To the editor:
I read with interest a recent story by Ron Seymour’s story in the Saturday Okanagan: Old Railway Corridor Turning into a Freeway At Night. This was one of the big concerns myself and over 1,100 other people had with the purchase of the old CN rail corridor for a trail. In a meeting we had with Mayor Baker and some district staff before the referendum to borrow $2.6 million for the purchase, we put this concern to them. At that time Baker told us not to worry about this as their bylaw people would look after it. I pointed out to him at that time it would take a lot more than that to police the trail and that they would properly be looking at a security company to police it and that would cost a lot of money.
Now he is saying they are getting a least one call everyday with regards to people riding motorized vehicles at night along the old rail corridor. He is also saying the only way they can police this is to put up signs. Apparently a frustrated homeowner along the route put up several old railway ties to prevent this from happening and someone riding a motor bike hit the ties and was hurt. I wonder how long it will be before someone takes legal action against the District Of Lake Country on issues like this. When that happens it will be us the taxpayer that will have to foot the bill.
This is just one example of extra costs that will come with the purchase of the rail corridor and there are many more coming. One of the biggest cost will be dealing with the Day family to purchase their property in order for the trail to go through the property. I wonder why nobody is talking about this now? Is there something going on that they don’t want us to know about? There is also the issue of paying back the City of Kelowna the $2.5 million we borrowed from them for the purchase of the rail corridor. We will have to start doing that in two and a half years according to the agreement.
I also read that the fundraising campaign by the Okanagan Rail Trail shows progress of only one per cent of the $7.9 million they will need to upgrade the old rail corridor into a trail. I think these people must be living in LA LA Land if they think they can raise that kind of money by donations. I told them that during the referendum and I will say it again now, it is not going to happen.
Mayor Baker told everyone during the referendum that the district could afford to both buy the rail corridor and fix up the infrastructure in Lake Country that was behind by $50 million. So what does Baker and the District do this year. They impose a $125 road tax on every property in Lake Country which we will have to pay every year for the next twenty years. I guess that is what he meant by saying we could afford to do both.
So now we have a water tax, a sewer tax, and a road tax on top of our regular municipal taxes. On top of all that I now here they are thinking of imposing a park tax. This money would be used to make a park along the old highway going to Oyama. Maybe they will also use the money for the trail on the old CN rail corridor.
Baker and the rest of Council along with the District staff are right out of control and must think we all have very deep pockets. I would encourage everyone in Lake Country to let them know how you feel about all these extra costs for the purchase of the rail corridor and taxes we are faced with.
Having lived in Lake Country for some 55 years I now fear we are going to be taxed right out of our homes.
Ron Volk, Lake Country