Open for Business Award - 2018 Winner
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Mayor’s Column – May 21, 2014

Meet the Mayor

May 21, 2014

Did you ever stop to appreciate the values, the freedoms, and the prosperity we enjoy in democratic Canada? Are you frustrated with your lot? Maybe you’ve thought of trading your frustrations for permanent residence in North Korea or, not being that desperate, for a full-time blanket on the beach in some banana republic?

Most of us are creatures of inertia and habit. We don’t always welcome change.  It’s popular to grumble about things that don’t go the way we’d like to see them go – or stay the way we’d like to see them stay. When change happens, as it will, it’s popular to blame the politicians for the things we don’t like in business and society. Well, do something about it.

People who get elected to local government councils are quite human, at least those that I know give every appearance of being so. They come with ears, eyes, skin, and most other parts of human anatomy. They also come with strong sensitivities to the needs and desires of the people they represent. With all that they have values and integrity. Above all, they want to do right.

I don’t want you to think that I think that your District Council will never make a mistake in reading the interests of the community or in interpreting the signals you send. I’m sure we will. But I trust that these occasions will be few. There will also be occasions when District Council will have to take actions that you won’t like – as in changing the tax rate, for example.

Our democratic system allows your elected representatives to make decisions based on their best understanding of the issues. It also allows for consideration of the interests of minorities who otherwise could be trampled by the herd. With all these circumstances bubbling in one pot, the process can be very complex.

In the proposed Derelict Vehicle Bylaw we have a recent example of how democracy can work. The bylaw was proposed because Administration needed a more effective tool to deal with a problem that is not, by any means endemic. Council discussed the draft several time in Committee before it was brought to open session for second reading.

Second reading makes it public and prepares the way for a public hearing.

We had an excellent public hearing at which enough people turned out to articulate your ideas. Your ideas were heard.

The results were as you might have wished. The draft was sent back to Administration to address the concerns you raised. A revised draft will go through the same process as the original. You will have your opportunity to review it again in a public hearing.

I hope you are satisfied with your work and with Council’s work when the process is over. However, in a community of more than one, as in a successful marriage, there has to be give and take. Not everyone will be fully satisfied all the time. But you’ve been heard.

Merlin Nichols, Mayor