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

Stolen carousel horse found in ditch, returned to Parksville resort owner

Christmas decoration was stolen from Sunrise Ridge Resort on Nov. 28

SOS: Coming together to make Christmas brighter

Group hopes to reach monetary goal of $110,000

Parksville thieves make off with machetes inside stolen cube van

Crime report: Vandals in Qualicum Beach spread feces all over business bathroom

Crook makes off with cigarettes from Quality Foods in Nanoose Bay

Suspect broke into grocery store early Saturday morning

VIDEO: Ex-NASA engineer pranks mail thieves with glitter bomb trap

Package thefts are common this time of year, but YouTuber Mark Rober used his engineering skills

Lightning top Canucks 5-2 in feisty battle

NHL’s No. 1 team too much for Vancouver

Bear cubs try to take Vancouver Island woman’s Christmas cookies

Incident happened in the early-morning hours today, Dec. 18, in Nanaimo

FortisBC says you can return to normal gas use following pipeline fire

Utility says increased pipeline capacity, warmer weather have allowed supply to reach normal levels

CSIS collected info on peaceful groups, but only in pursuit of threats: watchdog

Security Intelligence Review Committee says fears unjustified after reviewing evidence, testimony

Canada ranks 16th on annual gender gap list

This is the second year Canada has placed 16th in the World Economic Forum’s list

VIDEO: Tornado rips through city west of Seattle

Reports indicate five to seven homes damaged in Port Orchard, Wash.

Trial date postponed for man charged with killing Abbotsford police officer

Oscar Arfmann’s trial pushed back from January to May 2019

Privacy watchdog says legal cannabis buyers should use cash, not credit

Some countries could bar entry to individuals if they know they have purchased cannabis

Most Read