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  • Turry From Town Get Stuffed
    October 20, 2012 - 11:50

    How can you be so shallow and shortminded......wait now you must be a relative of either Duff or O'Leary are you? Do you honestly think that people in St. John's do not do the same thing to Mount Pearl? Are you that naive to think that people who live in St. John's do not go to Coleman's for groceries or to Kent's in Mount Pearl, or to Dominion in Mount Pearl? I am a resident of St. John's and to be completely honest with you I do most of my shopping at Pearlgate with the odd venture to Costco, as for work I WORK in Mount Pearl and I drive to my HOME in St. John's, and there are a fine many more besides me who do the same thing.

  • carogers
    October 19, 2012 - 11:19

    Many years ago, my father would repeatedly say there should be a toll booth at the enterance of city limits for commuters who drive into the city. I will go one further, I believe next to that toll booth should be a secure parking lot with a metro bus depo, and a depo for the provincial bus service and taxi stands. This central public transportation center will allow better flow of people to and from the city who want to get jobs visit doctors or just visit the city. This way we will reduce the congestion in the city, the gas emissions will be lower, and drivers have a safe place to leave their vehicle and can park and ride, people without cars can get to the city via provincial bus then travel around using public transprtation. The service fee will support such a program, the local taxi company will get a boost as it opens a new customer base, and residents from smaller communities WITHOUT vehicles can access services and secure jobs unavailable in their rural area without the hardship of uprooting themselves and having to find an apt in town(for which there are no affordable rental units) This is very doable; it is done on Long Island, NY and Costa de Sol, Spain and many other Islands or costal communities. Toll booths are common place in other places and ferry service is as reliable as hopping on the cross town bus. Bringing transportation services together to ensure people canget to work has been addressed and successfully works else where. It can work here. I took a ferry in Spain to Tanger in Northern Africa at 8am and returned on the evening ferry, caught a bus and was back at my hotel for supper. That was 35 years ago.

  • PETER L
    October 19, 2012 - 08:45

    TURRY, I do understand your point, and maybe the best approach is a poll tax on those who live outside St. John's but work inside. A toll would never work as tolls are used to pay for highways everywhere else, and can you imagine the traffic tie ups at peak hours. On another point too, amalgamation will not really solve the problems related to road wear and tear etc. The tax monies from outlying areas will still have to serve to keep those areas operating. Many outlying areas lack water & sewer, paved roads, need major upgrades on existing roads, need recreational facalities, fire services and much more, so those tax monies will never fix St. John's problems. This can been seen when St. John's took over the Goulds and other areas and the dollars spend bringing these areas up to standard, and are still being spent. Also, grants for roads works, operating grants etc. will actually decrease to the overall area, you should look at the structure to see this. There is no simple answer, and amalgamation isn't the answer, bigger isn't always better, but a poll tax would be the best way for outsiders to pay their fair share. How do I know? I was involved in the amalgamation study back in the 90's and been involved in this sort of thing for 30 years. Pat answers like amalgamation and tolls are not what they look like on the surface, but there are solutions for St. John's to recover costs associated associated with commuters, the easiest is a poll tax.

  • Turry from town
    October 18, 2012 - 17:44

    You missed the point again Pete. See if I can make it as simple as I can. We get grants yes,based on population size.So larger centers because of high population get more than smaller centers with smaller populations.More tax money comes out of St.John's so more money goes back in.That is reasonable,so that point does not stand.No brainer.All the government buildings such as Confederation Bldg. get city service in lew of grants,but the grants are miniscule,very small for what they receive.You can move the Confederation bldg to your town,people drive into your town,use your services,pay no taxes,and you will be in the same situation as St.John's.Money that is spent by outsiders like you at Costco for example,only puts more profit in their pocket.They pay business tax.And they set up in St.John's based on a population of over 100,000.Everything else is gravy for Costco,not St.john's.Costco is not like Maries MiniMart and set up on every corner.They only go to large major cities. However Pete,it is not you I want to pay their share,once again,it is the people and business who live just outside the boundaries of St.John's,who commute here for work everyday,use our services,and pay nothing.They benifit from St.John's more than we benifit from them,and if I am wrong,then amalgamate the NE Avalon,and we will benifit from what we all have to contribute together.

  • Gordon Gekko
    October 18, 2012 - 17:25

    Rush-hour tolls on the major roads leading into and out of St. John's might be a good idea. Monday-Friday, between 7 and 10am and 4 and 7pm.

  • PETER L
    October 18, 2012 - 11:19

    TULLY, get your facts straight, first they are not tax evaders, look up the term, use use it far too loosely. And again, maybe you never venture outside the capital, but many more do. They do the same outside as people from inside do, use the infrastructure of other towns. You you may not believe it, but most business people in St. John's will tell you that many dollars, in the millions are spent in St. John's by commuters. Also, the city get millions of tax dollars in various grants, subsidies and cost sharing that come from all over Newfoundland, from my tax dollars, and I don't use roads in the capital more than three time a year, and for a very short period of time. Too bad you only see what you want to see, a very narrow view supported by nothing.

  • Robb
    October 18, 2012 - 09:30

    Really, the only people who don't want amalgamation are the people leaching off the city, period. You can come up with all your short stories about this or about that, but you really want the cake and eat it too. Many of my co-workers do this...some lived as far away as Clarke's Beach, and they would do the big commute twice a day....I really don't know how they afford the gas....anyway, they certainly took advantage of the city, while paying lower taxes in Clarke's Beach.......St. John's should be the entire north east Avalon, spanning from Holyrood to Ferryland to Cape St. Francis.....one municipal council with representation from each area, and cut out the many tiers of municipal governments......of course they want to protect their jobs, as this is one of the main reasons against amalgamation.

  • Turry from town
    October 18, 2012 - 09:29

    PETER,people can live where they like.I make my point again. My municipal tax dollars pay for the roads etc... in St.John's. My provincial tax dollars pay for the roads and highways that surround communities that I never see or drive on.So I am paying double for people like you.People who live outside do not pay any form of tax for the roadwork in St.John's that they use on a regular basisPeople who come to town on a daily basis to go to work,or pedal their wares,not once in a blue moon,should have to pay a road tax.They spend their money in their own town,and not St.John's,unless they have to,and that is another benifit for them by living so close.If you look at the major roads coming into St.John's,the large majority of traffic is going one way,into St.John's to work etc.. in the morning,out of St.John's to home in the evening.Once they get here,it is my tax dollars that pay for the roads.So they are getting a free ride my friend.They are called tax evaders.

  • John
    October 18, 2012 - 08:43

    I live on the Southern Shore and yes I work in St. John's I also buy my gas in St. John.s, buy at least 90% of my groceries in St. John's buy my prescriptions in the city, etc. About 20 years ago, the province forced amalgamation on the Halifax region It was nothing but a money grab. The city took fire trucks that volunteer fire departments had raised money to buy and in turn gave the volunteer departments their trucks that were out dated, taxes increased for most, if not all other communities, service went down considerably and now they are looking at how they can untangle the mess they made . Amalgamation isn't all it seems to be except for the city who gets everything

  • PETER L
    October 16, 2012 - 11:51

    TURRY, First you make the comment that your tax pays for the provincial highways, insinuating that we outside St. John's do not, but our taxes pay for those provincial highways too. That's why they are called provincial, and not city. As I have pointed out to you many times, St. John's citizens travel on roads and use facilities outside the city boundries. I neither work or live in the city, and I do not want to be amalgated with it. I venture into the city to visit my family from time to time, that is all, all my shopping is done out in CBS and Paradise. I did live in the city, never liked it, and moved out when I was of age to do so as I like larger lots and better living. I'm dead set against any form of amalgamation. It's well know to all that whenever the city takes over an area, the taxes go up and the services go down. When my parents pass on, I'll seldom venture into the city, only if I have to.

  • rs
    October 16, 2012 - 08:34

    James there are certainly costs associated with suburbs, however, many of the points you make in your argument are provincial matters. The hospitals, most social programs (those that are city funded only benefit St. John's residents), even the vast majority of museums are provincial and are therefore supported by the entire province. Even more so with the schools which are all funded by higher level governments. I disagree with the assessment that other municipalities avoid providing services because St. John's offers them. Mount Pearl, Paradise and CBS all provide places of recreation (sport facilities, live theatres, walk trails etc...) and all have some form of health care facilities. Turry, perhaps you have some argument that outsiders do not pay for the roads to be cleared in the City (at least those that are city controller ie. not the outer ring). But it is not a one way flow of traffic into the city all the time. Residents of St. John's frequently visit places in the greater northeast avalon on a daily basis and use other communities roads. Plus what a poor attitude you have to believe that you have the right to live in St. John's and call it home (which I respect) but then suggest that others be branded with the St. John's label, even though they were born and raised in their respective communities. I'm not suggesting amalgamation is bad. The problem with the idea is that taxes will jump drastically for many areas of the northeast avalon while there services decrease drastically. Hence why I suggested a regional plan as it puts in the foundation for perhaps amalgamation down the road.

  • Solomon
    October 15, 2012 - 20:20

    Amalgamation! Really a no brainer, only small time politicians with private agendas holding it up. Lets get on with it for the good of the whole region and the province.

  • Turry from town
    October 15, 2012 - 18:07

    RS,I think you msised the point.However I will ask you, How much money does a person from outside pay for snowclearing?or any roadwork for that matter?to get them to work,hospital,mun,confederation bldg etc etc etc....my taxes pay for that,and my taxes pay for the provincial highways you use once your outside St.John's.So I am paying your way around. I chose to live here because I was born here,and I work here,and I like it here. Why should I have to move to evade taxes,like you do?I am a contributer,you are not.So amalgamation will make sure that I am not paying for you,and you are not leaching off me.

  • James
    October 15, 2012 - 15:19

    RS - actually it well documented in literature on urban planning how suburbs cost cities in multiple ways. Because suburbs are able to limit their populations to the middle and upper-class residents (most homes being limited to detached owner-occupied), they do not need to spend as much in support services for at risk residents. Cities need to spend more on policing, social support programs, and aging infrastructure. Furthermore, cities are typically cultural, medical, and educational centres. So, unlike in the suburbs, city governments face greater pressure and spending on museums, stadiums, non-profit facilities, parks, health care centres, trade schools and universities. Suburban governments frequently get away with paying for basic infrastructure, while limiting their tax bases to families with money, and while avoiding providing any of the necessities of healthy and sustainable lifestyles. Suburbs are a huge economic drain on cities across North America. Read Howard Kunstler, Philip Langdon, Robert Beuka, even Jane Jacobs. Just because we don't like to admit the fact the suburbs are like leeches, doesn't give us the right to dismiss and ignore the reality.

    • c
      October 18, 2012 - 11:52

      I lived in Ottawa just as amalgamation started. People complained all the time. At first it was a headache, as municipal government grew too much and they never got rid of redundant jobs as promise. Unions made sure of that. But after time you got to see the real benefits of one larger city. More focused funding from the province which leads to larger projects and more jobs. Infrastructures improved greatly as so do did the transportation system. It’s funny to come back after 12 years and now see the same growing pains as once in Ottawa. If done fairly, amalgamation can work. We got to starting thinking long term.

  • RS
    October 15, 2012 - 13:45

    Problem with your assertment Turry is that you assume everyone benefits from amalgamation. First and foremost the residents of St. John's choose to pay higher taxes for the luxury of living close to their work and recreation/shopping areas, not to m. If you do not wish to have that luxury and pay lower taxes move to another communitiy. The only real burden that residents have on St. John's is the road system. There is no service that the city provides in which residents of the North East Avalon do not pay for. Amalgamation can be beneficial, the problem is that residents outside of St. John's are likely to see little benefit from increased taxes. A better plan would be a regional planning board that has legal authority to govern planning.

  • Turry from town
    October 15, 2012 - 09:18

    Jeremiah,I agree with you.Towns just outside the boundaries of St.John's are expanding because of their close proximity to amenities and work in St.John's.They can live in their own towns,pay lower taxes,and use St.John's services for nothing.The residents of the city have to shoulder the cost of infastructure upgrades and maitenance with no taxes from those outsiders who commute here everyday and use our services.And it is property tax that pays for this,not a coffee and a sandwich that they buy in St.John's for lunch,and think they are contibuting to our economy.The whole metropolitan area of the NE Avalon should be one big city,taxes would level off,some would have to pay a little more,but that would be because they are not paying enough now.You would not need all the municipal governments that exist,so there would be the first savings.We need a provincial government with some intestinal fortitude to make it happen. Amalgamation....bring it on.

  • Jeremiah
    October 13, 2012 - 08:07

    How come such a small sample? St. John's is a great city and I wouldn't live anywhere else. Amalgamation of the NE Avalon will improve things and that is not too far away.