Bernard Kromka for Tofino Council
I have a vision for Tofino. I see a place where families look forward to raising their kids in a flourishing, West-Coast community. I envision a town where residents have meaningful career opportunities and entrepreneurs share in our collective success.
Residents, workers and businesspeople want open, focused and effective councillors. They don’t want more of the status quo: closed-door meetings, misdirected spending and general mismanagement.
I believe in representing Tofino as a whole. It isn’t about developers vs. environmentalists or absentee owners vs. surfers. It’s not about long-time residents vs. guest workers or young families vs. retirees. Everybody deserves representation and an inclusive approach is the appropriate way forward.
Tofino is entitled to councillors that are capable, accountable and fair. This is an obvious recipe for success. Yet, too often Tofino’s taxes have been frittered away on poorly conceived plans, consultants and junkets. Too frequently bylaws are enforced arbitrarily, with petty town politics and grievances playing a more important role than the rules themselves. Too many policies are entrenched for the benefit of select, cosy relationships, at the very least giving the impression of impropriety. Incumbents should not be rewarded for this sorry state of affairs.
There are many challenges before us. Tofino has a small taxpayer base and infrastructure burdened by waves of tourists. However, steps can be taken to accomplish relatively straightforward tasks. It is obvious we need our roads and sidewalks in better shape. It is clear we need the MUP finished & properly maintained. It isn’t rocket science to know Tofino needs public washrooms cleaned and unlocked on schedule. Accomplishing the above would be a good start.
Tofino had 8.7 million in cash on hand (District of Tofino, Consolidated Statement of Fiscal Position, Dec. 31, 2010) and another 20 million or so in assets to work and borrow with. The District isn’t cash-strapped. Yet, Tofino seems incapable of providing proper infrastructure, facilities and services.
We spend 50% of our budget on administration costs (District of Tofino, Taxation Revenue Distribution Analysis, 2011). This ratio is way out of line with other civic jurisdictions (Ukee’s is 19%). Barriers to efficient delivery of services should be removed. An even-handed, value-for-our-money approach should prevail.
Tofino councillors must continually seek a justified share of provincial & federal dollars to compensate for our resort-town deficits. Too much we hear about Tofino’s infighting between council, city departments, school district, chamber and tourism. The wrangling should stop because there’s a bigger picture. We need to speak as a unified force when soliciting funding and assistance from other governments and departments. Preferably not to build poorly designed parking lots this time. We should target projects that have real benefits to everyone and effectively deliver the intended results.
Wherever possible the private sector should be constructively engaged, partnering with the town and assisting in meeting our collective needs. They don’t need the goal posts changed before each game, hampering their ability to positively contribute toward infrastructure and town amenities. We should better harness the energy of mutually beneficial initiatives and 3P’s.
We shouldn’t need to rely upon selling more water to local families (a perverted incentive) to achieve town goals. Our water projects are nothing short of boondoggles, with the average citizen footing the bill. Sewage system upgrades and treatment costs loom on the horizon.
Tofino has cachet and this should be better tapped. Surf culture is on the rise and Tofino’s star is rising generally.
Some have labelled me a “youth candidate” and that sits fine with me. I bring energy and openness. I’m not beholden to special interests or damaged by past fiascos. I’m running as a candidate to represent Tofino’s constituents of all ages, from all walks of life.
I agree surfers and younger, service-sector employees have been politically ignored in this town. This demographic hasn’t engaged in local politics. Partly they are transient and partly they don’t much care. Yet it is also because civic decisions don’t address their concerns. Worse, the district can seem openly hostile to their culture. It’s a perpetuating cycle of apathy and reinforced disengagement. For too long surfing enthusiasts have been underrepresented. They’re half this town!
Too frequently our youth have been forced to look away from Tofino for a promising future beyond low-paying jobs. That’s unnecessary in a place with so many natural advantages. Tofino can inspire a generation, using our surrounding, protected wilderness as a competitive advantage.
I’ll bring diligence, integrity and common sense to my duties. I’ll encourage input from across the community and foster cooperation between stakeholders. I’ll represent Tofino with an eye toward a better, prosperous future for us all.
Thanks for reading this letter and your consideration of my candidacy.
P.S. Read more about my platform, ask questions and give suggestions over at www.bernardkromka.blogspot.com Facebook: Bernard For Tofino Council.