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

Just Posted

Short list for new gnome home includes Parksville, Coombs

Five potential locations have been chosen by Howard’s owners who will decide Tuesday

Parksville’s mystery cowboy revealed

Kevin Gourlay’s horse garners attention for being ‘parked’ outside a liquor store

Qualicum man sentenced for tying up, robbing another man

Gabriel Stephen Nelson robbed and assaulted travelling businessman in 2017

Parksville man ‘parks’ horse during liquor store pit stop

As long as animal wasn’t jaywalking, no problem, says city official

VIDEO: Restaurant robots are already in Canada

Robo Sushi in Toronto has waist-high robots that guide patrons to empty seats

Permit rejected to bring two cheetahs to B.C.

Earl Pfeifer owns two cheetahs, one of which escaped in December 2015

Real-life tsunami threat in Port Alberni prompts evacuation updates

UBC study says some people didn’t recognize the emergency signal

Care providers call for B.C. seniors’ watchdog to step down

The association also asks the province to conduct an audit and review of the mandate of her office

Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from B.C. roaster recalled due to botulism scare

“If you purchased N7 Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from Cherry Hill … do not drink it.”

B.C. man gets award for thwarting theft, sexual assault – all in 10 minutes

Karl Dey helped the VPD take down a violent sex offender

Baby left alone in vehicle in B.C. Walmart parking lot

Williams Lake RCMP issue warning after attending complaint at Walmart Wednesday

Nowhere to grieve: How homeless people deal with loss during the opioid crisis

Abbotsford homeless advocate says grief has distinct challenges for those living on the streets

ICBC shifts to Alberta model, with higher rates, private insurers say

B.C. public insurance includes funding enforcement, driver licensing

Most Read