On the surface, some might question the city’s interest in spending up to $40 million for an Inner Harbour walkway, considering the municipality’s present financial condition and struggle to cut $6 million from a $200 million annual budget.
I agree with the general direction, however, not necessarily with the proposal itself without further study.
Our city’s downtown core needs immediate attention. Non-property tax revenue has been and continues to fall as a result of a steady decline of the core, the city’s economic engine. City taxpayers are finding it increasingly difficult to pick up the slack.
Until we reignite the downtown core, Victoria will most certainly become a have-not city.
We will be less and less able to fund the essential programs and services our community so values.
It will take creative and entrepreneurial leadership to make this happen. Just like what is being proposed for the Harbour Plaza, the city needs to partner with other levels of government, the non-profit and for-profit sectors. It simply does not have the resources to do it on its own.
For example, Coun. Lisa Helps’ suggestion for the city to partner with the YM-YWCA to build and manage a single state-of-the art recreation centre is an idea that is long overdue.
This city has a bright future if our leaders have the courage to make it happen.
We need to invest wisely in the downtown core.