Letters to the Editor: Nov. 3

Mosquito control, etc.; Fluoride referendum; Election issues.

Mosquitos, etc

Enjoying bird and animal watching, and being aware that birds in particular are disappearing at an alarming rate here in the Kootenays, as in the rest of the world, it’s disappointing that once again the spectre of fearmongering comes to the fore. In the name of protecting people from diseases such as west nile virus, proponents are recommending the annihilation of mosquitos which feed insectivores such as swallows, fly catchers, etc., amphibians such as frogs, toads, etc., and bats, many of which are becoming more & more endangered,

Birds that use to be common here in Cranbrook before the mosquito treatment started are scarce now, so expanding the program will also expand their disappearance. Nature is interconnected, so loss of each creature affects others.

I suspect the real motivation of proponents of this idea is profit for companies like Culex Environment Ltd. who would like to grow their business from servicing Cranbrook to also servicing Bull River, Fort Steele, Mayook, Wardner Colony Road, and Norbury Lakes communities.

For those who are concerned about protection, according to the Centre for Disease Control, “You can reduce your risk of being infected with WNV by using insect repellent and wearing protective clothing to prevent mosquito bites.”

It’s good the residents of RDEK Area C voted down the proposal to have a mosquito treatment plan when last asked some 10 years or more ago. Perhaps again the residents will see through this attempt to spend their hard earned money on an unnecessary and harmful plan to further sterilize the natural environment in the name of concern for human health!

Pat Sindholt/Cranbrook

Fluoride referendum

As a concerned citizen of area C, I wrote an article this summer highlighting the pitfalls that fluoride removal from the city water supply could lead to. I relayed some of my experience gained as I anesthetized well over 1200 children ages 2-12 that required extensive dental restorations due to tooth abscesses and a mouth full of pus from dental decay.

This Anti Fluoride internet campaign has been ongoing for many years. Sadly individuals are lead astray by so called “reputable internet articles” The fact that highly respected and scientifically based organizations such as the Centre for Disease Control, Atlanta, Georgia; The World health organization; Canadian and American Dental and Medical associations support fluoride addition to drinking water (of .7 ppm or 0.7 mg/Liter) seems to be lost in the anti-fluoride baffle gab.

Whitehorse Yukon (same size as Cranbrook) voted it’s fluoride out in the mid 1990’s by a referendum, which passed due to lack of information and voter apathy. Now every Yukon dentist can attest to the deterioration of the teeth of the “at risk” populations consisting of children and elders. The Cranbrook Dentists can also tell you whether a child comes from an area without fluoridated water such as Kimberley.

So who needs the fluoride? Women, between 3 and 9 months pregnant, while their baby is developing its first tooth buds in Utero; Children ages 0-10; Most elders with receding gum margins and exposed tooth roots and folks with Dementia who are unable to look after their own personal needs.

Readers of this letter, your vote on November 15 probably won’t affect you in the short run. Most likely you have a dental plan; ensure your children brush and have regular dental check-ups. Your vote “against” the resolution to remove fluoride will go a long way in protecting the 60% of the population who don’t vote. You will continue to protect those too young or unable to vote. The health of our extended community is important to all of us! Children with dental abscesses are ill; in pain; can’t eat and they become behavior problems at home and in school. Their behavior affects your children as well. Their families have more illnesses. Heart attacks and Coronary heart disease have been associated with the mouth bacteria which cause dental caries.

Given Canadians now consume on average 150 pounds of sugar per person per year. The need for Fluoride is even more important. Fluoride is a simple public health measure providing the greatest good for the greatest number. Please vote “No” to the referendum and keep fluoride in your water!

Roger Mitchell MD CCFP/Cranbrook

Election issues

Potholes and roads seem to be the main debate in every civic election that I recall going back 20 years of watching our local council. In our opinion, this election should be about fiscal restraint and more efficiency found within the City budgets. Our municipality has been quick to go back to the taxpayer for increases and new funding for projects that perhaps we should be refraining from. A City’s core focus should be on roads, sewer, water, emergency services and recreational services. Albeit, we would all like to see improved social conditions within our community we need to truly examine the roles and responsibilities of our municipal government.

The increase in property tax every year is becoming too much of a norm and accepted by the community on a larger scale. If this path continues taxes, will not be affordable and could create future economic hardship for residents, and stifle economic growth in the community. The City of Cranbrook is the 4th highest taxed municipality within our population category in the province, in both the residential and business classifications according to information obtained from Civic Info BC. In the past three years we have seen our Council raise property taxes over 12%. Yet the Consumer Price Index in BC has increased 3.4% over the same period of time from stats obtained from Statistics Canada. In 2011 a home in Cranbrook, that was reflective of the average sale price in the City had 2010 property taxes of $2,294.00 that same home now has a 2014 tax bill of $2,737.00 nearly 19% higher in 4 years. This analysis takes into consideration tax rates and fluctuating assessed values. Cranbrook is already at a disadvantage on a competitive tax scale to attract business & residents and yet the 5 year financial plan shows that we are going to continue down this dangerous path.

The City’s 5 year financial plan is projecting revenue from taxation to be more than 25% higher than 2014. This forecasted increase somehow will have to come from the tax base. Examining the 5 year financial plan there are several budget items that need to be questioned by candidates. Scrutinize the City’s annual reports available on their website and see the incredible growth in spending over the past 3 years. Now I am sure there are reasonable explanations to all of this spending, but as taxpayers can we afford it? As taxpayers we should be asking all of our candidates including the incumbents “How will you manage our taxpaying dollar better? “ Our current council has been caught in spending nightmares that are abundant and wasteful.

So, should this election be about roads? Or should it be about fiscal restraint. If we manage the taxpayer dollars better at city hall perhaps then we could find the resources to adequately fund the core services of our municipality including roads. As a taxpayer are you prepared for a 25% increase in taxation over the next 5 years? It was Benjamin Franklin who said “Watch the Pennies and the Dollars will take care of themselves…”

Jason & Christy Wheeldon/Cranbrook

Election issues

In 2011 the Provincial Government increased the home owner grant by $200.00 from carbon tax revenues to help seniors 65+ years of age. Unfortunately waving a few bucks in front of City Management, the Mayor &  Councillors is like a Red Cape to El Toro, they charged right in like they felt they were entitled to half the seniors windfall and increased the flat tax by $100.00 to create a Infrastructure reserve fund.

In 2011 this new tax generated revenue of $287,695 with no expenditures. In 2012 it generated an additional $302,583. Expenditures included Gerry Sorenson paving $14,827, Archibald Bridge$49,370, Mark Creek Slough $30,000, Marsden Bridge $20,000. Fund Balance $476,081. Revenue in 2013 was $314,812. Expenditures included Gerry Sorenson paving $5,090, Halpin retaining walls $20,000,  5th Ave storm main $21,714, Rotary Dr. Paving $508,652, Waldie road paving $7,033, Knighton Rd. Paving $97,382, Levirs Paving $42,843. Fund balance $88,178. Revenue in 2014 was $327,707 Expenditures include Dahlgren storm main $70,000, 5Th Ave. Storm main $ 54,198, Ross/Knighton storm $160,000, St. Mary paving $30,980, Ditches & swales $$40,000, Deactivate watershed road $20,000, Decommission sidewalks $20,000, Sidewalk letdowns & curbs. Fund balance $707.00.

In summary this tax only applies to residential property owners so residential taxpayers footed 100% of the cost of all the above listed expenditures totalling $1,232,089.00. Also, this program was so popular with the City; they have decided to come back for the other half of the home owner grant by establishing a new $107.59 water and sewer flat tax which will be included in your property tax bill in 2015. This new flat tax coupled with a $100.00 increase in your annual water, sewer garbage fees will amount to another sad day for Kimberley seniors and probably most other residents as well.

Greg McCormick/Kimberley