Let us look at the future where we have to differentiate between the Needs and the Wants. The Needs are obvious, essential and cannot be compromised. They are required to have our city functioning properly and safely:
Essential services include quality road rehabilitation, efficient snow and ice removal in winter, good police and fire protection services, maintaining ourinfrastructure above and underground, and adhering to our social responsibilities, to mention only part of the city’s important services and/or service contracts.
Then there are issues that require our future attention above and beyond the essential needs to make our city more attractive and encourage growth.
•We have to apply a fair tax framework with potential tax increases not exceeding the cost of living.
Our property taxes are too high and for many outsiders are not an incentive to live and work here. Not just that, high taxes are also not an incentive for corporations and entrepreneurs to invest in Prince George and create employment causing the tax base to grow. A growing tax base will allow maintaining a low tax rate. It can be done!
• Innovation and education are not just words, but require more action.
Only innovation makes us more competitive and more independent, and will result in new employment. Innovation and education are going hand in hand. New education programs have to be offered at our university and at our college, something Albert is already working on for some time. Our university is losing a certain percentage of students every year. We have to offer more attractive and urgently needed programs to combat that and at the same time avoid a foreclosure of economic opportunities, because we do not have the urgently needed skilled individuals, like for instance technologistand engineers and other technical personnel. We have to beef up the trades programs at our college and provide the training that is in demand now and for the next foreseeable future. It can be done!
•We have to develop a concrete plan for growth of our city, which includes potential direct flights from Europe, new programs at UNBC and CNC, and making downtown more vibrant and attractive
Fully utilizing the new Wood Innovation and Design Centre as a UNBC Downtown campus, which would bring more young people into the core of our city. Focussing increasingly on social issues and improving them. Working together with Northern Health. Reducing crime and working intensively with the RCMP. Meaning, working towards a better and healthier environment and sustainable future economy in our city. Making it attractive to everyone, including visitors and tourists. It can be done!
I always available for discussions, questions and suggestions. It is not about me, but our community!
Dr. Albert Koehler, PEng