Residents’ association still calling for better communications

QBRA issues news release two days before Town With the Town meeting Thursday night

The Qualicum Beach Residents Association says its long-standing calls for better communication between staff, council and taxpayers is falling on deaf ears at town hall.

The QBRA issued a news release Tuesday, calling on town council to implement new policies “to enhance the effectiveness of interaction with residents.”

The association says it will present this position paper at the Talk With the Town meeting tonight (Thursday, 7 p.m.) at the civic centre.

The QBRA says it has previously recommended things like the reinstatement of advisory committees and improved access to council decision-making through the streaming of meetings and providing auditory devices for visitors.

“To date, we haven’t had a substantive response from council on any of our recommendations over the past eighteen months, which says a lot about the need for improvements in the way communications are managed,” QBRA president Bill Adkins said in the news release.

“We are recommending common sense actions that will provide better opportunity for citizen input, better communication of council plans, better practice by town staff and the improvement of decorum at council meetings.”

Adkins said the QBRA board has forwarded its recommendations to the town. The QBRA has posted its recommendations on its website (www.qbresidents.ca) with a request that residents review them in advance of the Talk With the Town event tonight.

The Town of Qualicum Beach’s cultural consultant, who has also been handling communications duties, was asked to respond to the QBRA’s news release and position paper on Tuesday:

“The town looks forward to welcoming feedback from the community on communications planning from the QBRA and any other members of the public, whether they are long-term residents or have recently moved to the area,” Patricia Huntsman wrote in an e-mail. “Many of the items brought forward in the QBRA’s paper are included as topics for the roundtable discussions which will follow a presentation updating the public on communications planning to date.”

Coun. Dave Willie, who has some public battles with the QBRA in recent months, was also asked to comment about the QBRA position paper.

“I’m truly disappointed they choose to be the antagonist instead of like other groups who are working hard to make Qualicum Beach a better place,” said Willie.

The town says the Talk With the Town workshop tonight will include discussion about town-resident-developer dialogue, along with something the town is calling “community engagement strategies.”