How does our beautiful city compare with others in New Zealand?
In the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend, Tauranga councillor Max Mason revealed our city lacks eight facilities and attractions that are expected in other cities: A large performing arts/conference centre, an international hotel, a completed quality waterfront/river feature, 50m swimming pool, museum, a thriving city centre, a quality outdoor sports/events stadium, and a selection of indoor/wet-weather tourism attractions.
I found it sad to read that, but I wasn't surprised.
It seems to me the announcement of any new facility in Tauranga is met with staunch opposition, especially if it's going to add money to rates bills.
But taxes and rates are the prices we must pay for living in a modern city.
Hark back to the famous quote: "Taxes are what we pay for civilised society", said by United States Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jnr in 1904.
They pay for our shared amenities such as water, sewerage, footpaths and roads.
All adult citizens are tasked with helping pay for these facilities, whether we use them or not, because they benefit the city as a whole.
You may have a water bore at your home, but your rates will help pay for pipes elsewhere.
You may not drive a car, but you'll still help pay for roads.
We can live our lives without any of those things, really. But we do need them if we want a civilised society.
Not having them is detrimental to the health of our city and to the wealth of our citizens.
Same goes for facilities such as reserves, museums, pools and sports grounds.
They are just as vital to the lifeblood of a civilised society as sewerage systems are, by helping maintain the health of our bodies and minds, and forging bonds between members of our community.
Some things are worth paying for.