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Once this is acknowledged, it becomes possible to strategize more creatively, to rethink other aspects of development, forms of collective action, coordination. Other options become visible, such as phasing of investment, re-distributing revenues. It becomes possible then to redress the balance between public and private space and gains. Seeking and demonstrating alternatives, creative funding and investment strategies employed in other places, can sometimes break open this problematic situation of non- reflection on the governance path and of equating strategizing and spending, and spending and taxes. •

Image: Stéphane Lavoie. Terrace, BC

The idea that taxes are the main instrument for implementing a development strategy comes out of narratives which have to be analyzed and assessed. In Western Canada, the “tax story” is often heard and accepted, despite the fact that other development tools, policies, and plans are readily available in many communities. Tax stories are often coupled with stories about residential and commercial growth as necessarily good, and in other cases are tied to a local governance that lacks reflexivity or insight into what the community wants to do with revenue, or even how it is currently spent. In more conservative circles, taxes can become a priori negative, and lowering them in general and for specific actors is necessarily good.

In Terrace, BC, municipal income shortfalls are a common source of concern. Increased economic growth and activity outside of the town’s boundaries mean that Terrace does not receive badly-needed industrial tax revenues. Yet, many of the costs of growth associated with the outlying industrial expansion — associated with the added population, related businesses, and other developments — are experienced in Terrace. Many new activities and people depend on its municipal services. Today, residential taxes, which proportionally yield less revenue, make up most of the town’s income, and as a result, fund many of the essential services in Terrace that “keep it alive”. Yet, “with residential taxes, there is a ceiling”. As some explain, if 152

Boom and Bust: a guide

Profile for University of Alberta Extension

Boom & Bust: A Guide, Managing Ups and Downs in Communities  

Boom and Bust: A Guide is the result of a collective effort at the University of Alberta to better understand the dramatic ups and downs whi...

Boom & Bust: A Guide, Managing Ups and Downs in Communities  

Boom and Bust: A Guide is the result of a collective effort at the University of Alberta to better understand the dramatic ups and downs whi...

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