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Former Times editor outlines his election platform

Keith McNeill officially in the running

Editor, The Times:

During my 30 years as a reporter and then editor with the Clearwater Times I probably attended more local government meetings than just about anybody else.

When I retired last May several local residents suggested that I should put that experience to work and become a Clearwater town councilor.

I therefore would like to announce that I am running to be a District of Clearwater councilor.

My experience has given me a vision for this community. If you share my vision then give me your vote and I will do my best to make it happen.

There are four planks in my platform.

The first is to prepare for climate change.

Unfortunately, not enough of the world’s leaders read my editorials in the Times and so they do not realize we need global carbon fee-and-dividend to avoid catastrophic climate change.

That means that the residents of Clearwater and area need to prepare.

It’s not going to be pretty. One computer model shows sagebrush growing north of Clearwater Lake by 2080.

The most pressing need is to prepare for more frequent and intense forest fires. Others include preparing for floods and washouts, for hosting large numbers of refugees, and for dealing with economic disruptions.

Second would be tax reform through reducing taxes on businesses.

We often hear complaints about the lack of services in this community. Why should an entrepreneur build or expand a business here when it will be taxed at several times the residential rate?

For my third plank I would like to see the District reduce taxes paid on improvements and increase those paid on land value.

We often hear that Clearwater’s scattered development is the result of the lack of town planning.

A better explanation is that it is the result of taxing improvements at the same rate as land value.

Taxing improvements discourages property owners from making improvements and encourages them to hold onto undeveloped land for speculation.

The fourth plank in my platform would be to make the 57-acre property in the northwest corner of Dutch Lake into a park.

Dutch Lake has been called the “crown jewel” of Clearwater and that piece of property is the diamond in the crown.

If we allow that unique piece of property to be developed for housing we would lose opportunities for community enrichment that we will never get back.

Keith McNeill

Clearwater, B.C.

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