The town of Qualicum Beach has released a statement saying a recent survey put out by Coun. Adam Walker was not endorsed by the town.
“The town needs to clarify that the survey postcard was not sent by the Town of Qualicum Beach, nor is it endorsed in any way by the town,” read a Aug. 25 release. “The notice and associated survey was sent by a member of council, acting independently without the prior knowledge of the town. The town has no knowledge of how responses will be used, should residents choose to complete the survey.”
It was also discussed at the most recent council meeting on Aug. 19. Walker said he reached out to most members of council for feedback on the survey, but didn’t hear back. The survey was entitled, “Official Community Plan Change Survey Invitation.” On the back it said, “This survey is a community engagement opportunity organized by Adam Walker, Councillor with the Town of Qualicum Beach.”
“It’s very clear to me and to those who reviewed it that this was an effort that was done by me to engage with our community,” said Walker.
Walker said he didn’t oppose the motion for staff to release a statement on the survey, but asked if it could be deferred to a future meeting. The motion was ultimately passed, 3-2, with Counsellors Walker and Robert Filmer voting in opposition.
Filmer said he didn’t support the motion for a few reasons. He said he thinks there have been inconsistencies in the town addressing councillors speaking outside of chambers through emails or surveys and that there are numerous and legitimate ways for councillors to engage with the public.
“There are letters sent out that do not represent my views and are never discussed with this council, but they go out anyways and we have residents coming back saying, ‘what the heck is this’ and we all get flack for it, ” he said. “So I think we all need to either treat it all equally or just ignore it all at once, but I think this one is being singled out and I don’t agree with it.”
Coun. Scott Harrison followed and said he had a problem with the contents of the survey, saying that the context could be misleading to citizens.
“Sending out an email or a letter saying, ‘I believe this’ is one thing. Sending out an official survey and pretending it’s a document coming from the town, to some extent, is perhaps a different thing all together,” he said.