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Greir taking a step back

Snake bite, concussions present health challenges for 75-year-old Parksville city councillor

Parksville Councillor Al Greir admits his recovery from recent health issues is slow, but he says he has no doubt he'll recover completely and be back as one of the most active councillors.

After Greir was bit by a rattlesnake near Palm Springs on March 3 it took him nearly two weeks to recover enough to fly home, where he jumped back into his active life.

"It's a slow process and I think I've taken too much on my plate," said the 75-year-old, second-term councillor.

He left the April 15 council meeting abruptly saying he wasn't feeling well and The NEWS has received some comment and questions about his health and ability to continue serving.

"The municipal act is very clear, if someone misses meetings due to illness or injury their seat is protected — they can miss any number of meetings," said mayor Chris Burger. "It's almost about us pressuring him not to come in," encouraging him to take it easy and make sure he completely recovers, he said.

If councillors miss more than four meetings "without leave of council," council can deem the seat vacant, but in the case of health issues it is left up to the individual to resign.

Greir said he is pulling back on his council duties.

"I've turned down a few meetings, but I will be at council on Monday," he said, highlighting his level of involvement, which Burger also talked about.

"When I go in early he's often there before me," said Burger. "He spends a huge amount of time at city hall. Aside from any political differences, he's very popular among staff, everybody likes him and we just want him to get better."

"I'm positive I'm on the mend, it's just taking a long time," Greir said, suggesting lightheartedly that the three concussions he suffered playing hockey last season may be a big part of his current health problems and pointing out he is under close medical supervision.