Parksville is a resort community

For several years the City of Parksville has been striving to improve its economic picture by obtaining Resort Municipality status.

In the 10 years that I have had the honour to sit as the elected member of the B.C. Legislature, I have certainly taken issue with much of the Liberal government’s decisions, tactics, policies and scandals.

At the local level, a recent decision by Premier Christy Clark particularly bothers me.

For several years the City of Parksville has been striving to improve its (and the province’s) economic picture by obtaining Resort Municipality status.

Tourism is arguably the most important sector in Parksville/Qualicum and this government’s own Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills and Training states: “Communities use this funding to enhance services and infrastructure crucial to growing the tourism sector that drives the economies.”

This is precisely what Parksville will benefit from with the designation. It is a perfect fit.

The provincial government’s Resort Municipality designation currently flows millions into over a dozen communities through the initiative.

Unbelievably, this premier and this government has just denied the City of Parksville this huge economic benefit.

More unbelievable is the argument they used to deny Parksville this incredible opportunity.

When asked specifically about the Resort Municipality initiative for Parksville in 2013, Clark told The NEWS that: “This community has all the characteristics of any great resort around the world.”

Government is now saying that Parksville does not meet the criteria. This is absurd.

The only criteria is a designation that is entirely within the purview of cabinet. Christy Clark runs cabinet and Parksville-Qualicum MLA Michelle Stillwell sits in cabinet. What kind of an argument is this?

They are passing the buck on an issue critical to the economic viability of the region and the absurdity is they passed that buck right back to themselves. In essence, what they are saying to Parksville is that the premier and cabinet really want to give you the Resort Municipality designation, but we cannot because we won’t.

This would be the stuff of parody except it is costing the people of Parksville dearly.

Scott Fraser, MLA, Alberni-Pacific RimPort Alberni