EDITORIAL: Uninspiring start for Parksville city council

Perhaps some councillors should consider a little more preparation in the weeks between meetings

Defer, delay, water it down.

This new Parksville city council, which includes a new mayor and three others who are new to the position, has not been an inspiration in its first four months.

Perhaps they are finding their way, learning the ropes. If that was the case, one would expect less bluster.

There were a lot of heated comments in recent weeks about wood stoves from councillors. In the end, the bylaw that’s before them, one which they have given three readings, is a middle of the road, don’t-do-much-of-anything piece of legislation.

There was also much talk about cosmetic pesticides and a wish, by some, to ban them in the city. In the end, council decided to wait to see what the province will do with this file, knowing full well the province is going to take its time and may not even pass any legislation of note related to pesticides in the next two years.

Then there are budget deferrals. Almost every group that comes to council asking for financial support is given thanks and told their request will be deferred to budget discussions. That may be prudent and responsible, but it adds to a pattern that seems to indicate this group of politicians talks a good game, but can’t finish.

It’s possible many of the things city council wants to do it cannot because its hands are tied by senior governments. Fair enough, but why even bring those things forward? Why not concentrate on the things it can control? Have they visited Temple Street lately? There are a lot of beautiful trees that have been reduced to neat piles of firewood, powerful lights pointing in houses and strange driveway access plans for them to ponder in that seemingly-never-ending construction project.

Part of the problem may be a lack of preparation by councillors. Some of them ask questions in meetings that could be easily clarified with a five-minute conversation with staff in the weeks between meetings. CAO Fred Manson and his team have proven to be nothing short of thorough and professional and councillors, especially new ones, should lean on that expertise to gather the info needed to make an informed decision.

Many of these councillors have full-time jobs and the councillor’s position pays relative peanuts. We don’t expect councillors to work 40 hours a week on city business for $14,000/year. We do expect them to do some homework and come prepared to meetings.

— Editorial by John Harding

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