Custom Search
Top Stories
Go to Site Index See "Top Stories" main page
COMMENTARY · 30th January 2010
Walter McFarlane
Back in November, I was at the hospital when I ran into an old acquaintance . While we were talking, klaxons started to blare. Doctors and nurses quickened their pace and someone commented that this was the fire alarm. I started to make my way to the exit, something that has been ingrained into my mind since Kindergarten. However, I was the only one in the lobby heading for the door.

Later that month, I attended Fire Prevention Week. While I was interviewing Fire Chief John Klie, one of the things he talked about was that very subject.

He stated that they usually give the message out to the school kids and hopefully, they will take that message back to their parents. One of the key fire safety measures is to get out of the building if the fire alarm rings.

One of the lessons taught in school is that when the alarm goes, the kids have to stop whatever they are doing and leave the building. Klie stated that the Fire Department has been called to the mall or other public building on several occasions when alarms have been sounding, but people have remained in the building.

Unfortunately, this commentary has little to do with fires. It has everything klaxons, ignoring them and how we will pay because others ignore them.

The topic of the 2010 budget has been going back to the 2nd of November when Euorcan made their announcment and suddenly council found themselves around 4.6 million dollars short in 2011. As has been pointed out numerous times, the council is currently in debt. To make matters worse, during the 2009 budget process, they borrowed from quite a few of the District's funds so they could save the taxpayers' money.

During the process, several funds were borrowed from with the hope to be paid back in 2010. One fund that quickly drained during the budget process and was reduced to nothingness later on in the year was the fund to stop the erosion at Radley Park.

Now here we are in 2010. We have an announcment that the second largest industry in Kitimat could be closing it’s doors at the end of the month and although there is still plenty of opportunity to save Eurocan, Kitimat City Council has been asked to plan their budget for the worst. Each department has been asked to speak to Council and provide ways that they could reduce their budget.

So far, the Council has seen presentations from Emergency Services including the Fire Department and RCMP who both made it clear that if their budgets are cut, their response time increases and their level of service drops. Council also saw presentations from the City Planner and the Recreation Department suggesting how they could cut services. None of this is in stone… yet…

Red Alert has been called. The budget process has begun and Council has been given two options, cut services or raise taxes. If they cut services, they will be reducing the quality of life in Kitimat although it has been pointed out that the community has had it very good. If they raise taxes, the average home owner can expect to pay an additional $300 to make up for the loss of Eurocan. Although this might not be ideal to many people, Kitimat taxes will still be considered low compared to the rest of the province.

However, during the meeting of City Council for January 25th, Council made it clear that they still wish to keep their promises from the Budget 2009 capital projects even though they have been warned that rough seas lie ahead.

Interesting isn’t it, how those warning Klaxons are ignored?