I attended both Colwood all-candidate meetings on Nov. 2, spending half the time at the meeting sponsored by the West Shore Chamber of Commerce, and the remainder at the meeting organized by the Concerned Citizens Coalition.
I am still annoyed that the candidates supported the scheduling of two concurrent meetings forcing taxpayers to choose which to attend — what were they and the organizers trying to do, create a political rally to support their opinions rather than providing an opportunity for open debate between all candidates?
I agree that there may be valid concerns about perceived conflict of interest, and questionable controls over the expenditure of public funds, especially in relation to the $3.9 million Solar Colwood grant.
The financial reports on the Colwood website indicate, in my opinion, an unreasonable increase, during the last two council terms, in the cost of general government services and the number and total salary payments to staff earning over $75,000.
Is this at the expense of reducing levels of front line and support staff? Excessive increases in bureaucracy seem to be today’s norm in all levels of government.
At the same time we hear the development community complaints of delays and poor service from City of Colwood.
We see significant changes in Langford, but many delayed and cancelled development projects in Colwood. And we are spending a lot of taxpayer money to promote and administer a program that requires individuals that qualify for grants to expend a significant amount of money with questionable returns.
We are at a critical point in Colwood. The recent announcement of a $50 million budget for a new high school, the Colwood Corners project, and the Royal Bay development all provide excellent opportunities to make Colwood a major player in determining the future of the West Shore region.
For council to work effectively, we need to choose moderate candidates who can work as a team, in spite of differences of opinion, to achieve significant progress in Colwood while ensuring maximum value for every taxpayer dollar spent.
We don’t need candidates who have hidden agendas or are confrontational.