BY JIM CULBERT
Just to clarify before I broach the topic for the day, I have not a lot of interest in politics nor would I welcome the chance to be in government.
Saying this, I have been listening and watching local news with regards to amalgamation of certain areas on Prince Edward Island.
From what I understand and have heard, the government has studied and sorted out the province and has plans for 25 amalgamations from one end of the province to the another.
Now the way I see it, the whole structure would allow the 25 amalgamated areas to be basically their own government with the ‘head’ government of the day as overseers. The problem with this idea is that there is not the population base in any one area of the province to successfully meet the mandate of the amalgamation.
You say, “what do you mean?” Well, the way I see it, is that each of the 25 areas would be 100 per cent accountable for the running of the specific area. They would have to pay for garbage pickup; plowing of the roads; road repair; and fire stations - this just being a few of the things the provincial government looks after at the moment.
There would be no transfer payments from one district to another to help pay for a particular section that does not have the tax dollars coming in to look after the service costs going out.
So how do we then look after the shortfalls? Taxes will rise and probably within 10 years we would be paying 20 to 50 per cent more in taxes that some of us think are too high for their annual income now. Anyone thinking of building a deck or changing something on their property will have to apply for permits and that costs more money.
In the end. we will be a broken, poor province with shabby roads, pot holes that do not get fixed, roadsides will not have their grass cut to look nice for the tourists as they travel P.E.I., roads that will not be plowed for days in the winter all because that particular section just does not have the resources to maintain to the high standards we have here on the Island now.
And what will the head provincial government be doing? It will be laughing at the wonderful idea of amalgamation that gets it off the hook from doing all the things it is doing now.
So, what can we do to stop this insanity? Vote to stop amalgamation of un-amalgamated areas of our fair province and keep the head government looking after our services as it has been doing for a long time.
If you do not stand up for your rights now and vote the idea down, do not cry the blues in a few years when everything looks a little shabby and some are moving away because they just cannot afford to live here.
- Jim Culbert has operated a B&B in Vernon Bridge for 30 years, as well as being the first appointed marriage commissioner on P.E.I. He also runs a successful re-upholstery shop.