Patronage allegations levelled at Qualicum Beach town council meeting

Discussion about the town's ad buying policies became heated

Qualicum Beach Coun. Barry Avis brought a motion forward to see the town split advertising dollars between the two local newspapers, but Coun. Bill Luchtmeijer called the move “just one more political patronage deal” at Monday night’s council meeting.

Avis said he wants to “ensure there is equity in the issuance of the town’s advertising funds and that notices be split between the two local newspapers, the Oceanside Star and the Parksville Qualicum Beach News.”

However, Luchtmeijer said “I think this motion shows a complete lack of faith in our town staff’s ability to evaluate the effectiveness of our ad dollars.”

Luchtmeijer went on to say the motion, and lack of discussion, ignores the merits of cost, circulation and even editorial bias.

“In my neighbourhood the Oceanside Star isn’t delivered and it hasn’t been delivered for many, many years so if we’re going to evaluate one paper versus the other don’t you think we should do it based on how effective the town can be in our communications policy?” asked Luchtmeijer rhetorically.

Moreover, Luchtmeijer questioned the Oceanside Star’s election coverage.

“I know that the Oceanside Star has provided a lot of free publicity during the last election for Coun. Avis and Coun. Horner to the exclusion of everyone else and after last month’s advisory planning commission appointments, and now this motion, a person might come to conclude this is just one more political patronage deal being proposed by councillor Avis on behalf of his political supporters,” Luchtmeijer said.

“I have faith in our staff, their ability to do their jobs and the policies and communications strategies in place in the town, I therefore will not support this motion.”

Avis retaliated saying the motion “has nothing to do with favouritism.”

“If you went by the town’s purchasing policy all of it (advertising) would be done through the Oceanside Star because their prices are better, in fact, and I didn’t want to go that far to say it should all be done through the Oceanside Star,” said Avis. “I’m just saying that it should be equal.”

He called both local newspapers “a credit to our community” adding they “report on different matters, sometimes in different ways.”

Avis called it “practical” and “sensible” to support both publications equally.

The motion was deferred back to staff who was directed to revisit the town’s purchasing policy to ensure equity of advertising funds. A staff report is expected at the March 23 meeting.

Just Posted

Qualicum Beach craft beer festival to showcase local brews, spirits

Event will feature 20 Vancouver Island breweries and distilleries

Vandals wreak havoc on Parksville flower beds

‘Senseless’ act causes thousands of dollars in damage

Parksville senior weightlifters prepare for world championships

Couple training for August event in Montreal

Air Canada reviewing how crew left sleeping passenger on parked plane

In a Facebook post, the woman said she woke up ‘all alone’ on a ‘cold dark’ aircraft

Four-year-old boy assaulted at B.C. soccer game

It happened at a weekend tournament in Ashcroft

Top B.C. court upholds ruling that struck down indefinite solitary confinement

Feds had appealed ruling in case brought by B.C. Civil Liberties Association, John Howard Society

Two bear cubs saved near Revelstoke after mother hit by car

Conservation officers trapped the cubs and transported them to a wildlife sanctuary

Heroism medal for B.C. woman who tried to save wheelchair-bound man stuck on rail tracks

Julie Callaghan awarded Carnegie Medal from U.S.-based foundation for ‘extraordinary heroism’

Surrey RCMP raises Pride flag amid din of protesters

There were about 30 protesters on either side, and 20 Mounties doing crowd control

B.C. students’ camping trip goes ahead despite tents getting stolen

Nanaimo businesses, school staff and parents ensure trip goes on

Only legal pot shop between Vancouver and Kamloops now open

Private cannabis store on Skwah land in Chilliwack is first B.C. licensee to be Indigenous owned

Victoria woman in L.A. hospital after she was run over twice

Lynn Phillips has suffered from multiple broken bones and internal bleeding

Most Read