Last Thursday’s meeting of the regional district board was also the last meeting of the term for this group of directors, as last Saturday’s civic election has resulted in a change of roughly half of the board members.
It’s too bad it couldn’t have ended on a more conciliatory note. Instead, the board bogged down in the politics of parochialism, and an important decision was deferred to a new board who will be even less qualified to make the right decision.
A debate that has already gone on for two meetings related to where the regional district should spend roughly 4.2 million dollars in gas tax funding.
The board is split, with one side wishing to put the money towards trail development in the region.
Others would like to see it applied to a number of municipal projects, most of which are related to our water supply or towards energy efficiency upgrades.
The decision should not be too difficult to make. As local government continues to struggle to fund infrastructure needs, things like trail development look more and more like frivolous amenities. In short, in times of poor economic performance, the focus of the board should be on improving regional necessities, not towards funding luxuries like recreational trails.
It is highly doubtful that the regional district will develop a world class trail that will be a regional economic driver anytime soon. There are enough interested people in the area to keep the initiative moving along – albeit slowly – with whatever regional assistance help is available.
But that help – especially financial help – should not be significant until other, more important items are addressed.