Meeting schedule discourages public attendance

Dear Editor.

The scheduling of both Kent and Harrison meetings is on the same night to discourage public attendance and reporting is no accident. It is just part of the cowardly campaign to reduce public participation in local government,  particularly offensive in Harrison.

Over the past few years, the opportunities for the public to hold the elected officials accountable and to get answers on what is happening behind  closed doors have been systematically eliminated.  Letters are ignored, delegations refused, questions unanswered and citizens are treated with contempt. This has led many of us to give up on even attending the charade which passes for a council meeting.

Now they have cut the public meetings in half ( but, notably, have not reduced their paycheques by a similar factor).

All the fine electioneering talk about inclusive, open government and consultation is proving to be just another bag of phoney bullfeathers.

I can only hope that the new Premiere, Christy Clark, reverses the disastrous 3-year election terms initiated by the last lady premiere,Rita Johnston.  This has eliminated  timely accountability and replaced stewardship with  arrogance. She should also take a hard look at Gordon Campbell’s ill-advised Community Charter which replaced the Municipal Act.   This charter has certainly “empowered” municipalities but has, unfortunately, created despotic regimes at the expense of the civic rights of British Columbians.   Municipalities have now proven that they cannot be trusted with this level of responsibility and need close supervision by Victoria to keep them honest and accountable.

John Allen,  former Mayor & Councillor, Harrison Hot Springs