Finding locations in Parksville for signs that raise awareness on reporting suspected impaired drivers will have to wait, as city staff sets priorities.
On Monday, June 21, Coun. Doug O’Brien made a motion that staff be directed to determine appropriate locations for a Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) campaign on reporting impaired drivers.
O’Brien’s motion stemmed from a presentation during the previous council meeting on June 7, where Margarita Bernard, a volunteer with MADD, asked council if they would allow the signs within the city, as well as install them.
The signs themselves will be provided by MADD at no cost to the city, and are meant to inform drivers that calling 911 is an appropriate method to report suspected impaired drivers on the road.
During the June 7 meeting, Coun. Marilyn Wilson’s motion to support Bernard’s request was favourably passed.
In regards to the MADD campaign itself, O’Brien said he would like to keep staff work to a minimum, suggesting the signs be posted at the three main entrances to Parksville.
However, comments made by the chief administration officer, Keeva Kehler, suggested the task list set by council needs to be prioritized.
“We have 91 projects on our list right now. We started with 47 in January. Every single meeting, at least one, sometimes up to nine, get added. And some of them are multiple tasks. It might be one motion, but it requires several different items for staff to follow up on,” she said.
After a brief discussion around the table on priorities, Wilson first suggested that O’Brien’s motion be amended, while still supporting MADD’s campaign, to be reviewed and placed on a priority list to determine at a future council meeting.
Coun. Adam Fras said, while still in support of the campaign and its intent to educate the public, his concerns lied with establishing a prioritized list and managing staff workload. He suggested the campaign also explore online social media ads, as they may be more effective in getting more people’s attention.
“Anything to get drunk drivers off the road is worthwhile, whether we think it works, or are not sure – anything is better than doing nothing. So I agree with this wholeheartedly,” said Mayor Ed Mayne. “I also understand, because I’ve had the opportunity to look at the staffing requirements, and the fact that we’re 10 full-time staff (members) short to accomplish what we’ve already got on here, that causes a problem.”
O’Brien’s amended motion was favourably passed on June 21, with Fras in opposition.