Letter: Referendum should be amended to have service area include only Gabriola

Wednesday, February 10 2016

This letter is in response to those people (some rude, and others not), who objected to my opinion that Mudge and DeCourcy islanders should not be saddled with paying a tax (through a purposefully poorly communicated, and severely flawed, referendum process) that is for a transit service only available on Gabriola. 

This referendum is flawed and should be voted down, until the “service area” is amended to only include Gabriola, and not all of Area B. While I fully support and pay substantial taxes levied for servicing the broader good such as ferry service, schools, parks and hospitals etc., which, by the way, we all have accessed (or have an expectation of accessing), I do not support taxing outer islanders for GERTIE. 

Gabriola Island taxpayers (i.e., all of Area B) are exempt from contributing taxes for municipal transit in Nanaimo (because the service does not have routes to or through Gabriola), yet somehow it was unilaterally decided at the RDN that Mudge and Decourcy islanders should be taxed for GERTIE. 

Outer islanders who may use GERTIE should just pay a fare, exactly the way Gabriola/Area B users of Nanaimo’s municipal transit simply pay a fare. 

But outer islanders have been included in funding GERTIE, probably because the cost of the service is too high and unsustainable without our outer island tax base. 

I can only hope, when the time comes that our little islands need similar tax support, that Gabriola Islanders are as generous with spending their tax dollars as they are with spending ours. 

~ John Mallett

Mudge Island