Tuesday, August 11, 2009  
   Volume 79 - Issue 32 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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Quote of the Week
“I don’t care what they propose, I’m going to oppose it.”
- Councillor Ian MacLeod  
- on council’s dealings with 
Spray Lake Sawmills 

 

A Fragile Lens- Nathen GallagherPart One:
The Food Bank

In a previous edition of this column, I stated that I could be convinced of a plan to close the old wing of the Crowsnest Centre, so long as the tenants within were taken care of properly and found good new spaces in the community.
I don’t believe this is the case, and council should be ashamed of the utter lack of courtesy they have shown throughout this process.
Councillors can talk all they want about how they gave the Food Bank, for example, plenty of notice that they would have to leave. They can tell us it is the Food Bank’s fault that they have to close their doors because they haven’t yet found a new space.
Yet in my opinion, council’s “consultation” process with the tenants was laughable. One short meeting was held with each of the tenants in December of 2008, in which council listened to the tenants talk about their needs and why the Centre was working for them, and offered precious little feedback or guidance in return.
There was, as far as I know, little to no talk about possible places to move into, timelines for eviction, or how the municipality could help them keep their operation running.
Technically, as a landlord, council did not have to provide any help to these groups. But as a council, elected to represent the interests of the people, they should have offered a lot more than the measly, practically non-existent amount they did.
After that December meeting, the Food Bank did not hear from council again until an eviction notice showed up in the mail in mid-June, giving them less than two months to use their time, the overwhelming majority of which comes from volunteers, to find a new place and clear out.
They haven’t been able to, and apparently council feels that’s their own fault. Too bad, so sad. Thus the Food Bank will close its doors until it can find a new space.
It’s uncertain what will happen with the Chinook Educational Consortium. Will they fight their eviction through legal measures? Will they pack up and leave the community? They have not commented officially one way or the other, and once again council does not seem to care.
This is all a shame. If our council is truly trying to make the community a better place through its effort, then the community deserves a lot more effort than this. Unlike the boards of the Food Bank, the Centre, and the Consort-ium, council is getting paid something for its time.
~ ~ ~
 
Part Two:
Enhanced Policing

You should read the story on Page 2 before you read this, because I don’t have space to repeat all the main points and arguments. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
If the opinions of the August 4 council meeting hold up until their next gathering, the local enhanced policing program may be dead in the water before getting much of a chance.
Personally I understand where the councillors opposed to the program’s continuation are coming from. If the municipality is paying for the position, it seems somehow unfair that the officer being paid won’t enforce non-criminal bylaws such as long grass or community standards.
Yet if that’s the way the program works, then I still think it deserves a shot. As a reporter I’ve been in the community through three bylaw officers over four years. Over that time, bylaw-related complaints I have heard fall into two general groups.
First, a small number of people who have complained about community standards enforcement. Second, a much larger number of people who complain about the lack of good traffic enforcement within the towns.
If there’s truth to the second complaint, it’s because the police cannot be everywhere, and are in fact often in very specific places dealing with very specific things.
Having a bylaw officer has never done anything to lessen these complaints. Having an enhanced policing officer might just take a bite out of them, at least.
In my opinion, giving that a try is a better option than going through another set of bylaw officers who end up leaving and who, for whatever reason, have been unable to satisfy the numerous traffic complainers.
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