There you have it. I knew I could write about this in my blog without the backlash that controversial opinions regenerate in Facebook.
While people are still hashing over whether they will vote yes or no to the referendum, or publicly debating their reasons one way or the other, it is getting tense and ugly.
I always have been in favour of the old library getting moved to a better building, and if they obtain (or if the Regional District obtains) “521 Main Street”, there will also be space for the Robson Valley Museum and Archives. It will be a cultural centre and place for community activities, at times more suited than the actual Community Centre across town.
Even though I’ll be happy if this vote ends in favour of the procurement of 521 Main, I have had to undergo a “process”. When a significantly sized group of citizens were lobbying for this exact change last year and the year before, everyone was swearing that NO funds would be obtained from taxation. Even then I thought, “They have already secured all the grants they need, they say. Where do they think that WE think grants come from?”.
There was all of this hew and cry about private donation being so significant, and indignation when people in the committee were questioned. If one asked questions at all, one was labelled, “… against the library.”. The municipal government of the day wanted more facts, with figures, and didn’t get the answers they required. They were also labelled “… against the library.”.
When I heard that there would be a community meeting to explain the referendum ahead, called an “Assent Vote” now, I thought I should attend. I admit that I went in with, at least figuratively, arms folded and a surly attitude. The question I had was, “At what point do ‘you people’ apologize for swearing that this project would not affect our taxes, and say that you were wrong but this is the new reality?”.
I didn’t ask my question publicly, but one of the steering committee came very close to saying that they were sorry, that the original fundraising and the grant applications didn’t work, and that the cost of the Regional District buying the best building would INDEED be reflected in our taxes, and for 25 years. One of the speakers said that they would still apply for grants and do some fundraising, but this would not affect the rate at which people would be taxed for the initial purchase, renovations and some operating costs.
My attitude morphed into a more unqualified approval. Many folks smarter than I stood up to ask questions and nit-picked the “feasibility study” which had been handed out. Some of the speakers were a little more maudlin and long-winded and repetitive than they needed to be. A voice in my head averred, “You’ve pitched your case, let’s go home.”. At what was promising to be the end of the evening, an acquaintance stood up and related a long, sappy story about seniors who would rather renovate the library and gather there with friends than “die in front of the TV alone”. That was too much, and I fled the meeting.
I’m still in favour of the plan, and not of any of the alternatives. I voted “Yes”, and now I just want it to proceed and be done with it. I was at the point that, if anyone else was in my face (or in the mail) pitching the “Yes” vote for the referendum, I might have gone the other way! I don’t like to be told what to do, let alone over and over and over.
Have a good day!