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LETTER: community needs to get involved in planning Rossland's future, two-tier taxation should help pay for it.

Dear editor,

I would like to commend the Telegraph's discussion with Nelson and Creston on their recreation infrastructure improvements and resultant tax increases. These were very timely considering Rosslands problem with our arena roof,  i.e. 'should council have commenced studies on whether to take up the grant of $400K to repair the arena roof?'

My thoughts on this are both for and against. There has to be some glue that keeps people in Rossland (and attracts more resident taxpayers--hopefully young) .

That glue is primarily our schools, our outstanding recreation facilities, and that this is a superior location to raise a family. There are undoughtedly other valid reasons. All of the above should go without saying, but I need to state it because we often hear the criticism that our taxes are too high! If we had large industry in town they would contribute to our tax base, and residents would pay less. I submit that we all willingly pay a heavier tax bill for the privalege of our healthier, non-stressed community.

With this in mind we must find the Best (and least costly) method of rebuilding or building our arena. To lose our skating/hockey/curling is unthinkable. Past councils have studied the maintenance problem and acted to the best of their ability, with the finances available. Because it is such a thorny task, major renovations have been left on the shelf for a later council to handle. I suggest that it is now timely that,led by the cities planning staff, we need the the resident taxpayers' input to decide the future of the arena. How we going to manage any renovation rebuild? What is it going to cost the city? How it will affect our tax bills?

Many of us do not actively use the arena facilities. BUT if we want young families, schools, shopping centres, doctors and all our related support services, we must pay attention to the reasons for them to come and reside here, and the arena is high on that list.

When the city planning staff can present residents with financial alternatives, a referendum should be held for our decisions on how much debt load we are willing to accept.

This is the way we handled our water supply situation, also the extension of infrastruture to Red Mountain and incorporation of the area--incidentally resulting in Cenntenial Trail and the commencement of our trail system.

These large infrastructure decisions are too far-reaching and serious to expect that we should allow a mayor and six council members to shoulder the whole responsibility (and then keep criticising them).

Recently we have seen a substantial build out of condominiums at Red Mountain and many dark houses in Rossland. Now, the owners of these properties are mostly out of town and are only interested in a few days occupancy for themselves. Their main interest is financial gain, both from rentals and resale. These taxpayers are irrelevant to what happens as they are not interested in Rosslands future as a community to really live in. Because they pay no part in a vibrant community, just profit, I advocate a two-tier taxable community. This to help finance our recreation infrastucture.

RESIDENT TAXPAYERS OF ROSSLAND MUST TAKE CONTROL OF OUR FUTURE, AND OUR CHILDRENS FUTURE. WE MUST ACCEPT THE RESPOSIBILITY THAT A DEMOCRATIC COMMUNITY HAS IN TAKING DECISIONS. NOT ONLY PAYING PROPERTY TAXES.

With city council and professionals, and with the Telegraph to keep us informed, we must ALL make efforts to ensure Rossland's future.

Seasons greetings together with plenty of snow,

Dave Butler