Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Moose Jaw Multiplex Referendum- February 25, 2009

An Open Letter to the Citizens of Moose Jaw:

The time has come to vote, and yet there are many questions regarding the multiplex that remain unanswered.

For example, why did the Moose Jaw Chamber of Commerce send its members a letter encouraging them to vote YES on the multiplex? Isn’t a Chamber of Commerce supposed to be unbiased towards a referendum question?

Furthermore, why would Moose Jaw’s City Council continue to blindly press forward on building a new multiplex despite the start of a worldwide economic recession? Saskatchewan’s stability in the fragile economy is temporary at best. This is not a time for luxuries; this money could give our citizens so much more.

As of December 31st, 2007, the City of Moose Jaw had zero debt and no interest payments, but as of February 2009, Moose Jaw City Council has voted to borrow $63 million. Borrowing this sum will cost the City of Moose Jaw approximately $2.5 million in annual interest payments (the equivalent of a 16.25% municipal tax increase). Of the $63 million debt, $38.3 million is allocated to the multiplex, and the remainder is allocated to more pressing infrastructure upgrades.

Just think of what $38.3 million could do for the citizens of this city.

The most common argument that I hear for the multiplex is that it is progress, but exactly what is progress considered to be? Is it having paved roads that welcome tourists to our city? Is it upgrades to the hospital? Is it adding bike lanes to our streets and investing in renewable energy technology? Or is progress building a multiplex?

I am greatly concerned by the division in our community that the multiplex has created. It is hard to bring up the subject in the community because you never know if you are going to offend someone. Supporters of both sides of the issue have very strong feelings. This kind of division is not conducive to a healthy community. Has this multiplex been worth the damage it has already caused to our city?

For now, democracy will decide if we can put the multiplex behind us and begin to rebuild our community spirit instead. Moose Javians, don’t forget to vote!


Larissa Shasko

Former Green Party of Canada Candidate for Palliser

No comments: