Fair: “Treating people equally without favouritism or discrimination” (Oxford Dictionaries)
Unfair:” not based on or behaving according to the principles of equality and justice” (Oxford Dictionaries)
In light of the recent voting in council chambers, and the subsequent explanations for the motivations behind said positions by Mayor Kirkham, and Councilors Race and Sanders; I felt that I may be missing something, and felt the need to understand their arguments.
This started with a review of the definition of unfair, as it was the unfairness of the way that the proponent (Mr. Cheema) was being treated that motivated some to try to correct the injustice.
While it was said to be unfair to the owner of said lots that they could not be added to the developable land base within Squamish, I wondered just how was it unfair?
I could only come up with arguments to support the idea that this amendment to the OCP is unfair to other landowners and taxpayers in Squamish, through a massive wealth transfer to this individual from owners of undeveloped lots and every single taxpayer in Squamish.
Other arguments for the removal of the cap were downright fictitious. In no particular order; we are taking away the landowners right to develop the land in the future (just plain untrue as the landowner may develop the land in the future as he knows), housekeeping (deceptive), leveling the playing field (erroneous), need to be transparent (distorted).
This issue has been addressed by many and I am glad we had four councilors that saw past the subterfuge.
But what should strike a councilor as unfair? How about the current system of taxation.
We the community cannot afford to service single family subdivisions at the current rate that they are taxed at. These types of dwellings are being subsidized by all other forms of premises in Squamish whether they be commercial, or higher density residential.
Industrial used to do a lot of the heavy lifting to support this type of development, but through various councils over the past decade or so we have managed to remove any land that could be suitable for industrial uses and replace it with a variation of residential and light commercial without the corresponding system of taxation to pay for it all.
Large tracts of land occupied with single family lots cost more to service; bus routes are longer, water and sewer lines are longer, roads to resurface and clear the snow from are longer, lighting at night takes more energy.
The listing of the ways that these types of premises are a burden to other tax payers in Squamish is long.
I would love to read a defense of “in struck me as unfair” or any of the other absolutely ridiculous excuses that were put forward in support of this motion.
And while there may have been no overt corruption in the three above mentioned elected officials exploiting their democratic right to overrule the public’s wishes and staff’s recommendations, I would put forward a case for corruption of thought, of values and moral fibre.