EDITORIAL: Coquitlam loan makes sense

Coquitlam council is not trying to pull a fast one by holding an alternative approval process rather than a referendum to gauge public opinion on a proposal to borrow $17.9 million to pay for roads and water services on Burke Mountain. Granted, you would have to pretty fired up to take the steps required to oppose the measure. But the plan is not controversial, the investment sound and the payback plan low-risk.

This was not the case when the city of New Westminster used the same process to borrow a much larger amount — $59 million — to finish a much riskier project — an office building on top of a city arts centre. In that case, a more direct referendum would have been appropriate because the project was controversial and the payback plan, given the tough economy and the market for office space, was risky.

Still, Coquitlam residents shouldn’t sleepwalk through this loan approval process and should make every effort to find out about the projects and the payback plan. Democracy only works when people make use of it. While we give politicians the authority to make decisions for us, it’s still our job to hold them accountable.

What do you say? Will you oppose the Burke Mountain borrowing plan by signing the counter-petition to defeat the measure? VOTE in our online poll.

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