EDITORIAL: Tests of transparency

Will Parksville city council be open about what's happening with the community centre and possible land for a facility to help homeless?

It will be interesting to see how the City of Parksville handles two sensitive and important issues that will be pushed back into the spotlight this month.

The local Homelessness Task Force is expected to finish a feasibility study funded by the province this month. Members of the task force have told city council the next step is the city providing a parcel of land for a facility that will provide housing and services for the homeless and others in need.

Mayor Marc Lefebvre spoke about meeting behind closed doors to discuss land for the facility. For obvious reasons, we have no idea what was discussed in that meeting, or if it even occurred.

When there is an information void, people will fill it. In this case, it would be fair to speculate about the city-owned land at the corner of Jensen Avenue and Alberni Highway. It certainly fits the location criteria for a homeless shelter/housing facility — it is close to services in the downtown core.

That piece of land is so high-profile and serves as a welcoming point to the downtown shopping area. Is a homeless shelter the best use of that land? We’re not sure taxpayers would be in favour of that location, but it’s low-hanging fruit for a city council that has — despite some campaign promises — ignored the potential of this site. We would rather see the city put out a request for proposals for that site to see if there are some good ideas out there and we can only imagine the public outcry if land is chosen without any public input or discussion.

Secondly, the KPMG report on the operations and management of the Parksville Community and Conference Centre (PCCC) is due this month.

The report should shed light on the potential for the facility and if it’s being properly marketed and managed. Some city councillors, you may recall, were not happy with the annual taxpayer subsidy ($250,000, 57 per cent of the PCCC’s revenue) going to the facility, especially considering this number wasn’t expected to decrease in the future. Council met behind closed doors on this issue as well, which we found odd considering a non-profit society, and not the city, is in charge of PCCC operations.

We want to believe openness and transparency will guide council and staff as these two issues come to the forefront this month. Unfortunately, this mayor and council and staff has repeatedly demonstrated their preference to have any kind of contentious debate far away from the eyes and ears of taxpayers and the media.

— Editorial by John Harding

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19: SD69 working on how to organize schools for planned fall re-opening

Qualicum School District required to have plan to ministry by Aug. 26

Throwback: Parksville Makerspace shows off old Commodore 64 computer

Open house takes place Aug. 8, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

COVID-19: Modified beach volleyball a hit in Parksville

Organizer happy to get popular summer game going

Ballenas students help keep essential community services going

Club donates $1,000 to SOS Grateful Hearts campaign

‘We all have anxieties’: B.C.’s top doctor addresses return-to-school fears amid COVID-19

Dr. Bonnie Henry promises school restart plan safe for B.C. kids

Maple Bay man rushed to hospital after being trapped under car

BC Ambulance and Maple Bay Fire Department attend scene on Wednesday morning

Facebook launches its new TikTok clone, Instagram Reels

Facebook has a long tradition of cloning competitive services

Dwindling B.C. bamboo supply leaves Calgary Zoo biologists worried about pandas

Zoo has been trying to send pandas back to China since May

B.C. doctors, dentists call on province for mandatory mask rule

Open letter says masks should be worn in indoor public spaces, public transportation or in crowds

B.C. Appeal Court prevents Victoria woman from using the term ‘death midwife’ in her job

Pashta MaryMoon claimed she had been providing “death-care services” for more than 40 years

B.C. fish harvesters receive long-awaited details on pandemic benefits

Applications to the $470-million federal assistance programs will open Aug. 24

Most Read