People need say on town hall

Reader has concerns, beginning with the cost, of Central Saanich town hall project

I am writing to voice my opposition to the proposed $16-million Central Saanich municipal hall. I have concerns, beginning with the cost. Really? $16 million for a new city hall? Surely there are better uses and higher priorities for that money. How about roads? Streetlights? Sidewalks?

Then there is the increase in our property taxes. An average Central Saanich homeowner with a $500,000 house currently pays about $1,500 for the municipal portion of their property taxes. They will have to pay an additional $100 a year for 25 years for the project. That is on top of $80 a year for 25 years they will be paying for the new $9-million firehall still under construction. Then there’s the $50 a year for the projected increase in the municipal budget. Add it all up and you have a total tax increase of $230 a year — or nearly 15 per cent!

A 15 per cent increase in property taxes? That’s crazy.

Finally, I’m concerned voters won’t have a say. Council approved the $9 million firehall without going to referendum. Instead, it used the alternative approval process (AAP) where taxpayers didn’t get a chance to vote but had to voice their opposition. Central Saanich council is considering using the AAP again with the proposed city hall.

I can’t imagine not going to referendum on this large expenditure. But it could happen.

Ron Norman

Brentwood Bay