Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Response from Pam Goldsmith-Jones

Mayoralty candidate and incumbent Pam Goldsmith-Jones was very quick to respond to my questions with a lengthy email reply.

Madame Mayor’s comments were quite well thought out. Of course some of the material referenced projects and initiatives I have to admit I do not understand. That said, the nature of the response on a diversified tax base was very good. The response on contracting out of government services was less inspiring. My personal opinion is that the private sector, in a competitive environment, will always do a more cost effective higher quality job than the public sector. That belief would colour my view of her response.

Here are some key points of the Mayor’s response:

“Diversifying our tax base is key.”

The council is looking to develop the Wetmore site (22nd and Marine) as was done for 320 Taylor Way (across Taylor Way from the Whitespot). I’m not sure what the District did here but I intend to find out and report back to you.

“The Ambleside strategy recommends an office building for the village (height will be the issue).”

Vacancy in the existing professional office space between 13th and 19th seems to me to indicate that an office tower in Ambleside is not needed. The council should focus on initiatives that bring business to West Vancouver prior to expanding the available office space. Perhaps this is the ‘build it and they will come’ mentality.

“The new community centre board is also viewing how to rent out the space for revenue, and is working with our staff to balance community programming with revenue opportunities.”

Within reason this is a good initiative. I fully support user pay programs for the use of public facilities.

“We outsource where it makes sense, and use our crews if that is the best value for you.”

The Mayor went on to discuss how trees were reused to build a bridge in Parc Verdun and how the District negotiated a great deal on garbage pickup services. I was hoping or hear a bigger picture answer such as contracting out road services or the operation of the recreation center.

Ms Goldsmith-Jones also went on to state “as Mayor, I opened up our Finance Committee to citizens – I am pretty sure no other community is as transparent or open to a fresh look as we are. Our new Chief Administration Officer has begun restructuring to flatten the organization. He has left some retirements vacant, and has reduced a few positions as well.”

The concept of a leaner and more transparent District government is very near and dear to my heart.

We wait for responses from the other two candidates.


Tags: ; ; ; ;

No comments:

Post a Comment