Friday, March 27, 2020
Thursday, March 26, 2020
Friday, March 20, 2020
Mayor and Council
I write to you today about the unhappy situation that Tofino and indeed most of the world finds itself in. The global pandemic of the latest iteration of the Corona Virus is playing itself out, with new and unfortunate revelations on a daily basis. We don’tknow exactly where this situation will lead in the short and mid term. We will get through it, but the costs are still unknown. Are we overreacting? Or completely unprepared? We will find out.
Apart from the obvious and dire health implications, andwhether they are realized or not, a mountain of evidence isbuilding that indicates very serious financial consequences arealso emerging with the current health problems, and associated responses. It is to this that I want to direct your attention.
Many of our 165 members, all Tofitian, representing families and businesses, are already experiencing a significant slow down in tourist visitation, with the cancelation of reservations, and reduced prospects. It will get worse. This is true of large and small operations. Globally, travel restrictions are being put into place and the public is being asked to put off travel plans.Etc. BC Ferries are being cancelled because of a lack of customers.
Retirees and those approaching retirement have seen a rapid evaporation of their savings and RSP’s and RIF’s. The stockmarkets plummet in anticipation of even further bad news and inevitable financial setbacks. It is universally accepted that we have entered into a significant economic recession that is global in reach. There is no doubt that we will emerge from this as well, in time, but it is likely the effects will continue longer than the virus itself. Increases in unemployment, reduced GDP and declines in disposable incomes are inevitable. As a primarily tourist town we are squarely in the cross hairs, dependant on the free movement of people and the ability and willingness of the public to spend.
Provincial and Federal governments within Canada and internationally will do what they can to mitigate the effects, but there will be effects.
People will lose their jobs, and for others, generally, incomeswill be reduced. Mortgages and loans will be at risk and some will fail. This will happen.
Local government has a role to play as well. In the delivery of service and the dissemination of accurate information. However,it has an additional job that it can do.
So, I suggest to you that this is the right time for municipal government to rationalize its spending and reduce the tax burden in nonessential areas. Considerations made a few weeks ago should be set aside and now be subject to the current circumstance thrust upon us and be reviewed with fresh scrutiny.
And I remind you that every individual, family, and business large and small in Tofino will be making their own tough decisions in the months ahead, on personal and business spending. Cuts will have to be made plans, foregone and hopes postponed. For some a matter of survival.
And so, I implore you to do your part, as best you can, in easing the tax burden for all Tofitians, as we face difficult and uncertain circumstances.
For the Tofino Rate Payers Association