Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Guest Editorial by Dorothy Baert March 30,2011

Hello Ralph and TofinoNewsBloggers
This is a bit of a long winded response to some of the comments I’ve read recently when I’ve visited the site. Bear with me and I welcome your feedback (which I know will be written on the blog whether I like it or not).

Budget Meeting
Concerned about the Districts finances? Wonder what happened today (Mar. 27th) when the Director of Financial Services, Nyla Attiana’s, report was presented at the Budget meeting? You can be informed of the correct details as the entire budget will be presented and Ms Attiana, the CAO and Council will explain allocations, audit procedures or anything else you want to know. There will be ample opportunity to express your views on the budget, whether in writing or through spoken comments and questions. I value the public exchange on the budget and hope, despite the cynicism I read on this blog, to see a good attendance and engagement at that meeting which should happen in a couple of weeks.

Mobile Vending, By-laws and Zoning
I have read so much misinformation on this blog and often it is on matters where the correct information is readily available. One current example is the headline ‘Hot Dog Stand’ Public hearing. The hearing and bylaw wasn’t about licensing the Mobile vendors though a positive resolution would have achieved that; the By-law was about Zoning and in the view of Council, it was unfortunately not a good Zoning policy and couldn’t be supported. Council though was assured that there is another avenue for the vendors to pursue and given the strength of community support, I sincerely hope they will be successful.

Recall and calling new candidates!
I also would like to address the blog initiative to send this Council to the garbage heap and start anew. When I read this blog I have to wonder who in their right mind would sign up for the job. I really want to encourage people to run and would like to think that there is sufficient generosity in this small community to see that people who are motivated to stand for office usually do so because they want to contribute solutions to our many community problems and challenges. Those new Councillors will inherit the work of many Councils past - and they will find it hugely challenging to bring forward what they see as important matters to address, to find support from the whole of Council and to feel interest or backing from the community that presumably supported them in taking on this job in the first place. Despite this, the opportunity to serve on Council is a real education on the complexities of making policy and the rules of governance.

Of course, there also are mistakes that all Councils can make when they misjudge a situation or make decisions where they also have incomplete information or they are sometimes just wrong. But vilifying people personally is not helpful if the desire is to attract new and perhaps better decision makers. Maybe this is why we only had seven people on the slate last time and no one put their name forward as a Mayoral candidate.

On that note, there has been tremendous turnover of staff over the past several years and it should be a big concern. This Council and future Councils will wrestle with finding a solution to this costly situation but the community will also have to be part of creating that solution.

As stated at the last Town Hall meeting, good communication would make a huge difference in closing the information gap on what is happening, why etc. It was a priority goal of this Council in our Visioning at the start of our term and I hope a more rigorous form of communicating will finally get underway in the next few months.

In the meantime, all Council members have contact information on the District website. Why not talk to them about what you are concerned about? If not these Councillors then which ones? The future Councillors? Will it ever honestly happen? Do you want communication or is this blog just a dumping ground?

As always my contact information is
ph 250 725 2814.

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