EDITORIAL: Feeling his Oates

Rookie city councillor in Parksville making waves early in his mandate

This could be an interesting, quote-laden four years at Parksville city council.

If rookie Coun. Kirk Oates was trying to elicit a reaction, trying to make headlines, he succeeded last week on a couple of fronts.

City council has the power to pass a bylaw that would outlaw future woodstove installations, said Oates, but his colleagues lack the political will. People who want to have woodstoves “can perhaps move to the regional district,” he said.

Perfect. Keep it coming, Coun. Oates, the notebook is filling up as fast as the e-mail folder with letters to the editor from people angry that a rookie councillor is telling them how they should heat their homes. And where to go if they don’t like it.

Not done there? By all means, carry on.

The city should write a letter to the federal Minister responsible for Canada Post in support of its workers and decrying the Conservatives’ axing of a Crown corporation that’s “part of the fabric of the country,” said Oates, loud and proud.

Many municipalities have written a similar letter. Not sure how many of the councillors who brought the motion forward in those communities are national representatives for the Canadian Union of Public Employees, which is what Oates does in his day job.

Far be it for us to quell the theatre, but perhaps Oates could have had a fellow councillor bring that Canada Post motion to the table in Parksville last week.

What’s next from Oates? If the early budget discussions are any indication, he might be calling for a tax increase of more than the 2.5-3 per cent currently being considered.

At the other side of the table is Coun. Al Greir, who wants a tax freeze this year, as in zero per cent.

As with most things in life, the middle ground is usually the most palatable. And often reached through compromise after debate.

Oh, and every homeowner you want to chase out of town, Coun. Oates, represents about $2,500 in tax revenue. If 20 of those flee to the regional district, the city may have to lay off a union employee.

— Editorial by John Harding

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