The regional district board of directors were subjected to a scolding by an irate taxpayer from Area “G” during the Environment and Infrastructure Committee meeting at the regional district on March 17.
Flo Winfrey of Olalla, representing 125 taxpayers through a petition she presented, addressed the directors as a delegation with respect to curbside services in Electoral Area “G”.
The fiery and spirited senior delivered a passionate message to the directors, telling them that communication was lacking at the regional district level.
“Think of me as your mother, or gramma, as I have brought my wooden spoon with me, ” Winfrey said to the board, suddenly brandishing a wooden spoon from behind the podium and shaking it at them.
“I’m here to protest the rising cost of garbage collecting in the regional district, especially Area “G”, she told the board, adding that they exhibited an “ arrogant lack of respect of the taxpaying public.” She also asked the committee what kind of monopoly had been created out of the current contract for collection of regional district household waste.
Winfrey offered a number of suggestions as to how board directors might improve communications to their constituents, adding that the addition of cameras in the boardroom would allow people to tune in to board meetings on “channel 18”. She then offered the petition, stating that it indicated Olalla’s rejection of the proposed garbage contract.
“This exhorbitant increase in fees is totally unacceptable,” she concluded.
Area “C” Director Allan Patton appreciated Winfrey’s passion, taking exception to her suggestion that the directors were arrogant. He assured her that the board was concerned with the garbage rates and had dealt heavily with the matter.
“I believe personally that the cost of collection should be borne at purchase point – the fee structure, the cost assessment is wrong – we have been looking at other ways of doing this.”
“Well, when you go astray, someone has to ring your bell, I’m here to do it,” Winfrey responded.
Keremeos Director Walter Despot reminded Winfrey that as far as communication went, his regular “coffee with the mayor” sessions went virtually unattended. He also noted that garbage collection costs in 2002 were roughly the same as today, without the benefit of recyclable collection.
“It costs more in Area “G” because of the distance involved in collection,” he concluded.
“That’s the price you pay for living there.”
Area “F” Michael Brydon observed that the committee had looked at this issue five months ago, noting that different areas in the regional district had various problems with collection services offered.
“We need to get past the idea of universal service – it’s (an idea) that’s not serving anyone well,” he said.