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Editorial; Does Bill Baird Adequately Represent the Residents of Big White?

"Big White lies within the boundaries of Area E of the RDKB but because of the development's distinctive characteristics many services the Regional District provides to residents are unique to the resort." (from RDKB Website). Many Big White residents agree, and think its time the community had local representation. Bill Baird should agree to community requests for "Community Governance Feasibility Study" (see below).
Editorial;  Does Bill Baird Adequately Represent the Residents of Big White?

Bill Baird; District E RDKB

Regional District Kootenay Boundary(RDKB) Area E representative Bill Baird was conspicuously absent at the Big White Community Association Annual General Meeting in Kelowna on December 3th, 2007.  To my knowlege, he has not made an effort to meet with or adress residents of Big White.   Many residents have expressed frustration that Mr. Baird ignores Big White community interests, preferring to focus on RDKB supplies and services to his own community of Rock Creek and surrounding area.   While Big White represents over 80% of area E's tax base (85% of Big White' taxable real property is privately owned; 15%  owned by Shumann Resorts Inc.); its largely non-resident or seasonal voting population are not able to vote in municipal electionsRDKB Voting Breakdown

A summary of taxes for Big White in 2007 is available;
Big White 2007 Tax Summary
Area E 2007 Tax Summary (includes Big White)
RDKB Tax Summary 2007

A review of the tax rolls reveal some interesting facts;
  • 83% of Area E taxes are from Big White ($4.8M of $5.8M).  Of the $4.8M from Big White, $2.6M goes directly to Victoria, mainly for school funding ($2.1M).
  • $296,548 from Big White went to new equipment for the the Grand Forks and Trail hospitals in 2007.  No patients from Big White are treated at these facilities and no Medical Equipment has ever been funded for Big White by the West Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital District.
  • $63,327 "Grant In Aid" money from Big White was collected in 2007 from Big White.  This money is intended to benefit LOCAL community projects and organizations. 
  • $38,665 for "Economic Development" (Bill Baird is Chair of the Boundary Economic Development Committee).
  • $20,425 for "Recreation Commission"
  • $1,549 for the "Midway Emergency Response".  I was unable to find any such agency, and doubt they could benefit Big White given the 2 hour travel distance.
Mr. Baird sits on the West Kootenay Regional Hospital Board (Board Chair is Margartet Rotvold from Midway)and helps determine where this year's $300,000 for  Big White Care Funding is spent.  A review of the previous 5 year WKRHB funding shows no funds were spent on any services that benefited this community.  It is time this community had a publicly funded health facility, or otherwise benefits from the healtchare funding it contributes. 

As our representative, I would ask Mr. Baird to;
  1. produce minutes of any past WKRHB meetings where he has advocated better health services for Big White
  2. expain how his continued representation serves the interests of the Village of Big White
  3. Discuss the request for local governance options studies including funding, both regional and provincial.  The first stage in this process would be commissioning a feasability study on behalf of the village of Big White, as recommended in the Overview of the LGA.  Information on the Improvement District and Local Government Act is available.
  4. Explain what public notice of the Zoning Meeting of Dec. 5th held at Big White was given to residents, and how we can make ourselves (and our readers) aware of  future meetings.  There is a display board in the Whitefoot Building specifically labelled and reserved for RDKB notices, but never used.  If notices are faxed to 765-0594 I would be happy to ensure they are posted and advertised in the local paper.
Mike Figurski
Editor and Publisher MyBigWhite Newsletter

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