EDITORIAL: Prudent use of money

In challenging economic and financial times, taxpayers expect their governments to conduct their business accordingly.

In challenging economic and financial times, taxpayers expect their governments to conduct their business accordingly.

More simply put – don’t spend money on projects that aren’t essential, or worse, that could be considered frivolous.

Abbotsford council seems to be receiving that basic message, illustrated by the decision last week to shelve a proposal to create a $3.3-million trail system through the city’s core.

The Urban Trail plan would have connected five recreational areas – Mill Lake Park, Ravine Park, Jubilee Park, Abbotsford Downtown and the Discovery Trail.

It’s an interesting and arguably valid concept, which could be achieved with $2.3 million in federal gas tax funding already in hand, plus another $1 million requested from the provincial government.

However, the timing isn’t right.

Regardless of where the funding is coming from, it’s still taxpayers’ money.

Do we really need – not want, but need – more trails in Abbotsford this year?

Simply, no.

Even though the gas tax funding is earmarked for “green” projects, city staff should be directed to find other initiatives that would meet the criteria, and yet fulfill more important objectives.

Coun. John Smith suggested the money might be used to investigate a new water supply.

The city’s water treatment plant just got a gas tax funding injection of $8 million. Could the $2.3 million be added to that?

And if none of the above qualifies, ultimately – as wild as it may sound – perhaps the money shouldn’t be spent at all.