Top News

LETTER: Taxation, time slots and the Bruce II registration system

Letter to the Editor
Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Last week the town council of Port aux Basques voted and agreed unanimously on a two-tier system for swimming and summer sports programs at the Bruce II. The two-tier system was Port aux Basques kids first and outside areas’ kids second.

The feedback from a Facebook post I posted was huge. One councillor stated on that post that the fees would remain the same but preference for registration, e.g. time slots, would be given to Port aux Basques kids first. The reason for this was someone from Port aux Basques couldn’t get a preferred time slot to suit them. They in turn complained to the town council or Bruce II staff. Whichever the case, they still complained to try and get things changed in their favor. By doing this it caused an uproar with the people on the south west coast, including the majority of Port aux Basques.

As the comments were written on Facebook the tides had changes from the issue being time slots to money to cover the cost of running the Bruce II. I felt that one councillor and the mayor were trying to shy away from feeling the pressure by saying that it cost X amount of dollars to keep the Bruce open and operating, rather than they take the blame for trying to accommodate someone. I made a comment to clarify which reason it was, time slots or money. Neither the councillor or mayor responded.

Some residents, not many mind you, were in disagreement of why they should pay taxes and the outsiders pay nothing. People from Port aux Basques and surrounding areas replied that the amount of support given to Port aux Basques through the Bruce II and local businesses equals what they would pay in taxes. There’s a lot of people from outside Port aux Basques that travel anywhere from three to six days a week for activities at the Bruce II. This helps the local economy with jobs in Port aux Basques. If not for attending activities at the Bruce II, outsiders would only be in Port aux Basques once a week. Maybe. More trips to Port aux Basques means more money spent on gas, lunches, etc.

About paying taxes elsewhere: how many councillors and residents in Port aux Basques that don’t agree with outsiders getting to use the Bruce II without paying taxes to the town have land, cottages or even summer homes in the Codroy/South Branch area where they are not paying any taxes on the land and buildings?

Who says that if everyone on the coast pays a tax to the Bruce II that everyone will receive fair treatment? What about when there is a major tournament in town and you have kids from all over western Newfoundland here? These kids use a swimming pool during open swim times and have the pool maxed out with the number of kids in the pool. You will then have someone complaining that they can’t get into open swim because it’s full. Do they expect a kid from away to exit the pool so the local kid can go swimming? Like really!

There’s so many ways this can be looked at and will make council’s decision look bad. How would people from Port aux Basques feel if they were treated like this somewhere else? If I was a resident of Port aux Basques I would have a petition started asking for a name or names of who complained, or even have a petition to dissolve council. It’s people’s right. The residents of Port aux Basques put council in and they can also have them removed from office. They are poorly represented if you ask me.

There was a time about four years ago when my daughter played minor hockey at the Bruce II. She decided to quit and wanted to join swimming lessons. When we checked out the time slots, the time wouldn’t add up in our favour of her being there on time due to getting out of school, coming home to get ready and the travel time it would take us to get to Port aux Basques. We decided not to do the swimming lessons since it wasn’t convenient for us. Not once did we complain. We just grinned and bore it.

You have people outside of Port aux Basques stating that they pay a poll tax and they wonder if they will be fitted in the same time slots given to Port aux Basques residents.

I’m thinking a lot of this could be cleared up if the town council, Bruce II staff or the person/persons responsible for council to decide on this motion come forward with a name. I don’t see this happening because that person/persons would be confronted on this issue in public and the town won’t put out a name because the person/persons could be a relative or friend of a council member.
Therefore, it would be a conflict of interest on a council member if it was a relative of theirs and they didn’t leave the table during discussion and motion. This would be a matter for Municipal Affairs to act on. This issue is being kept secret for some reason.

See also: LETTERS: Regional support needed, but Port aux Basques does own the Bruce II 

As for the second article published online by the Gulf News, I feel that it wasn’t about people at large bullying the council; it was the people debating and voicing their concerns and opinions on the issue.
Another question in that article was “would someone go to the news or confront people in person with the same comments written on Facebook?” Anyone knowing me knows that I have no problem speaking my mind to someone in person. Personally, with the comments I made on Open Forum, I feel that I said nothing wrong, nor did I discriminate against anyone. Everyone, or most everyone, from outside Port aux Basques feels like they are second class by the statement made by council and the Bruce II staff. I will admit there was strong support from the people of Port aux Basques for the outside area people. With that I thank you for your support.

With saying that, what is next? Are the outside people going to be able to use the roadways or are we going to be required to pay a tax for that also? That’s another issue for another day.

In closing, maybe the solution could come in the form of first-come, first-served for time slots like in the past and for each person/family that uses the Bruce II to pay a user fee for swimming, skating, etc. This would eliminate people from Port aux Basques that don’t use the facility from paying the tax they pay now. They can be exempt. The user fee would be applied the same as if you use an airport – buy a plane ticket and a user fee is added. Don’t buy a ticket? No user fee.

Last but not least – it’s bad enough to deal with stereotyping outside of N.L., let alone having to deal with it here locally.

Damon Organ

Isle aux Morts

Recent Stories