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

The Coombs Candy Walk will not be held this year due to COVID-19. (PQB News file photo)
COVID-19: Popular Coombs Candy Walk cancelled for 2020

Organizers promise ‘out of this world’ Halloween for 2021

(BLACK PRESS FILE PHOTO)
Nanaimo man killed in Highway 4 crash

RCMP say dirt bike turned ‘suddenly’ into traffic

Police in Nanaimo are looking for a woman who allegedly threw hot coffee on a McDonald’s employee. (News Bulletin photo)
UPDATE: Nanaimo RCMP still looking for woman who threw coffee at worker after already receiving refund

Police asking for information in investigation that could lead to assault charges

Our Home on 8th, the Port Alberni Shelter that opened in March 2019, has 27 extra ‘extreme weather’ spaces for people who need a place to get out of the cold. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
BC VOTES 2020: Mid-Island candidate plans occupation of shelter to protest homelessness

Graham Hughes says homeless situation a ‘crisis’ in Port Alberni

Jordan Jay Ward is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for two counts of manslaughter. Photo supplied
Wanted man from Calgary may be on Vancouver Island

Jordan Jay Ward is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for two counts of manslaughter

Actor Ryan Reynolds surprised a Shuswap family with a special birthday message to their son who was worried he’d be alone on his 9th birthday on Nov. 24. (Tiffanie Trudell/Facebook)
Ryan Reynolds text almost gives away Shuswap boy’s birthday surprise

Deadpool actor helps remind eight-year-old Canoe resident he’s not alone

One of the squirrels who ended up having their tails amputated after getting them stuck together with tree sap. (Facebook/Wild ARC)
Squirrels recovering from tail amputation after sap situation near Victoria

BC SPCA Wild ARC says squirrels will be released back into wild, fifth sibling was euthanized

Environment Minister George Heyman, Premier John Horgan and Energy Minister Michelle Mungall announce that B.C. Hydro is proceeding with construction of the Site C dam, Dec. 11, 2017. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
Site C actions, costs won’t be known until after B.C. election, Horgan says

Peace River diverted for construction of reinforced dam base

The Cowichan Steelheads’ Jesus Martinez (left) and the Cowichan 49ers’ Daryl Rodgers chase down the ball during Saturday night’s all-Cowichan clash at the Sherman Road turf. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan masters derby takes unexpected turn with broken leg

Soccer community comes together in midst of battle

Vancouver police reactivated the search for Jordan Naterer Thursday Oct. 22. Photo courtesy of VPD.
Mom of missing Manning Park hiker believes her son is waiting to come home

‘He’s going to come out of a helicopter and say ‘what took you so long?”

Most Read