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Letter: All St. John’s residents deserve basic services

Letter to the Editor
Letter to the Editor

I don’t have water and sewer services. I need a water purification system so I have clean drinking water. Also, because there are no storm sewers I have to maintain four sump pumps to prevent flooding.

I am not close to a fire hydrant so I pay more for my insurance. I don’t have a sidewalk so taking my four-year old for a walk is a nightmare.

After 4 p.m., weekends and holidays I have volunteer 911 and fire protection services. There are no parks or swimming pools or other city services within walking distance of my home.

Where do I live you ask? I live in Kilbride, City of St. John’s.

Because I don’t have water and sewer services, the city has reduced my mill rate from 7.3 to 6.3. On May 31, I received a letter from the city manager, advising me that he was considering increasing my mill rate to 7.1 because I was receiving a benefit over other tax payers in the city.

A meeting was scheduled for June 13, at the Goulds Recreation Centre to listen to residents’ concerns. I attended that meeting as did hundreds of other people from the area without water and sewer services.

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Coun. Dave Lane chaired the meeting and speaker after speaker after speaker expressed first, how insulted they were at how the city could send them a letter stating that they were getting an advantage over other citizens, and second, how much it cost them to maintain their own water and sewer systems. Every person there would welcome water and sewer services because it would cost them considerably less in property tax than the cost to maintain their own systems.

Speaker after speaker after speaker expressed their disappointment with the city that treats our region like we are third class citizens.

Twice as much money is spent annually on the Metrobus/Para Transit subsidy than on sewer services. Triple the money is spent on parks, recreational and cultural services, and on the day of the meeting a new dog park opened in St. John’s.

Residents asked when the city was going to wake up and incorporate water and sewer services into its capital works budget for all citizens.

We ae not alone.

There are many areas in this city who do not have basic services.

As one resident put it, “I have to shit in my backyard while I watch dog parks, and swimming pools and walking trails and bike paths being built.”

To Lane’s credit, he apologized for the letter that the city manager had written and said the mity had to do more for people who did not have basic services. 

But that’s not enough.

We want basic services. We want to be treated fairly.

Our taxes are being used to pay for services we don’t have and it doesn’t take rocket scientists to discover what areas in the city don’t have basic services and to develop a plan to address these issues with a goal to have all residents get basic services within a specific time frame.

Finally, what many of us found most surprising was that our councilor, Wally Collins, was present but didn’t speak, wasn’t at the front of the room and most people didn’t even know he was there.

The question I have for him is why didn’t you express your outrage at this proposal? Why didn’t you say you would never support this?

You represent us. Make us equal partners.

Tom Badcock

St. John’s

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