Editor’s note: This is a letter Squamish mayor and council. It was copied to The Chief for publication.
Squamish currently faces a 12 per cent tax increase, which will apparently only be eased this year by spending valuable contingency funds.
The budget may ultimately include a line item of $1.5 million for a Brennan Park Fitness Centre/Gym (this year or later), which must necessarily after that incur serious ongoing costs for staffing (likely several times the lowball figure in the Parks and Recreation Master Plan).
I attach a rough spreadsheet (which I invite The Chief to summarize), showing that Squamish is already incredibly over-served with excellent existing fitness gyms and centres of all kinds, from major strength and aerobic facilities, to large and small specialty facilities.
This is a reality that strongly contradicts the early, unsupported opinion of the outside consultant that Squamish needs another fitness facility at district cost.
Municipal services are by their nature intended to provide services that competitive private business cannot provide; hence we pay taxes for everything from water and sewer, from libraries to ice rinks, from pools to playing fields… because not even one private business can provide these essential social services.
Through the entrepreneurial spirit and ongoing sacrifices of dozens of local businesspeople, however, we are blessed with an over-abundance of private fitness facilities, already offering superb service.
There are so many other things, not only including serious infrastructure problems with water and sewer, but also including other recreation needs, that are falling behind in either capacity or maintenance, for which we should be using the money instead.
I’d also like to mention how unfair it must seem to our struggling business community that taxpaying entrepreneurs with a dream for their own business would be put out of business by an unnecessary municipal duplication.
Particularly since this budget item duplicates services already provided in abundance in Squamish, and jeopardizes hard-working private businesses already providing better service, this is a good item to be put to a referendum in the municipal election of November 2014.
Then, in the manner of a proper business plan which does not exist now, if sufficient numbers are committed to paying for this facility either through drop-in/monthly subscription or their taxes, and feel that it’s really OK for the municipality to compete with existing businesses, it could still go ahead.