Garbagegate issue carries on

Dear Editor,

It is nice to see the local Chamber of Commerce finally expressing its opinion regarding the “garbagegate” as its president so eloquently put it. Well, maybe the local paper is the gate to the truth for Harrison residents. What is disturbing though, is the Chambers president lack of support for local commerce and business in supporting the decision of Harrison council awarding a $700,000.00 plus dollar contract to an out of the area contractor. Could this possibly be one of the reasons why a lot of smaller municipalities find themselves in precarious financial positions, having continuously to raise taxes and fees which seem to escalate year in year out. Having kept a contract such as this with a capable local contractor could have seen 40 to 80% of these dollars spend back into the local economy of the area, for services required to operate. Dollars like these support other local businesses; creating employment and additional tax revenues for the local area, now these dollars are gone forever. I wonder what economic agenda he is adhering too? Certainly not that of common sense!

What is this world coming too? Reading these recent articles in the January 20th issue of the Observer I could not but write again about the discriminating position the village of Harrison seems to have taken towards local businesses. That is the issue, no sour grapes, no axe to grind and yes a family member of mine is a local contractor but my previous letters were not biased like possibly that of the Chambers president. This now seems to be confirmed by a former village councillor with aspirations of running again this coming fall and the chair of the Harrison Economic Development Commission, yes that is one of the other capacities the president from the local Chamber holds. Did someone make some calls; is this partisan politics at work? It is hard to believe that the local Chamber of Commerce president can come out with such a letter totally with no regard for local business. Should he not be in support of local business?

As far as people being misled, could it possibly be that they were being kept in the dark? If misinformation was used, only the source can be blamed, the figures and data I used came from the village and information it made available to the public. No matter how informed some people claim to be, my experience was, while talking with numerous residents prior to the December council meeting, that it was quite clear that they had no idea about what was happening with the garbage issue in Harrison. Many of them expressed, that they would strongly be in support for local contractors to be given an opportunity to bid on this service, however they too were kept in the dark. What would have been wrong in contacting the local contractors for input, were they ever? So being in support of local business and area residents being informed I followed the example of Mr. Reyerse to put it as he did “bring the facts in this situation to light” and contacted the local contractors like he had Harrison’s Economic Development Officer and asked them 3 key questions. Had they ever been contacted by the Harrison Economic Development Officer or other village staff? Neither had been contacted. So how did the village arrive at the conclusion that the local contractors had no experience in contracting with a municipality or district? How long had their respective companies been servicing the public? One for well over 18 years and the other for over 26 years servicing the “public”. Talking about public service!!!! Would they be capable of providing the type of service the village now is receiving? Both answered a big confirmative yes and a better more personalized as both are family operated. Yes, we are talking about local family’s serving families is that not what community should be all about. I’m sure that at one time the new company servicing Harrison now did not have a contract with a municipality or district either, they had to start somewhere and were given that opportunity along the way while growing their company.

To date we still don’t know the true cost for this service as stated at the last council meeting of December 6, in an exchange between Mayor and Economic Development Officer regarding this issue (the cost for the green waste). Late last year I talked with some other companies in communities of similar size as Harrison. Namely Euclulet, BC and Port Hardy, BC who by the way both support their local contractor, and there is just no way a company can provide this service as claimed by the village for $12.75 per month. They would go broke or running it as a lost leader if big enough which I don’t believe is the case this being a 5 year contract, at the end of the day a company needs to make a profit. The same company Harrison now uses is charging for a similar service the town of Hope $20.42 per month per resident as stated by the Harrison village. You do the math.

His statement that “the winning bid was selected based on an extensive list of weighted criteria” I would strongly agree with. However with a different aspect of one of those weighted criteria being to totally ignore local contractors, as what has taken place can certainly attest too. Hopefully time will shed some more light on this sort of reasoning. Lastly as stated by the Chambers president “the truth is out there, sometimes you have to do some digging to find it” and that is what I have been doing. Digging, as the truth will set you free. Still concerned Harrison resident. John Loosdrecht