The looming Sechelt referendum to borrow $7.4 million for the sewage treatment plant has raised many questions in the community.
Council has repeatedly indicated their satisfaction with the original plan to simply borrow $2.5 million (which conveniently avoided the need for a referendum) and utilize reserves for the balance. If the original plan is so great, why borrow more money?
According to newspaper wraps and individual letters sent to each household (at taxpayer expense) - we are now asked to endorse borrowing $7.4 million (a 10-year debt with payments of about $700,000 per year) because it will save us $2.2 million. This savings claim seems based on a big if and could be construed as somewhat misleading.
One million dollars of the referred-to savings is the grant, which makes the loan basically interest free. The next $300,000 is the difference in interest that would be paid if they stayed with the original loan of $2.5 million.
The last $900,000 in savings can only materialize if the remaining $5.9 million in reserves is invested for 10 years. One wonders how this council can guarantee that with only eight months left to serve before the next election, these reserves will be invested for 10 years.
To add to the confusion, Mayor Henderson is quoted (with regard to the loan) in Coast Reporter on Jan. 17: "It's providing us with a great deal of flexibility going forward by retaining more reserves for other projects."
The reserves obviously cannot be both invested and spent on new projects.
When voting, do consider that the very expensive "vote yes" campaign mounted by the District uncannily resembles the last pre-election "FABS" campaign, including the requirement to preregister for public information meetings.
It all comes down to a matter of trust, so vote thoughtfully.
Barry Poole, Sechelt
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