Ms. Anne Thrope: A Screen Door On A Submarine

Look out! Low bridge! The new budget for Revelstoke is rocketing toward completion and will undoubtedly take taxes along for the ride. You can’t say we were not warned that the property taxes and service charges would balloon this year.

Weekend Harley rider and live model for the A&W dashboard bobble head doll in the ’56 Buddy Burger commercial, Mayor Mark McKee said almost two years ago that the levy increase would be above 4%; especially since previous budgets barely covered the cost of inflation.
In this age of booming economies 4+ is not much; ask somebody from Vancouver. However, it’s 50% more than we’ve grown to be comfortable with it. “You can pay me later or you can pay me now scenario”. We can’t blame Mayor McBuddy for not being up front on this one. It’s the price of progress.

One of the main casualties in rapid growth is the availability of affordable housing. The average price for a single family bungalow is passing the $450K mark and continuing to climb. Is that too much for a town this size?

I had a recent chat with a professional technician at our hospital who said if she and not purchased some years she’d never be able to live in the Stoke….renting or buying.

I was also informed that the number of vacant positions in her field in B. C. is heading toward 100. Apparently many of the techs head to Alberta where the same position draws 30% more in wages. You might want to ask Interior Health, ‘howcum’. Add professional health technicians to the list of police, teachers, service industry workers and most labours who can’t afford the Stoke.

So, how to deal with orbiting rental and purchasing prices? See Click Fix ain’t gonna’ do it.
Prices go up when the supply goes down. It’s a solid equation. Much to its credit, City Council is toying with the idea of doing something concrete about vacation rentals which turn homes into businesses and ultimately shrink the availability of affordable housing.

Our City Fathers and Mothers are investigating the possibility of digital surveillance for illegal vacation rentals by hiring an online monitoring service. The goal of this is to track those offering vacation accommodations on the net, allowing the City to check and determine who is legal and for those who aren’t licensed.

Vacation rental enforcement (like many municipal bylaws) is complaint driven. You have to rat on your neighbour or not much gets done. Can’t we do something with more teeth in it than ‘complaint driven’?  It makes as much sense as a screen door on a submarine.

Breaking News; marijuana sales for recreational use are coming to Revelstoke. I’ll give you a moment to catch your breath after your uncontrollable outburst of laughter. To be sure pot has always been available for playtime in this town just like any other. It just isn’t legal, yet.

It looks like this summer will see applications to City Hall for store front sales of Mary Jane. Council will go through a public consultation process, consideration of Provincial and Federal guidelines, the required analysis of applications then the final choice, another bag of bureaucratic snakes. It makes you almost wonder if it wouldn’t be a lot easier to leave it illegal, although that could make this town an even bigger Paradise for shady dealers.

I have a question. Since many are complaining how long it takes to get a building permit, how long will it take to get a license to sell B.C. bud?

I’m not going to extol the virtues or evils of weed. It’s been done, like dinner in a lumber camp but will supply coffee klatches with something to talk about other than trains, cars, their spouses and the price of real estate.

PET PEEVE OF THE MONTH: Now that I don’t ski anymore; snow. Sorry, RMR.

Yours in cynical sarcasm,

Ms. Anne Thrope