New transit tax will hurt Aldergrove business

Following is a copy of a letter sent to the Mayors Council, regarding the TransLink sales tax referendum.

Editor:

Following is a copy of a letter sent to the Mayors Council, regarding the TransLink sales tax referendum.

It is no secret that small business is the back bone of our country, provinces and municipalities. We are the largest employer and the largest contributor of tax at all levels of government. For many of us, we are also the ones who give back the most to community as well.

We are solutions driven. All of us face struggles at times and we find solutions to keep our businesses going. For most of us, we are not getting rich, and have employees who take more from the business that we do. Wouldn’t it have been prudent to consult with us on finding a solution to the TransLink dilemma? Most communities have a business association with expertise on what the community needs and as these associations are run by self-employed business owners, consultation with them could have made a huge difference.

I don’t have any question in my mind that we need better transportation for our communities, not just to reduce congestion, but to find cost effective ways to help all of the folks in our communities in getting around to jobs, shopping, etc., without having to invest in cars and therefore contributing to our carbon footprint.

Aldergrove has one of the largest industrial parks in the entire lower mainland, with the largest employer in our area, and not one bus to get employees there. Some of these companies employ young people, many who are struggling trying to raise a family, or seeking employment after education. These people cannot afford to purchase a vehicle to get to work without getting a job first.

Langley has the largest per capita use of cars. This is no secret. Why? For many of our citizens, they came to the valley simply because they couldn’t’ afford to live in the big cities, yet many are employed in the cities so they have to commute. I am sure many would love to get on a bus or train to get to work, but there is almost no transportation here. The “plan” offers nothing for Aldergrove, yet one bus would make a huge difference! We are not asking for a train, but one bus to travel from Aldergrove downtown to Gloucester Estates and back, a couple times a day.

If the required funding came from property tax, you mayors would have to cut a cheque to TransLink. I bet more of you would be more focused on what is best for your communities specifically. I bet you would be more interested in what the consumer and small business owners need to prosper in your communities would be. I bet you would be more intent on getting your fair share of transportation for your community too!

I would like a bigger house or nicer car but I don’t expect the business across the street to pay for it, so you big city mayors, don’t ask us small towns with poor transportation to pay for yours. Aldergrove is one of the most vulnerable of all the communities for an increased sales tax because of geographic location, yet we are also one of the only communities that will get nothing from the “plan”.

Instead of hurting small business (and our customers) who will be the ones responsible for collecting this tax and managing this tax, without any compensation, why not get the municipalities to collect a tax at your level? Instead of driving consumers out of the GVRD to seek better pricing, why not help them so that they contribute more?

We as small business owners are all working maximum hours just to keep our businesses going, and now you (who realises the benefits of our huge investment of time) want more?

Instead of punishing those who don’t use TransLink’s services, why not encourage them? Honey attracts bees….

Why not consult with us small business owners to find a solution that helps us and solves TransLinks requirements? I have offered two potential solutions (property tax or graduated tax) and I am just one voice.

I am not opposed to finding a way to fund TransLink, but I am opposed to this method.

Bruce Heslop, Diamond Bar Equipment, Aldergrove