While I understand the idea of a community train as a drawing card to get people to visit the Town of New Glasgow for the benefit of local businesses and festivals, I wonder how such a seasonal, limited mode of transport would be of any long-term benefit to our majority long-term taxpaying citizens.
During the last election campaign candidates emphasized the need to direct attention toward the needs of senior citizens and youth. The seniors are our majority and youth are leaving in increasing numbers.
All levels of government are encouraging seniors to stay in their homes as long as possible to help reduce the ever-increasing need for publicly funded housing. Yet it is this sector that is constantly paying higher taxes with very little tax breaks or benefits reflecting their many years of contributions, through taxation, volunteerism and community involvement. It is these people who will need more access to long-term public transportation ventures.
Seniors who no longer own vehicles and need to regularly meet doctors, do banking, pay taxes and shop would need to pay taxi fare to and from activities. Add that up in the run of a month – how much does it take out of a fixed pension? What good is a community train to them?
We already take a portion of the sale of their treasured family homes to support the Wellness Centre, which they, the majority, never had an opportunity to vote on or give voice to. Most will never have the opportunity to visit or use it. Now we are going to take their tax dollars for a clown car-type festival train. Explain to the seniors, who would just enjoy getting to the mall all year round, its benefits to them.
How will the community train address the needed year-round public transportation for youth and younger employed members of our community? We are trying to encourage this important sector of our population to stay long-term. They contribute through their work, community spirit, volunteerism, raising families and, yes, paying taxes. Without private vehicles, how do they get to school, community college, work, areas of training, sports activities or wellness centres?
The estimated cost of $105,000 to purchase or, even worse, lease from Halifax a train between May and October is high. This would not even cover our town administrators in the facilitating, maintenance, insurance and operation of the train.
We are being taxed enough. You are looking for donations and sponsorship. Are not these same people already paying their share through municipal taxes?
Let’s put the motto of ‘flourishing’ back in the town for all citizens. Get rid of that black flag symbolizing despair and neglect of the long-term taxpaying citizens. It is high time town representatives brighten things up and pay attention to immediate needs of citizens. Spend this money, not on studies or stealing ideas from other towns trying to be unique, by coming up with a more-needed, long-term public transit system that can be enjoyed by the majority year-round.
John T. Rogers