A Measure of Well-being

TBL’s latest budget shows expected revenues at $15.2 million for 2020 and investments in the order of $10.9 million and a surplus expected to reach $1.8 million. Impressive figures given the size of our town.

What will we do with all that money? Figures are one thing, the reality behind them is what really matters. A good chunk of these revenues will be spent on road maintenance, snow removal and all the core responsibilities of a municipality. Thankfully, we have the means to go beyond that.

So far in the two years of the second term of the Burcombe administration, a lot of money has been spent on re-energizing the town; giving TBL a new élan vital, attracting new businesses and new residents. Now the town is trying to reach another level that, if achieved, will take us beyond budget figures.

After the successful and long-awaited completion of the Knowlton-Foster path, the year 2020 should see meaningful progress on revamp- ing the Blackwood dam as well as on the transformation of Coldbrook Park into a new town centre together with the expansion of the Pettes Library. These important initiatives should increase a certain “level of well-being’’ for the citizens of this town. A measure of pride, a measure of community life that exceed budget statistics. The creation of important new infrastructures has the capacity to do that.

What attracts people to our town is a healthy environment, quality public spaces, serene and original meeting places to encourage community participation and engagement and the sharing of local food and talent. All this has a price, inflation will catch up with our tax bill this year. Hence the need not to forget the taxpayers’ capacity to pay.

Of course, council will have to remain vigilant and seriously enforce environmental bylaws concerning the health of the lake and the beauty of our rural landscapes. This is what makes our region attractive and is what our citizens want. Development just for the sake of increasing the tax-base is no longer acceptable.

As Tempo pointed out in earlier editorials, cutting down on the use of cars and adopting greener bylaws will have to go hand in hand with the development of infrastructure and activities that enhance the well being of citizens. Ensuring the planet has a future is what this new decade will be about. Municipalities have a lead role to play in that regard.