Underpass referendum a far better option

Here we are in the Christmas season, resulting in a great percentage of taxpayers being distracted…

Here we are in the Christmas season where the focus is on family and seasonal holidays, resulting in a great percentage of taxpayers being distracted, and Salmon Arm Council is floating a trial balloon on a $9 million deal.

The lease proposal for the two lots on the north side of the tracks, to be a possible staging area for the proposed Ross Street underpass, will cost taxpayers $33,000 a year for 10 years. In the fine print, however, the city is also responsible for the property taxes, but has to give up 15 parking spaces to the property owner. The real price is now between $55,000 to $65,000 a year, for 10 years. A better idea might be to buy or expropriate the lots for future consideration.

As for the underpass, we need a consultation process and a referendum, plain and simple. How much could it cost to add one line to the municipal election ballot next fall? That would give us all appropriate time for a thorough consultation process.

Something else to consider: CP Rail would like to see one of the two crossings closed.

They could probably have an arm twisted to cover the cost of the underpass, and lift the burden from Salmon Arm taxpayers.

Jim Olafson