Monday, June 6, 2011

Creating a picture by twisting the truth.

Today I was reading an editorial in the Elk Valley Newspaper.

The following statements were written about Sparwood and Elkford.

"Sparwood has a vibrant seniors community and retirement home, a low residential tax base, fantastic
walking trails linking the Heights to central Sparwood, new businesses breaking ground, an indoor
recreation facility with a rock climbing wall, courts for volleyball and squash, an indoor pool, youth programs
and a community centre. The community will also soon have a state-of-the-art water park.
Elkford is also on the move. Like Sparwood, Elkford has a fantastic recreation complex with an indoor
pool. There will soon be a $6 million community facility that can host events and visitors from all over
the province. According to Mayor McKerracher, plans are also in the works to build a state-of-the-art
Fire Training Centre. The biggest benefit to living in Elkford is that their tax base is also incredibly low."

I know Sparwood and Elkford well, these statements so far are very accurate.
Then the article goes on to state the following:

"All these amenities which both Sparwood and Elkford possess are the result of diligent and thoughtful Councils, both past and present"

That's all it takes is diligent and thoughtful Councils to have all of the above. Silly me I though all of these things might have had something to do with a little thing called the "Elk Valley Property Tax Sharing Agreement" that's the agreement that specifies how the taxes that are levied on the mines each year are spilt amongst the communities.
Each year Elkford receives $3 million, Sparwood $2.8 million and Fernie $2.6 million.
Keeping in mind that to have all of those amenities listed above in 2009  the Districe of Sparwood  collected $10,689,638 in taxes. In the same year the Crowsnest Pass collected $6,359,661 in taxes a difference of $4,329,977 with 70% of that difference being made up by the mines and most of the other 30% coming from businesses servicing the mines.

Lets face it, some people think we have a diligent and thoughtful council presently, the realities of the Crowsnest Pass having nothing to do with "diligent and thoughtful" it's all to do with cold hard cash. The community can't even keep the Bellevue Library open, let alone build an Indoor facility to match our neighbours. Then again maybe the residents of the Pass are willing to pay an extra $4 million a year in taxes to have everything our neighbours have got, because the Elk Valley is not going to share with us.

Note: Link to Elk Valley Tax Sharing Agreement


Anonymous said...

Holy Smokes

I went and looked at the Town of Sparwood financial information. Under there five year financial plan they have a page that lists the Top 10 corporate taxpayers. They pay over $4 million in taxes thats just the top 10, what about the rest of the bussinesses.

To our $6.5 million in total, Dean you know the old saying. "Diligent, thoughtful and a $1.79 will get you a slurpee at the 7-11"

Anonymous said...


I made my first comment on your blog last week about public transportation or whatever we call it in Sparwood.

The article you refer to I would like to speak to one quote.
"fantastic walking trails linking the heights to central Sparwood" When they first started talking about that project we were told it would be less than $1 million, the last number I heard was $3 million. Its become a typical government project late and over budget. Originally it was suppose to be a walking trail. After it was started some genius decided it had to be wide enough for an ambulance. Next time your in Sparwood have a look its behind the old Macon Apartments.
Us residents here don't know why they couldn't have just made the present road a little wider.


Anonymous said...

My thoughts are that if we had a rec centre, we would attract many famalies from Sparwood.Sparwood is a nice town, with some great facilities but there view is horrible.Looking at that coal mine all day must be tough, and listening to the constant trains must not be that nice either.Elkford is a town that if you work in one of the mines on that end you may live there.Fernie, new families just starting out can not afford to live there.I also beleive it costs more to live in BC than Alberta(HST,income tax etc.)
I think if we had a rec centre and possibly a chair lift we would be the place where a young family would prefer to raise their kids.I know everyone is going to scream that we can not afford these things, but I think we have to find a way.These things would also increase our chances of having a successfull tourism industry in our area.

Crowsnest Pass Home said...


Fair comments but it really is about money. Imagine if the Pass had $2.8 million a year coming in from the mines, almost anything would be possible.
Ninty per cent of this municipalities taxes comes from residential. So in simple terms 90%of any additional spending is financed by residential taxes.

If you have a look at the District of Elkford their Aquatic centre in 2009 cost $524,714 to operate, they brought in revenue of $71,803.
That means the taxpayers funded it to the tune of $452,911 or equivalent to an 8% tax increase in the Pass thats just for operational, what about capital cost?

Do you really believe that those Elk Valley communties would have all those amenities without the Mine Taxes.

Before anybody jumps on me, personally I would pay for a swimming pool. But its been pointed out to me numerous times that we have a lot of residents that are not so well off, would they be willing to pay?

`peter rosner said...

which paper are you referring to they aren't looking for some Municipal Advertising are they

Anonymous said...

Well I for one am not willing to pay any more.
Read John Pundyk's article in the paper today it tells you where taxes are going and its not down.


Anonymous said...

Dean can you give us the link for that tax sharing agreement in the Elk Valley?

Anonymous said...

A lot of coal miners live here why don't we ask the Elk Valley for a share.


Tom said...

Why don`t we ask Donald Trump for a loan?????

Anonymous said...

Dean couple of things could the Municipality do what Denise suggests I don't want to sound stupid but sometimes silly ideas lead to good ones.
Second thanks for the information $8.9 million a year to the Elk Valley sures casts some light on how those towns do so well. I never had any idea.