Candidate Questions 3: Should Rossland seek to expand its population and tax base?
One perrenial issue here in town is our rather anaemic tax base. Trail has Teck, whose taxes heavily subsidize life down the hill. Rossland, on the other hand, has no industry and no large employers other than the seaonal Red Resort. As our recreation programs face funding challenges, we asked the candidates, “Should Rossland maintain or expand its current population and tax base? What strategies would you advocate?”
SHARON WIEDER: Rossland would benefit greatly from supporting the current trend of young families moving into town. This strategy would include ensuring amenities are expanded by encouraging business growth that would support those amenities as well as offer new businesses that would bring in tourism.
JODY BLOMME: An increase in population and tax base comes as the market can bear it. To build before they come would not help Rossland.
DAVID KLEIN: I like the size of Rossland so it would be nice to not increase the population too much. I think people are wanting to live closer to services so they can walk to the post office and grocery store, so I think increased density would help this movement. I would advocate increasing housing density tastefully and tactfully! As far as tax base it would be nice to have a few more medium size employers in the Rossland area.
LAURIE CHARLTON: Rossland’s population will be influenced mainly by the availability of local, well paying, jobs. Without jobs, there won’t be much change in population. However, there is a cost to having more people in town as additional infrastructure, social and safety services are demanded by the additional population. If the additional population can be accommodated by in-fill development that does not require expansion of infrastructure, or expansion of other services, there may be some benefit to an expanded population. Based on current trends throughout the province, it is unlikely that Rossland, like virtually all rural communities, will see any significant population growth in the foreseeable future. Expansion of the tax base would also be beneficial if it did not result in additional expense to maintain additional infrastructure. A comparison of incremental revenues and incremental costs resulting from the development that has taken place in the last few years shows a significant net cost to the City. That additional cost reflects itself in the extremely high, and rising, per capita tax level that exists in Rossland. Realistic development that does not result in sprawl and increased costs to the City should be welcomed with opened arms.
KATHY WALLACE: Gradual growth is necessary. The residential units at Red now supply approximately 20% of Rossland’s residential taxbase. These units are experiencing a slow change from secondary homes to full-time residences and becoming a neighbourhood. Strategies supporting affordability are key – which means that expectations of inhabitants, construction industry habits and city requirements need to better align.
Please click here to learn more about each of these candidates and their views.