By Mike Archer. While Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz expressed surprise on CBC Radio this morning about Abbotsford council’s decision not to support a plan for a new transit route joining Chilliwack, Abbotsford and Langley, council’s decision was wise given the financial conctraints we continue to live within thanks to the multi-decade fallout from Plan A and the enormous financial commitments for which we continue to pay.
Mayor Banman is intent on spending what little political capital he has left in order to bring the matter back before council for another vote so that councillors John Smith and Bill MacGregor can perhaps sway the vote the way the mayor wants.
Banman reportedly said he was at a loss as to why the motion didn’t pass. Banman was also at a loss as to why his plan to give $17 million plus tax free status to the YMCA failed despite his vocal and incoherent support. As a neophyte politician, Banman seems stuck in the ‘spend’ mode which most politicians enjoy during the first phase of their careers. What better way to make friends than to spend money on them.
Unfortunately, since John Smith and former councillor Bruce Beck gave us Plan A (with the cheerful assesnt of councillors Patrica Ross, and Dave Loewen) and saddled us with as much as $500,000,000 in short, medium and long term debt and financial commitments, we haven’t got a dime left to spend on things like transit which might actually help the citizens of the city.
Councillor Ross, who loves nothing more spending other peoples’ money to get votes, and Dave Loewen, who prefers to let others do his reading for him, both agreed with Banman that the taxpayers ought to spend money they don’t have on this project.
Councillor Henry Braun, who seems to have taken on the role of the taxpayers’ hired grinch, pointed out to his spendthrift coleagues that Abbotsford is being asked to shoulder the largest share of the cost of this project and Langley appears to get the service for free.
While John Smith, the former president of the Friends of UFV, will likely be more than willing to spend more of his friends’ and neighbours’ money on another of his pet projects, we can only hope that Councillor MacGregor has heard the rumblings from his constituents about the money being spent by the City of Abbotsford.
City Manager George Murray is half way through the painful process of gutting the adminstrative staff contingent at City Hall in order to allow the City to begin to live within the means it is forced to accept due to the ridiculous spending of the last decade. Now that the piper must be paid it seems few of our politicians are up to the task of making the tough decisions their freinds and neighbours expect them to make when spending their money.
If UFV doesn’t get it’s shuttle they can thank John Smith for the multi-generational albatross he has hung around the neck of the taxpayers of Abbotsford.