Maxed Out 

The glory of a local brouhaha

Oh, it must have been glorious. Messy, confrontational, sensationally democratic, Tuesday evening’s council meeting had all the promise of a classic small town dust up. Developmental forces, supported by much of the bidniz sector, countered by environmentalists aghast at the looming prospect of yet another incursion into the altar of wetlands, a divided council and an administration seething, confused and more than a little hurt to discover the honeymoon’s over and somebody’s got a headache tonight. Oh mama.

I wanted to be there. It had all the lurid promise of happening upon an unexpected car accident on the Sea-to-Sky "Killer" Highway. Like crusaders awakened from an intervening slumber between bouts of siege and pillage, delegations from the Chamber of Commerce’s intermingled houses were to march into battle under their proud banners: The Knights of Food and Beverage; The Liege of Lodging; The Court of Commercial; The Commoners of Creekside. Variations on the same strategic message were to be delivered in a pincer manoeuvre designed to baffle the enemy and drive it between a rock and a hard place. "Whatda we want? Employee housing! When do we want it? Now!"

Local environmentalists, enjoying a rare moment of ascendancy in a local history of setbacks and lost causes, were hopefully there to deliver an equally strong message of support for the recent council decisions thwarting the forces of darkness and evil who want to develop things that maybe shouldn’t be developed in places no backhoe should be allowed to go. For, unlike the opinion expressed in last week’s letter from Ms. Horan of AWARE’s Valley Bottom Subcommittee, poor turnout at public events matters a great deal. When it’s not running on the lubricant of money, local governments most assuredly operate on the principle of squeaky wheels getting greased. Good intentions apathetically held are a lot like a fart in a stiff wind – makes you feel good but doesn’t really have much impact on anyone else.

Caught in the crossfire of this internecine sniping would have been our happily divided council. While there are those who long for the good ol’ days, when a predictable body of councillors would happily throw the keys to the chastity belt to virtually any developer with a half-assed idea – Nick North comes immediately to mind if one can be bold enough to condemn a development as crucially important as a golf course – our current collection of stout-hearted boys and girls is far from predictable. This is a good thing; reasonable minds can and should differ when it comes to complex issues.

Still, there are some who wonder whether everybody’s reading from the same Grand Plan. That would be the plan we spent the better part of the first term of this council putting in place. Evidence of the efficacy of such a plan might be more or less consistent decisions.

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