Taxes. That evil five letter word not to be mentioned in polite company anywhere in Chilliwack. Our city council, both individually and collectively, cringe at the mere mention of the word. “Heavens no, we would lose our jobs on council if we even considered raising taxes.”
Well I’m going out on a limb and saying that most Chilliwack taxpayers wouldn’t object to a slight increase in order to have the services our community so desperately needs. A few dollars a month more to see improvement in all the things we complain about is not only appropriate but the right thing to do. How on earth do the tax increase objectors think we pay for our essential services? Taxes, right, that’s how.
Volunteers, churches and charities aren’t supposed to be the primary providers of services to our community. It’s great that we have these caring folk here in Chilliwack but there’s a limit to how much they can do to keep our city a safe and pleasant place to live in. I say good leadership requires identifying needs, proposing the remediation required, costing it out then educating the electorate as to its importance. Knowledgeable people will support worthy improvement and upgrades in services with moderate tax increases.
In my mind, besides a multitude of social problems here in Chilliwack, we also have pressing needs in infrastructure. Our streets are in a mess and there are way too few main arteries to provide access to our numerous growing neighbourhoods. Congestion has become a huge traffic problem on key arterial routes like Evans, Vedder and even Prest. Not only do we have serious traffic congestion but speeding vehicles ignoring the rules of the road are everywhere these days. I can’t believe how many of these offenders have an “N” on the back of their vehicles.
Probably the most dangerous at the moment is the Evans Knight intersection. We encourage children to walk to and from school in part to relieve congestion in the Evans School Parking lot but when these kids do walk they are taking their lives in their hands at that intersection. I have witnessed numerous vehicles making a right turn onto Knight when children are on the crosswalk or waiting to use it. Even on the “ Cross Now” signal there are cars turning through the crosswalk. It’s only a matter of time before a youngster is killed on that intersection. Yes I know there is a crossing guard there for the period right after school gets out but lots of pedestrians including children continue to use that crosswalk afterwards. A walkway for pedestrians over Knight on that corner would be the answer but I suspect the City would object to a tax increase to pay for it. Which is more important, a few dollars more in taxes each or a child’s life?