OUT OF LEFT FIELD: Why a 'yes' vote is critical to Castlegar's health
Some of the most common complaints I’ve heard from Castlegar residents include: There are no family doctors taking patients; we don’t have any big box stores like Costco, Walmart, etc; there are no jobs for my adult kids so they’re moving to a larger centre, downtown is unsightly and has too few businesses, and; there’s nothing to do here.
In light of that, I can’t begin to imagine why anyone would even consider a ‘no’ vote in the upcoming referendum (June 23) to upgrade and expand our recreation facilities.
You don’t use the Complex?
Doctors with young families contemplating coming here will want team sports and swimming for their kids, not to mention exercise options for themselves, so this expansion will help attract them. Not only do most people need doctors – if they never use the Complex, they may well need a doctor more those who do avail themselves of the facilities.
When big box companies choose new communities in which to open their doors, they consider things like: how much of the population is comprised of young families? Are there enough young workers to ensure a vibrant workforce? Is the community statistically on the upswing, or stagnant and struggling? Are there enough amenities for our employees towant to live there, if relocated?
A vibrant and appealing recreation centre is relevant to all of those questions.
You may not use the Complex, but I bet you shop on occasion. I bet you know people who would like more ready access to employment. If your beef is paying more taxes, I’ll remind you that every time some new business, family or developer is attracted to invest in our city, they become part of the tax base, thus reducing the tax burden on the rest of us.
To those who took up the battle cry against council because of the sorry state of our downtown in previous years … council can’t force companies to set up shop here, they have to draw them, lure them, even. And this expansion is exactly how to do just that.
A healthy municipality is a living, breathing, interconnected entity, much like a human body insofar as poor health and atrophy in one system will necessarily impact the other parts of the larger body. Saying ‘no’ to the upgrades just because you don’t use the Complex is like putting a bandaid on your kid’s owie, then neglecting to feed him/her. (Read: it’s not only short-sighted, but also kind of stupid, and proof of bad stewardship).
But most of all, worst of all, ask yourself what kind of message it sends to potential investors (businesses, services, families, other levels of government, all) in our beautiful city.
The message is simple: Even the city’s own residents don’t feel Castlegar is a good investment.
That’s a truly catastrophic, damaging message, and one I think will have economic and social repercussions for decades to come.
It’s time to stop complaining and put your money where your mouth is.
I support a ‘yes’ vote in the recreation expansion referendum.