EDITORIAL: The need to talk

City staff and council might want to consider actual conversations with residents and businesses potentially affected by developments

One could argue that communication missteps are at the root of most incidents that cause frustration.

We believe that’s true whether we are talking about personal issues or the relationships between governments and taxpayers.

We’ll steer away from personal issues in this space.

The City of Parksville continues to shoot itself in the foot when it comes to actually communicating with the people who foot the bill.

The latest example centres around a list of bylaw variances requested by a developer who wants to build a four-storey building with 19 condos and retail shops on the bottom floor. The zoning for the land is appropriate for this type of structure, so city staff and council are not legally required to make direct contact with the neighbours.

However, ‘not legally required’ shouldn’t be where communication ends.

The short version of the story is the developer is asking for variances that will eliminate the need for a loading zone/platform, among other things, including a request to have only 23 parking paces. The key issue is all access to the building — 19 residences, visitors, staff and customers for the retail shops — would be through a laneway behind Jensen Avenue, an alley that connects all the homes and businesses and service organizations that front both Jensen and Hirst Avenue.

If you have driven that laneway, or tried to turn in or out of it onto the Alberni Highway, you know it’s dicey now, never mind adding 19 residences and shops.

The Hirst buildings that would be most affected by this new development? The Society of Organized Services Thrift Shop and the Royal Canadian Legion. One would be hard-pressed to find two organizations that do more selfless work for this community.

Did council or staff bother to directly contact the SOS or the Legion about this potential major change to the traffic and safety of their neighbourhood? Nope.

This is not Vancouver. It’s not even Nanaimo. We know each other. The laneway in question and the Legion and the SOS are about a block-and-a-half from city hall. Staff and councillors know well the people who lead the SOS and the Legion.

Perhaps staff take their lead, in terms of how important it is to communicate with the public, from a city council which has conducted at least 50 behind-closed-doors meetings in just over two years.

— Editorial by John Harding

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

Just Posted

Illegal waste-dumping spikes in Regional District of Nanaimo during 2019

Last year the RDN collected 74 tonnes last year

Iconic white raven returns to Parksville Qualicum Beach area

Photographer John Domovich: ‘It blew me away when I first observed it’

Parksville’s Summer by the Sea event starts June 30

‘We are looking forward to providing a vibrant market’

Qualicum Beach man arrested over racist incident at Tseshaht First Nation

Port Alberni RCMP said the man turned himself in

VIDEO: B.C. dentist gets grand welcome home after two months in hospital fighting COVID-19

Michael Chow was given a surprise send off by hospital staff and ‘welcome home’ from neighbours

Friends, family mourn Salt Spring Island woman killed in suspected murder-suicide

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched for Jennifer Quesnel’s three sons

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

‘Like finding a needle in a haystack’: Ancient arrowhead discovered near Williams Lake

The artifact is believed to be from the Nesikip period between 7,500 BP to 6,000 BP

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Indigenous chief alleges RCMP beat him during arrest that began over expired licence plate

Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam calling for independent investigation

Black Lives solidarity demonstration fills Nanaimo park

Anti-racism protest held at Maffeo Sutton Park on Friday afternoon

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Most Read