer.”

He recommended that council conduct a service review.

“They should ask: what do we do now that we can not do anymore?” said Bennett.

“I wish they would look after their own responsibilities,” he concluded.