Five councillors riding mayor’s bus, but we’d like to know who else will
Wednesday, Mar 20, 2013 03:03 pm
Is the Cochrane transit question a tempest in a teapot or a legitimate issue?
Are we being stampeded into a transit system beyond our means or are we judicious in our planning for the future?
It depends on who one talks to.
The mayor, and most of council according to him, are all on board on the need for public transit.
The mayor recently told a local seniors group that six of seven members of council (the mayor and five of six councillors) were on board for local transit.
Which is more of a testament of the mayor’s powers of persuasion than it is a legitimate debate.
I’ve always been intrigued with the mayor and council’s hang-up on always being on the same page.
If the mayor and six councillors are always on the same page, then five of the councillors are unnecessary.
What is public transit?
Is it a convenience for the few paid for by the many?
Is it designed to make travel easier for those without cars?
Is it designed to bring people to shopping areas?
In this debate it’s been said that one of the reasons we need transit into Calgary is that it would make it easier for local students to attend universities.
As if that’s my problem, or the problem of Cochrane taxpayers.
If a kid can’t figure out how to get to a Calgary institute of higher learning then they’re too dumb to be there.
There’s a growing feeling in town that public transit is already a mission accomplished.
The feeling is the mayor and elected officials have already decided we’re going to get it, needed or not.
Rightly or wrongly, many folks figure the transit issue is more of a legacy in the minds of local politicians than it is a basic necessity in Cochrane.
More than a few taxpayers find it interesting that in the options provided by the town, the option to not have such service simply wasn’t there.
So there will be questions, and so there should be.
Ask a councillor how it feels to be in the back pocket of the mayor.
Where else could they be if the mayor says he has five of six of them voting his way without even looking at final costs?
Would it bother you as an elected councillor to have the mayor say he’s in control and that’s just the way it is.
Mind you, the mayor did say that if taxpayers didn’t like what’s happening they could always elect a new council this October, and I believe they might.
But let’s find out now with a pretty simple question to the mayor.
Are you going to run for another term as mayor of Cochrane?
The bottom line with the whole transit issue is that taxpayers don’t know what’s really happening.
And they’d like to.
Eventually Cochrane will need some form of public transit and we all know that, but are we big enough now?
Do we have the taxation base?
Should a commute service to Calgary even be part of the discussion?
Does it make sense for taxpayers to subsidize a bus service taking shoppers to another city?
And how will such a service be paid for?
What are the percentages?
Is it 100 per cent of taxpayers paying for three per cent of the population using the service?
So rather than mayor and council using the town’s public relations staff to sell this whole transit scheme, why not try something truly unique?
Why not just present all the facts and let the facts sell the idea?
Unless mayor and council are concerned that if all the facts are known, perhaps taxpayers might not go for the idea.
And once again, mayor and council would all be on the same page and everyone would be very happy.
Mayor and council have much to do in this town before we have dial-a-buses running about.
Credibility is one, and it starts with transparency.