UBCM finale ‘Romper Room’

The agenda was light, with fewer items to consider than any meeting this council has faced since it was elected almost two years ago.

The agenda was light, with fewer items to consider than any meeting this council has faced since it was elected almost two years ago.

There was barely a quorum, with three empty seats for a seven-member board.

Near the end of Parksville’s city council meeting Monday, Coun. Kirk Oates couldn’t hide his disappointment over how the recent Union of B.C. Municipalities annual convention ended last week, with Minister Peter Fassbender listing the 35 communities that were to get some additional infrastructure funding. Parksville wasn’t on the list. There were hopes the city might get additional grant money to offset costs of its $26 million water intake and treatment project.

Oates was still fired up about it on Wednesday morning.

“I felt like I was in Romper Room,” said the Newfoundland-raised councillor, referring to a children’s television show from his youth that featured the lead character reading off names while looking at a mirror.

“I never felt so degraded in my life as I did then,” said Oates about the process, which involved Fassbender reading random children’s names of communities and asking their representatives to go to a room to get their funding letters. “We sat there like little children with baited breath, waiting for crumbs from the table from the provincial government.”

At Monday night’s council meeting, Oates said the whole process “didn’t give me the warm and fuzzies.”

Mayor Marc Lefebvre said the UBCM conference provided him with more information, and perhaps some warnings, about issues like the future of policing costs and health-care delivery. He also said he came away from the conference with a more focussed view of issues around homelessness.

“The message I got is we better deal with these issues of addiction and homelessness first or we will end up with tent cities,” said the mayor.

In other news from Monday’s meeting:

• Council passed a motion so the city can accept $30,750 in lieu of about one-tenth of an acre of parkland for a subdivision of lots near the intersection of Pym and Temple streets.

• Council agreed the city will spend $1,210 for signage, and $150/year in maintenance, to let people know about the Tidal Treasures being placed near the waterfront.

• The mayor, Oates and councillors Leanne Salter and Mary Beil were in attendance on Monday. The next council meeting is Monday, Oct. 17 at 6 p.m. at city hall.

• The byelection to fill the council seat vacated by Al Greir is set for Oct. 22. Candidates were involved in a forum last night at Ballenas Secondary School. For a report on that forum, visit www.pqbnews.com and see the Tuesday, Oct. 11 edition of The NEWS.