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Opinion

The city prefers housing, commercial buildings and gas bars on Piper Creek over a bridge, why?

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On October 27 2020, 1 PM,  there will be a public hearing at the Harvest Centre on the Westerner grounds because the city council wants to remove the Molly Banister extension so a developer can build even more houses along Piper Creek.

Currently the plan shows Molly Banister continuing across the creek then south to the power lines and west to 40 Ave. and 22 Street.

They state that this is a wildlife corridor, but just south of here is 19 Street with commercial development, office buildings, gas bar and parking lot, metres away from the creek. Southern point is just a culvert. The pollution alone from the parking lot, the potential oil and gas seeping into the ground then the creek.

Apparently this is all preferable than having a road, a sidewalk and a bridge.

There are 2 dozen homes that back onto Molly Banister that would see more traffic, This is minimal compared to the 300 families that back onto 32 St, that would see 6 lanes of traffic. 2007 the city decided not to expand 32 Street into 6 lanes because of Molly Banister taking some of the traffic. With Molly Banister off the table 32 Street gets expanded starting 2026. They are spending millions on the 32 St. bridge over Piper Creek. I emailed the city leaders asking if they are building it up for 6 lanes, and have yet to hear confirmation or denial.

There is talk that hikers, bikers and skaters would have to cross the Molly Banister bridge. You can build the bridge over the trail or you can have the trail exit the woods 40 m sooner and cross the road with a crosswalk signal.  Right now there are thousands of people driving 4 kms further every day to travel around this subdivision. There is approximately 50 hectares to be built, the city wants 17 housing units per hectare which means 850 units. That would add to the current number. We are talking about millions of kilometres of extra driving every year, think about all those extra emissions pouring into our air.

September 2015, CBC reported we had the worst air quality in Alberta which had the worst air quality in Canada. This will only ensure it gets worse.

10,000 cars per day is the barrier for animals crossing a street. 32 St is now at 23,500 cars per day. 19 St will beat that. Animals are being kept in an area between 32 St. and 19 St. Which will be walled in, not by the current barbed wire fence but with housing, commercial buildings and parking lots.

The current trail runs along Barrett Drive on the west side of the creek in a grassy area away from the creek and inaccessible to the creek part of the way due to the barb wire fence.

Red Deer College was to see a second entrance on 22 Street easing the pressure off 32 St. Bower Mall and neighbouring businesses would have direct access to residents across the creek.

It is not like we need 850 more homes. The last census showed the city only grew by 195 residents in 5 years while added 1299 more housing units. Forcing the depreciation of our assessments last year.

The developments already built showed the tendency to remove trees and vegetation along the creek.

So my question remains. Why is a well thought out traffic corridor with a bridge and a road, that has been the basis for commercial and residential development, worse than having housing and commercial buildings encroaching on our creek?

The public hearing is 1 pm on October 27 at the Harvest Centre on the Westerner grounds, Please speak up.

Political editor/writer and retired oilfield supervisor

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Opinion

Middle Class

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The Middle Class

The middle class.

This phrase is shrouded in mystery but typically refers to ones occupation, income, education and social status in relation to others.

Depending on the political party using the term, the underlying definition can change.

The Liberal Party has an entire section of it’s 2019 election platform dedicated to the middle class and people working hard to join it.

Unfortunately, the Minister of Middle-Class Prosperity has had difficulties defining the characteristics of the people she was elected to represent.

Excuse me if I’m a little concerned that the middle class might be forgotten as a result.

Tax Free

Making Life More Affordable

Any claims of government giving anything to citizens “tax free” should be met with scrutiny.

All government funding ultimately comes from taxpayers so to suggest that government can give you tax free funds is simply not accurate. Someone is being taxed in order to provide the benefits.

Effective for 2016 tax filings, the Liberal Government lowered the tax rate on income in the 2nd tax bracket by 1.5%. This bracket currently applies to income between $48,535 to $97,069. All other brackets have either remained the same or increased since that time.

For those earning up to the maximum of $97,069, this results in tax savings of $1,456.

In conjunction with the 1.5% tax drop, the Liberal Government removed the Family Tax Cut (FTC). This allowed families with children to notionally transfer income from the spouse with higher annual income to the other spouse.

Depending on your situation, this could result in a tax credit of up to $2,000.

Effective in 2019, the Liberal Government implemented an increase in the Canada Pension Plan annual rates. By 2023, this will result in additional annual employee contributions of $1,107 for those earning above the annual ceiling of $65,700.

The employer portion would increase in proportion, putting further pressure on small business cash flows.

While the Liberal Government may claim that they are “making life more affordable”, the numbers above paint a different picture.

Income Tax Act

What should the government do?

The Canadian Income Tax Act (ITA) has not seen a major review since the late 1960’s. It is now a patchwork of legislation that is difficult for even seasoned Chartered Professional Accountants to apply into practice.

Complexities within the ITA result in a significant added administrative burdens. Instead of focusing on growing your business, creating jobs or planning for retirement, significant time is lost navigating the ITA.

The government should immediately engage in a full scale review of the ITA. The review must consult the private sector and address all major industries across Canada. The revisions should be made in such a way as to allow for amendments in future as the economy continues to evolve.

Key areas that should be the focus of a review:

  1. Simplify: The tax system needs to be fair, efficient and competitive.

  2. Modernize: Tax policy needs to be able to keep up with the digital economy.

  3. Be Supportive: Changes to Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) policies that will ease compliance for taxpayers.

Keep it Simple

Simple:

In Alberta, there are now nine personal tax brackets, a patch work of credits and numerous complexities to navigate in complying with regulations relating to owner-operator business.

Serious consideration should be given to shift away from taxing income and toward taxing consumption instead. It is far more beneficial to tax activities that reduce the wealth of society, ie. consumption, rather than tax the creation of wealth.

The simplest way to make the shift to a consumption based tax system would be to increase the rate of federal GST. This would be offset with reductions in personal tax rates. The personal tax rate drops could be implemented in a manner that preserves the progressive tax regime, but with significantly fewer tax brackets.

For those in the lower tax brackets, the majority of their annual income is spent on non-GST’able expenditures such as groceries, rent and health care. Those with higher disposable incomes would contribute more to government revenues as a result. This preserves the progressive tax regime, protects the vulnerable and doesn’t penalize the creation of wealth.

More comprehensive reforms could also be analyzed to determine the best solution for Canadians.

Update

Modernize:

In recent months, there has been a growing call for government to implement a “wealth tax”. The New Democratic Party has suggested that a 1% on families with a net worth in excess of $20 million would generate net tax revenue of $5.6 billion in 2020-21.

As mentioned above, government should not introduce further tax on the creation of wealth. This tax policy will only further drive investment out of the country at a time that we can ill afford it.

Additionally, there have been calls to add an additional layer of tax on big tech companies, most notably Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple. There is no doubt that these companies have seen record profits in 2020 but haphazardly implementing a 3% tax on the revenues of these companies will likely back fire.

The reason why large corporations are able to take advantage of low tax rates in foreign jurisdictions is due to varied rates across the globe. If one jurisdiction makes the decision to implement a tax increase, naturally, corporations will seek out lower tax jurisdictions.

If government is concerned with tech giants skirting federal taxes, they need to consult with all jurisdictions in which these companies operate. A unilateral tax will simply resulting in these corporations moving profits to lower tax jurisdictions.

Support

Be Supportive:

The Canada Revenue Agency is typically thought of with disdain by many Canadian taxpayers. Some of these feelings are self induced, others are not.

Much like the difficulties that individuals and businesses have in navigating the Income Tax Act (ITA), the same can be said for CRA agents. While the senior agents typically have specific training and field experience, the majority of front line CRA agents simply do not have the necessary training to effectively help taxpayers navigate the complexities of the ITA.

In order for the CRA to provide more supportive service to taxpayers, they too need to see a reform in the ITA. It simply is not fair to ask agents to be able to interpret the ITA and how it applies to each taxpayer they speak with.

Secondly, the CRA needs to revise audit training procedures for their agents that considers materiality of each case. Far too often I see audit cases that request significant amounts of supporting documentation in response to a taxpayers nominal expense claim. Some of these being less than $100.

This places a significant administrative burden on taxpayers, specifically small business owners. It also leads to a great deal of frustration, which further damages the relationship between this government agency and the general public.

 

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Canada’s middle class has fallen on difficult times in recent years. This has only been exasperated by the impacts of COVID-19.

For far too long, Canada has lost investment and stymied growth due to its archaic tax regime.

The Liberal government has promised to “build back better” and create an economy that is just and equitable for all. Details of these plans remain to be seen.

Instead of grandiose plans stemming from pie-in-the-sky slogans, the government should immediately look to reform the tax system.

Focusing on simplicity, modernization and reducing administrative burden will give taxpayers the confidence to know that their hard work will translate into consistent after-tax earnings.

It’s time to unleash the power of the Canadian worker, supported by a competitive and modern tax regime. Future generations depend on it.

https://www.jaredpilon.com/

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Opinion

When the going gets tough, the tough get praying….

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Amidst the turbulence of our present medical situation in the world, fear and panic is the easy way out.

We, in Alberta, are blessed with a Premier who has stood up for the common man.  He has never advocated tough measures nor walking lockstep with our Prime Minister and Dr. Tam.  Dr. Hinshaw has maintained a calm response in the face of public pressure.

People of all stripes have an opinion on the origins, prevention and cure for Covid 19.

We can talk about this until the end of 2020, but when the going gets tough, the tough get praying.  Petra, a popular Christian rock group, wrote a song called “Get on your knees and fight like a man.”

It is now time to fight like men and women who believe in God and His power to change the world.  The only way we, as human beings can change the world is to stand up the bullies, to those who would force their will on us when we do not and will never agree.

Our provincial leaders are now in that place.

Earlier tonight, November 22, I received a whats app message that stated the following:

A friend whos sister- in -law is a neighbor of Jason Kenny just texted me tonight – she said he is asking for prayer tonight and tomorrow. He is feeling intense pressure to bow to the feds to shut Alberta down.

They are also urging people to send him a quick email….telling them they’re praying for him and stand with him for no further lockdowns. Share with others

[email protected]

Now is the time to fight on our knees for OUR province and country.

We do not want a lockdown like Manitoba or Toronto.

There is NO blood running in the streets, patients are not waiting outside hospitals with covid/flu symptoms and nor are schools shut down with no teachers or students.  Stores till have staff and our economy is still alive, for now.

This is NO emergency.  But it could be if a lockdown is imposed.

PRAY like your life depends on it, because it does.

If the federal government defies the constitution and forces a lockdown, PRAY still that God will heal and protect as he has promised.

Part of a church? Organize a prayer night or get together with your friends.  This is the time to act.

If you do not believe in God…pray to your god, send good thoughts and an email supporting NO lockdown if you feel that is right.

There are no atheists in foxholes.  I believe that this is a crucial time in Alberta history.

Be part of the victory over Ottawa and help us protect democracy in our province.

 

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november, 2020

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