Tuesday April 15, 2014

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A tale of two town councils



I’m new to the Sunshine Coast, so Coast Reporter is my essential resource for sorting through the local issues and who the players are.

I found the stark contrast between the two town councils (Sechelt and Gibsons) in the Nov. 23 issue to be almost humorous.

On the one end, is a mayor driving a $100,000 eco-friendly car touting the merits of environmental responsibility, but chastising its citizens for (strongly) expressing their feelings about the logging of EW002. The mayor “warned” the media to be watchful for people using the Internet to express their personal views. He refuses to meet with the 80 or so protestors … a sizable representation for such a small community, citing other commitments. It seems to me that this flashpoint issue should be his priority.

In a following story, the mayor is again the centre of controversy by refusing to engage with Coun. Alice Lutes regarding her removal from her committee appointments.

This abusive, confrontational style of governing is in stark contrast to what the residents of Gibsons received from their mayor and council over the controversial Gospel Rock plan. As someone stated, it was “a pleasant surprise to have politicians listen to the people and representing our issues.” Wow, democracy in action!

Mayor Henderson should be reminded that protests, writing letters and social media are the tools citizens use to hold politicians accountable. They do not have the financial luxury of taxpayers’ dollars to purchase advertising to present their side of the debate.

If Henderson doesn’t like the feedback of how he’s governing — including that from one of his own council members — perhaps he could learn from the Gibsons’ town council approach to governing.

It’s certainly less abrasive, more inclusive and representative of what people have a right to expect from their elected officials.

Luke Vorstermans, Gibsons



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