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 http://www.elkford.ca/modules/news/newsitem.php?ItemId=7