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LETTER: From the RDCK Area E director on rural library services

From Ramona Faust

Re: Rural residents are not freeloaders, Aug. 23

I would like to thank Reggie Goldsbury for bringing forward the discussion of fairness and how Area E positions itself with its sub-regional neighbours.

I used the word “free riders” to express the true fact that Area E citizens use facilities that we are not taxed for while our neighbours are. This has been a serious issue in sub-regional relationships while I have navigated representing Area E.

I try to use decorum when working with the public and my frustration at the social media inaccuracies, innuendo and personalization involved in seeking opinion on joining the Nelson Public Library got the better of me and for that I am truly sorry. The citizens of Area E deserve better.

Area F and H contribute to full library use at the Nelson Public Library as does the City of Nelson. I have supported Area E’s children’s participation with grants that do not come from property taxation. We have seven per cent of library users and cover one per cent of library costs. Open access in Area F saw membership increased by 228 per cent. We could expect a similar increase.

Area E uses the RDCK Nelson and District Community Complex (NDCC), but only Area E residents in Blewett and surrounding Nelson join Area F and Nelson in paying taxes for the facility.

We don’t contribute taxation to a number of facilities that see shared use in Nelson.

On behalf of Area E, I have tried to compensate for our use of shared facilities without requesting taxation from Area E by using grants.

The library is an accessible service to anyone who comes through the door and can substantially improve lives.

I was asked to review the library decision by Area E parents, literacy group and educators. This process was to test if the community changed its mind with changing demographics and change in library resource.

I assure Area E residents that I have been in awe of the community buildings and facilities we have and the individualism we have preserved due to dedicated volunteers. I have shared that sentiment whenever I have the opportunity.

Ramona Faust, Director

Electoral Area E

Regional District of Central Kootenay