George Le Masurier photo

The Week: A little hypocrisy from Comox at the Sewage Commission

May 16, 2019 | Commentary, Special

By George Le Masurier

CCAN YOU SPELL HYPOCRISY? — At last month’s Sewage Commission meeting, Comox Director Ken Grant took a swing at former Area B Director Rod Nichol.

Grant tried to persuade the Courtenay-Comox Sewage Commission to not allow the Area B rep to sit on the commission, and he used two arguments.

First, he said, the Local Government Act doesn’t allow representatives from non-participating electoral areas to sit on committees or commissions. He cited a couple of sections.

Second, he said when the commission allowed the previous Area B rep (Nichol) to sit at the table in a non-voting capacity during debate about a pump station in Croteau Beach, he (Nichol) made a lot of statements that weren’t true. Grant implied this created confusion and made it hard to make good decisions.

(We can agree that the previous sewage commission made many bad decisions about putting a pump station in Croteau Beach. It’s an idea the CVRD staff eventually, and wisely, abandoned.)

So fast forward to this month’s commission meeting where we learned that Grant himself had mislead his fellow directors with a statement that wasn’t true.

There is nothing in the Local Government Act that prohibits the regional district from including representatives of non-participating electoral areas to sit on any commission in either a non-voting or voting capacity.

And, of course, Nichol denies ever making false statements at any sewage commission meeting.

It’s interesting when an elected official states a belief to which his own behavior does not conform. And is unrepentant.

 

WHERE ARE THE BIKE RACKS? — That’s what some Decafnation readers asked this week after they noticed a couple bike racks had been removed from the Courtenay downtown area. A city that promotes cycling should provide ample facilities for parking the bicycles, don’t you think?

 

SCRAP THE STOPLIGHT! — When will the Town of Comox remove the unnecessary and traffic congesting stoplight at Rodello Street and Comox Avenue?

The stoplight originally provided safe passage across Comox Avenue for students walking to Comox Elementary, located behind the Port August Motel. That school has been closed for years.

When pedestrians press the ‘walk’ button now, cars sit and pile up on Comox Avenue for what feels like hours (slight exaggeration) after the pedestrian has crossed. Idling cars waste fossil fuels and pollute the atmosphere.

Why not replace the stoplight with the flashing light system used up the road at the Berwick pedestrian crossing? It works fine there.

 

CUMBERLAND COUNCIL IN THE LEAD — After spending a sunny spring Saturday at the Cumberland Wetlands Conference last weekend, Decafnation learned about two more ways that the Village Council is leading Comox Valley municipalities.

First, the Cumberland Council has made it a strategic priority to develop a village-wide ecological asset strategy. They are the first in the Valley to initiate such project on a broad scale. The village is currently looking for funding for the project.

Second, While all jurisdictions require Environmental Development Permits in specific areas — for example, steep slopes in the regional district, or around streams in the City of Courtenay — Cumberland requires them broadly, the most comprehensive in the Valley.

But Cumberland also goes a step further. In all municipalities, a developer can build closer to streams or wetlands by hiring a biologist to verify that by doing so would pose no danger to fish or rare birds, etc. Municipalities usually accept that finding, even though these biologists are hired and paid by the developer.

In Cumberland, however, the village hires their own biologist(s) to review the work submitted by the developer’s biologist. This peer-review keeps everyone honest and gives the Village Council greater certainty in its decision-making.

All Comox Valley jurisdictions should adopt this approach.

 

FINALLY, SOME FINE JOURNALISM — The National Post newspaper wrote an in-depth report about the release of the transcript of a conversation between two US Navy pilots flying with the Blue Angels, an American equivalent of our Snowbirds. The Navy pilots had drawn male genitalia in the sky.

You can read the report for yourself.

Just guessing here, but we probably won’t be seeing this from the Snowbirds above the Comox Peninsula.

 

 

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