Get the bathing suits out, the Polar Bear Swim is just around the corner  |  George Le Masurier photo

The Week: NDP defeats ProRep, the Comox beer drought is over

Dec 21, 2018 | Commentary

By George Le Masurier

The NDP can breathe easy now that voters have rejected electoral reform again. Or can they? Depending on who you talk to Premier John Horgan either stacked the deck in favor of proportional representation or against it.

ProRep supporters say Horgan did little to promote electoral reform, and that he scheduled the timing of the vote to conflict with municipal elections when it would get little attention. First-past-the-post supporters say Horgan lowered the bar for approval to 50 percent-plus one, and rushed the vote before a specific version of ProRep could be chosen.

There’s truth in the complaints of both sides. The NDP showed no passion for reform. Was Ronna-Rae out knocking on doors? Did Gord Johns? It was a lacklustre campaign by a party that claimed to support ProRep.

And there’s no doubt voters were confused. ProRep supporters found themselves explaining the difference between three possible versions of reform. The basic premise of ProRep got lost in the details — that people should be represented in proportion to how they voted.

  Has there been a beer drought in Comox? Apparently. Social media channels lit up over the weekend about the grand opening of another brew pub in the town, this one on Lerwick Road. Jason and Hanna Walker opened Land and Sea Brewing Co. a week ago and their Facebook page went crazy.

There has been a long gap in Comox drinkeries since the Leeward Pub shut down and the Lorne Hotel and the Edgewater burned down. People wanting a taproom-barroom-public house experience had to travel out of town .. but, really, is Courtenay out-of-town?

So somebody flipped a switch and the “hey-Comox-needs-a-bar !” light went on. The Comox Bakery started serving beer and pizza, the Social Room opened and the Church Street Taphouse broke ground (coming next spring). Now Land and Sea has opened, soon to be followed by New Traditions Brewing Company in the Comox Mall.

And, silly us, we thought the hot market was going to be recreational pot stores.

  A couple of careless painters showed us again just how little people know about stormwater. We didn’t need the reminder.

The painters spilled latex paint at the intersection of Cumberland and Burgess roads this week, and then tried to clean up their mess by washing the paint down the nearest storm drain. They were apparently ignorant that drains lead to stormwater pipes that empty into one of Courtenay’s fish-bearing streams, probably Millard or Piercy creeks in this case.

Unfortunately, these guys aren’t alone. Decafnation readers have probably seen people pour used paint thinner, oil or some other toxic chemical into a street drain. It’s tragically all too common.

We know, it’s an extra effort to recycle this stuff, but it’s deadly to the environment.

  The draft transportation plan that caused airplane pilots and aircraft business owners to crash land in the Courtenay City Council chambers this summer has undergone a major revision.

Gone is a 21st Street bridge that would have eliminated several businesses, closed down the Courtenay Airpark by severing the runway and disrupted the K’omoks Estuary and the Kus-kus-sum restoration project.

Thank God.

The 21st Street bridge was a dumb idea and a non-starter from the get-go. But it did wake up a usually sedate Airpark Association, and turned it into an aggressive advocacy group. So, that’s a good thing.

The consultant who wrote the first report proposing the bridge, is now are telling City Council the bridge’s negative impact would exceed the benefits “by some margin.” Besides being an engineer, he’s also a master of understatement.

Instead, the new transportation plan will likely focus on methods to improve traffic flow on the roads approaching the 17th and Fifth street bridges.

  I wish the RCMP traffic division would take a tip from the Town of Comox: People driving over the speed limit? Eliminate speed limits! People disobeying a law to keep their dogs on a leash? Suspend that law!

New signage erected by the town doesn’t make the Northeast Woods trails an off-leash dog park, the signs just warn some people that some other people may not play by the rules. No doubt this reduces the town’s liability if someone decides to get litigious.

The whole unfortunate problem was created by a couple of misguided elderly vigilantes who started shooting unleashed dogs with bear spray. And they seem to have gotten off easy with only a verbal reprimand.

HOW WE VOTED FOR ELECTORAL REFORM

 

Courtenay-Comox

12,607 for First Past The Post, 55.16%

10,249 for Proportional Representation, 44.84%

 

Provincial results

61.3% for First Past The Post, 38.7% for Proportional Representation

42.6% of BC registered voters cast ballots

 

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