Over the past two years, the OCP advisory committee(s) have worked diligently to fashion recommendations for council. It has been an arduous task made more difficult by polarization. I came to consider these polarized positions as the progressive and the regressive.
The progressive side argued for balance and equal consideration between economic and environmental considerations. The regressive side argued against economy and growth and cited the environment as the only consideration.
The regressive people were very derisive of balance, and went forward with a dogmatic belief that their position represented a universal consensus in Parksville. It is very hard to respond to unshakable faith with logic and reason.
It is difficult to make the case for our children’s future with a faction that believes the sky is going to fall in our lifetime. And it is very hard to strike a balance when met with an unreasonable insistence that the regressive position represents the will of the people.
For these reasons, our committee recommended to council the Ipsos-Reid survey. This professional survey consisted of 300 random phone interviews with our residents, asking them non-leading questions about our community and their wishes for the future.
This is the only “statistically-relevant” survey that has been done in our community.
And this survey articulated the balance that the progressives have been arguing for.
One of the key questions was related to land-use priorities. Economic development and environmental each got 48 of the responses, clearly supporting the progressive position, which debunks the argument that the regressive position represents a universal consensus.
I will continue to serve our community in any way I can to forward a progressive agenda.
The regressive position has legitimacy and deserves to be considered. If, however, it continues to insist on derision and exclusion instead of cooperation, compromise and inclusion, it must be identified as radical and dogmatic.
Only by working together and respecting the opinions of our entire community (residents, renters, developers, business, youth, elders, policy-makers, etc.) can we meet the challenges of the 21st century.