EDITORIAL: Councils paralyzed

Labour dispute in Qualicum Beach provides some measure of explanation there, but what about Parksville?

Staff numbers are lean and it’s the summer. We get all that.

However, there are some important pieces of business that are being pushed to the side in both Qualicum Beach and Parksville.

The councils and staff in both communities are consumed with some big issues right now. The Qualicum Beach labour dispute took what we consider to be a wrong turn on Monday when the town council invited our reporter in for a chat about the labour dispute.

Far be it for us to stop this kind of communication. They want to negotiate through the media, we will oblige, no problem. Is it a constructive way to get through an impasse? Doubtful. It often has the opposite effect, with sides digging in with even more fervour. We shall see.

Meanwhile, the future of two parcels of high-profile land in the downtown village — the old bus garage and the old fire hall — remains in limbo.

In Parksville, it’s all about the water treatment plant. Staff, we are told, are so consumed with this, other issues are being pushed aside.

Like Qualicum Beach, Parksville has a high-profile section of taxpayer-owned land that sits vacant, seemingly without a plan or any direction.

There was a public meeting scheduled for Aug. 27 about this parcel in Parksville, the attractive lot at the corner of Alberni Highway and Jensen Avenue. Last week, Coun. Sue Powell made a motion (passed unanimously) that postponed that public meeting. Curiously, she mentioned the Englishman River Water Service in the preamble to the motion about postponing that public meeting.

We later asked the city about any connection between the two, because we could not conjure one up. Senior staff told us there really is no link between the two, except the ERWS/referendum issue is “consuming a lot of staff time and resources. We just don’t have the time to deal with it (the public meeting on the vacant lot) right now.”

It seems both of these councils are paralyzed right now. Residents can decide whether the reasons for this paralysis are understandable and reasonable. Certainly a labour dispute is cause for paralysis, but what’s Parksville’s excuse?

The sympathetic resident would look at these situations and come to the conclusion there’s no fat in the town and city halls around here — they’re lean operations. A less sympathetic voice might ask: ever hear of multi-tasking?

— Editorial by John Harding

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