COLUMN: We must maintain our independence

Now that summer is over, I guess it’s time to begin plans for fall. Because other than Sunday when it hit 29 C in the shade, and in fact made it too hot to anything other than laze around in the shade, the long-term weather trend indicates relative coolness.

Now that summer is over, I guess it’s time to begin plans for fall. Because other than Sunday when it hit 29 C in the shade, and in fact made it too hot to anything other than laze around in the shade, the long-term weather trend indicates relative coolness.

While the charts suggest it will be mostly sunny, the temps don’t show much above the low 20s.

And to be honest, I’m happy with that. Really hot days like we had this weekend are too much to do anything constructive outside, and who wants to be inside on a sunny day.

Which means of course that before the leaves begin to turn I’ll have to paint the barn, re-stain the deck and split and stack the piled-up winter firewood.

Tackling those tasks, fortunately, frees the mind to wander and explore such topics as the competence of those who, at every level, try to run our world.

The more I ponder, the more I wonder where that world will be, and what it will look like.

I’m not even thinking long term. If the forecasters of economic doom are correct about the American’s possible inability to get their debt under control, we could be facing economic chaos in a matter of weeks.

That will reverberate across the globe, aided by the potential collapse of Greece.

Which means that the already stratospheric price of gold will continue to climb as wealthy hoarders convert their cash and hope for the best.

In the meantime, you and I will struggle through, buoyed by the belief that nothing lasts forever and if we live long enough we can weather the storm. And if we don’t, well that’s a worry for another day.

I have to wonder though, when costs will cease to increase on the Lower Mainland. Every time I hear the words TransLink and Metro, they seem always to be accompanied by a rise in taxes.

While neither of those entities are directly related to Abbotsford, their decisions impact us almost as much as if we lived within the taxing confines of Metro.

Other than locally grown products, virtually all goods we consume will have a cost factored in for road tolls and gas taxes. Certainly I believe in rapid transit, and think it works. But rapid transit cannot transport goods and services, and it costs a fortune to construct.

Then again, roads and bridges aren’t cheap to build either, so user-pay is not a philosophy lost on me.

But there has to be a better way than adding tax on tax until we, like the U.S., face a cash crisis.

So build the Evergreen line, but go for at-grade rail instead of Skytrain. Get the municipal portion of funding from it by trimming existing costs rather than adding to them. There has been a reliable opinion that a mere one per cent cut in the cost of municipal government throughout Metro would fund the proposal transit line. Then, when it is built, ensure that rider fees are sufficient to maintain it.

And let every voter within the City of Abbotsford ensure that if there is ever a flirtation of council to join Metro Vancouver, we quash it immediately.

We may not live in a ‘toll-free’ zone, but we are better off than those living to the west of us. Let’s keep it that way!

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