The NEWS’ front-page report on Nov. 18 noted that the new mayor of Parksville had been endorsed by “local political heavyweights, former mayors Randy Longmuir, Sandy Herle and Chris Burger.”
Many folks who’ve kept a eye on local politics during the past couple decades would surely agree that the term “heavyweights” seems somewhat incongruous, when applied to those mentioned.
During their terms, which date back to when the new mayor was first elected councillor 12 years ago, they ceded power to highly-paid bureaucrats and very costly consultants.
A quick peak at the past dozen years show many things were mishandled, starting with crowded meetings about the Island Hall/Beach Club when public opinion was disregarded as meaningless.
Then the expensive cosmetic “upgrading” of the stretch of Alberni Highway between 19A and Jensen Avenue — locally known as Snafu Avenue; followed by the half-million dollar dirt berm on the beach that requires repair every time a Nor’Westerly Winter gale blows in.
Who can forget the Fire Hall Fiasco, when city hall was determined to borrow $5.7 million, and for taxpayers to repay $11.4 million, including compound interest.
Their free-spending plans were stymied by a referendum; thanks to a successful alternative application process (AAP) that was ignited by a disparate band of scribblers. The AAP brought about the referendum that went down in ignominious defeat, and also brought about seething contempt and disdain by the six of the seven elected officials and the bureaucrats.
Then along came the Master Transportation Plan that was resurrected and flogged to death for a year before being presented to the citizens, who again showed their backbone by dispatching it to the nearest garbage dumpster.
Those were days when real Parksville People Power was on display, but it is a shame that was not too evident on Nov. 15, when only 35 per cent of the electorate managed to make it to the polling places.
It really means that the new mayor receives support from only about one in five citizens. Looks like we may have yet another person occupying a mayor’s chair who becomes secondary to the bureaucrats and consultants who continue to pull the strings of elected marionettes.