Bizarre battle in Parksville

There are battles worth fighting, but this isn't one of them

It’s like watching a train wreck.

For some inexplicable reason, an allegation of conflict of interest against a Parksville city councillor is being pushed by a local media outlet — a media outlet that regularly publishes stories written by said councillor and presumably pays that councillor for that work.

Talk about a conflict of interest.

Or, actually, no, not really. That’s about as good an argument as saying Carrie Powell-Davidson is in conflict over her council vote (a vote she made way back in May) against later-evening music at one local resort, while at the same time she is being paid by other local resorts to organize a big party. One thing has nothing to do with the other.

Powell-Davidson’s vote didn’t deliver to her untold riches. Her vote didn’t benefit the other resorts — in fact it could have made any application they might make to the city for similar service a tad harder to achieve. And according to the BC Liquor Distribution Branch, the resort in question never even submitted an application to change their license to allow for later-evening music.

Was Powell-Davidson even in a perceived conflict of interest? That’s up to the electors to decide, but we think that, no, not at all.

Why do we think this? Because as a councillor, she is charged with taking care of the best interests of the city — and this fact gives councillors great leeway under the community charter in the decisions they can make — even when they might be in a conflict.

Like the case of a town in the East Kootenay, where the majority of council worked for an area coal mine company, which sought council’s assent to an expansion that would extend the length of the mine’s life — and those councillors’ jobs.

That’s a direct conflict of interest and their approval of the request was challenged in court. The court at the time ruled the councillors were not in conflict, as they were acting for the benefit of the entire town, as most people there depended on the mine for their livelihood.

There are some battles worth fighting.

This is not one of them.

 

— editorial by Steven Heywood