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RADIA: A waste of time, taxpayers' cash

Earlier this week, Coquitlam city council voted to waste taxpayer money yet again.

Earlier this week, Coquitlam city council voted to waste taxpayer money yet again.

By a vote of four to two, council, in its infinite wisdom, decided to hold byelections to replace councillors Linda Reimer and Selina Robinson, who were recently elected to the provincial legislature.

The byelection will cost the hardworking taxpayers of Coquitlam approximately $150,000 (which includes staff time).

In my opinion, byelections such as these are a waste of time and money.

First, Reimer and Robinson cancel each other out. Reimer is a right-leaning politician and Robinson is left-leaning, so adding two new councillors won't add anything new to the make-up of council.

There's also the question of whether we really need eight city councillors in Coquitlam? We have too many politicians already. When you include Anmore and Belcarra, the Tri-Cities have 28 city councillors and five mayors for a population of about 220,000 people. By comparison, the city of Vancouver, which has a population of about 600,000, has just 10 council members and one mayor.

I think Coquitlam could survive with just six councillors until November 2014.

Now, to be fair, councillors aren't the only ones culpable for this mess. There's a lot of blame to go around.

Why did the BC Liberals and NDP recruit municipal candidates knowing this issue would come up? And what about Reimer and Robinson?

To be clear: I'm a big fan of both Reimer and Robinson. In my opinion, they are both impressive politicians who we're very lucky to have.

But they put their names on the 2011 civic ballot, asking Coquitlam residents to elect them for a three-year term and knowing that the provincial election would be in 2013. Less than two years later, they jumped ship and, now, taxpayers have to foot the bill? With all due respect to the two councillors, taxpayers should not have to be on the hook for ambitious politicians who cause byelections only to advance their own careers. Could they not have thought ahead?

As usual, my colleague opposite wants to ignore the economics of the debate. Like a lot of socialists, he apparently believes money grows on trees.

But $140,000 is a lot of money - money that taxpayers should not have to put out.