The following letter was addressed to Gibsons council and shared with Coast Reporter.
Along with many other Gibsons residents, I have written letters recently to the Town about contentious neighborhood concerns including short-term rental policy and the impact of the Glassford Road closure on those residing on nearby streets. While a reply might be a lot to expect, at least receipt of these letters has usually been confirmed by email.
However, I’ve been somewhat dismayed to learn that written input from residents receives little if any attention at council meetings nor is this input incorporated into reports generated on these neighbourhood issues.
The existential experience of spending time to write the town and wondering what happens with the input was raised to a new level last week when the front page of the Coast Reporter stated that all 22 applications for unhosted short-term rental permits, that were forwarded to council, were approved en-masse with no criteria in place and virtually no discussion.
This follows the Town posting signs on these properties inviting comment, in addition to letters going to neighbours potentially impacted by these applications, asking for their feedback.
So why bother asking for input? These experiences with providing solicited and unsolicited contributions, in conjunction with a recent decision by the Town to reduce the number of council meetings where residents can comment, and limiting comments at the remaining meetings, seem like sure ways to disengage residents and stifle community participation on important topics and decisions that affect all of us.
Surely those who live in Gibsons, pay taxes and especially those who take the time to try and provide thoughtful and constructive comment deserve better.
Kevin Hamilton, Gibsons