06 March 2012

When More Is Less

The city budget passed which will mean fewer services and less maintenance for parks and recreation in Vancouver. While the city did increase the budget allocation to parks, it was not enough to meet the costs of the department.

For years the Vancouver School Board has been saying that they have been underfunded, even though the provincial government says funding has been growing each year. This has never been more evident than the last few years when Vision Vancouver has had a majority on the school board. While the provincial government is correct in saying funding has increased, the school trustees are also correct in that they are underfunded. Say what? This is because increases have not kept pace with inflation and other costs that have risen more than the increase in funding. This has resulted in years of under-funding.

The same is true at the Park Board. While the Vision Vancouver city council rightly says funding for parks and recreation has increased, this increase has not kept up with costs, thereby creating a situation similar to the school board's under funding. What gets me is that Vision Vancouver criticizes the provincial government for the same thing that they themselves are doing.

I once debated this issue with a provincial cabinet minister and took the opportunity to teach him a basic lesson in arithmetic. I told him that "when funding goes up by two cents but costs go up by five cents, there is still a shortfall of 3 cents--this is called underfunding. But we are not talking about pennies but millions of dollars". Perhaps Vision Vancouver needs the same lesson in arithmetic.

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