Renting back our own resources

Who would have thought Abbotsford could rival Toronto at anything?

Who would have thought Abbotsford could rival Toronto at anything?

Toronto has been in the news lately due to its per-capita debt – $964 for 2010, projected to climb to $1550 by 2014 (figures taken from an Aug. 25, 2011 report by DBRS, a full-service rating agency).

And here in Abbotsford?  Well, we know that the $85-million cost for plan A divided by 140,000 citizens gives us $607 per person.

Then there’s the Stave Lake project looming on the horizon.  We have heard projected costs ranging from $156 million to $284 million.  The former divided by 140,000 gives us $1,114, the latter $2,028.

Of course, if we go for the P3 option, these rather alarming debt totals do not actually have to be included in the city’s audited reports.

The P3 route, however, is sure to cost us more in the long run.

To stay in business, private companies must provide returns for their shareholders.  And funds borrowed by a private partner come at a higher interest rate than those borrowed by a municipal government.

So, if we go P3 in order to make our city appear less indebted, we would ultimately pay more, while essentially “renting back” our own resources.

Maybe it’s time for a change – is anyone out there willing and able to provide good governance after Nov. 19?

Regina Dalton

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