Mark Bennett: Bio
I live next to the Salmo River at Porto Rico (Ymir) where I make my living as owner of the Underground Coffee Company. I roast organic coffee and also have a coffee shop in Rossland as well as a forestry/environmental/recreation consulting company.
I grew up in Penticton and worked there first for the regional district and then for BC Parks as a ranger.
I moved permanently to the Kootenays in 1993 and was employed as a forest tech for a number of years and then started my own low impact salvage logging company.
I turned back to my parks roots and held numerous parks management contracts and a trail co-ordinator position.
Education wise, I have two years toward an engineering degree, a diploma from Selkirk College in recreation, fish, and wildlife, and a diploma/degree in geographic information systems.
I am just completing the final credit for this degree. I have courses in business, law, and project management.
I have lived and am raising three children at my current location since 1999.
I have watched my taxes rise dramatically and fail to see any value in that tax dollar. I see no vision in the current government with respect to sustainability and no accountability.
I have decided to end my complaining and do something about it. I will act, answer tough questions, and provide better value for the tax dollar.
Top 3 issues
#1. Sustainability. The RDCK has failed to be proactive with respect to environmental issues as well as the promotion of sustainable land use and recreation. It is more and more important to act before we must react to problems which arise.
#2. Accountability/responsibility. I am tired of the runaround from officials when attempting to have issues addressed. It is time for the officials to step up and act rather than avoiding issues affecting the residents of this area.
#3. Taxes. Our property taxes have become unaffordable with no apparent justification for the level of taxation.
I see other jurisdictions with far lower taxation rates that receive more services as well. There has also been an alarming number of “negative option” tax increases in the past year or so whereby tax increases are announced for various initiatives and we are required to gather sufficient signatures to oppose it. This is wrong for the cable companies and it is wrong for our government.