At the risk of sounding-off like Ezra Levant in the New Year I’m feeling just a bit alarmed. I don’t know exactly why, but I’m disturbed. With municipal elections behind us, as we launch into the brave new world of 2015-2018, I’m sensing something of political theatre ahead. The inaugural Council meeting lacked a certain… something. A je ne sais quoi from the Mayor’s seat maybe? I hope this does not herald any radical tree trimming that could be against the greater good of the ‘whole of our community’. 1st past-the-post voting means that a mere 45 votes cast one way or the other represents only a slight preference or elevated confidence level in the winner, if one splits 80 or 90 down the middle. Elected representatives need to heed caution when interpreting voter ‘intentions.’ Maybe because this is still a small community I am appealing, publicly, to the goodwill of Mayor Townsend to continue taking Public Comments at the end of Council Meetings- these voices should never have been an ‘issue’… if one respects the voice of the people, and indeed the voice of Mr. Torgerson who was a good voice to be heard at the end of Council Meetings in the past 3 years. And maybe a few kind words to recognize the good, dedicated, important ground work, publicly acknowledging many successes of the previous Council, and the probable good fiscal situation the fresh Council inherits.
It’s an established practice to allow suffrage of Public Comment at the end of the Public portion of Council Meetings. Such invitation is not unique to Valemount. Moreover, Community Conversations in the 21st Century is a welcome and relaxed format for 2-way and community engagement, almost a legacy after 3 years. Council, Administration, and residential voices and concerns, openly expressed, engaged, is an insightful, even educational exchange. Who could be against either, any more than local newspaper Editors would risk censoring or not printing a Letter to the Editor? Such community conversations in a Village this size should be regularly scheduled, ongoing events. If we continue to strive for a healthy community on the heels of the spoken, electioneering and Induction concerns for health and prosperity of the community, then a regular ‘community check-up’ is probably indicated, including a health and performance feedback loop for new Council. It should keep the community invigorated, engaged, well informed, and Council rejuvenated to prevent aging before its new 2018 expiry date.