EDITORIAL: Drones in Parksville

We weren't sure exactly where Mayor Marc Lefebvre was going with his speech to the chamber of commerce on Thursday night

At least he didn’t spend 30 minutes talking about aquifer storage and recovery.

Parksville Mayor Marc Lefebvre ventured into some strange territory on Thursday night when he spoke to the Parksville and District Chamber of Commerce, his first major speech since his election in November.

He spoke about multiculturalism. He spoke about health care. He spoke about drones. That’s right, drones.

At first blush, we were wondering if the mayor had lost his marbles. On second thought, we wondered why the mayor wanted to delve into so many issues that are not in his or city council’s sphere of responsibility. Goodness knows there are enough municipal politicians who want to fix health care and problems in the Middle East.

Upon further review, we were willing to cut the mayor some slack. He may have saved himself from ridicule and a future known as Mayor Drone when he suggested Parksville would be a good place for a drone manufacturing/testing company to call home.

Like the medical marijuana facility suggestion floated by his predecessor — an idea that seems to have legs — perhaps these drone comments are just Lefebvre saying the city is open for business. Was he structuring his speech for his chamber of commerce audience on Thursday? Certainly he was, but there is no evidence to suggest Lefebvre is going to spend all his time in office trying to fix social problems.

Or is there?

Lefebvre talks much about poverty issues. He has also tried to paint himself as a champion for accessibility. He has clearly been rattled — like every other politician in the province — by the Chilcotin court decision and now mentions First Nations in every appearance.

Add to this the fact his new council could be described fairly as gentler and softer than ones of the past.

Does this mean Lefebvre and council will spend an inordinate amount of time on social issues? Does this mean high-profile chunks of city-owned land are going to be donated to First Nations or made into community gardens or city-subsidized housing?

We hope Lefebvre and his council understand they need to take steps to ensure there are parcels of land and friendly bylaws/DCCs for future businesses that will pay taxes and supply jobs in this city for years to come.

— Editorial by John Harding

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