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Lame local governmentPosted: August 1, 2012

Letter to the Editor

Cranbrook City Councillor Angus Davis is correct when he states, “I believe there is a direct relationship between the number of voters who vote in municipal elections and the importance those voters place in their local government.” (“Is local government really local?” Townsman, July 19, 2012)

Davis is also correct that “today almost every aspect is controlled through Victoria.” Regional district directors from Cranbrook and the Elk Valley, after arm-twisting and phone calls from Victoria, voted to give up their elected duties in land use planning and cram the provincial take-over of Jumbo down the throats of the Columbia Valley directors, who were overwhelmingly opposed.  It’s one thing to be a water boy for your MLA, but when local politicians drink the cool-aide, their room to complain is small.

The new Community Charter adds to alienation of the voter with its reverse onus which allows local governments to quickly push through whatever the land speculator or real estate agent wants, leaving the citizen to sit idly by or take up arms in the form of signatures on a petition to force a referendum—the Alternate Approval Process—with local governments spending citizens’ tax dollars to fight the citizens.

The Union of B.C. Municipalities, as Davis correctly points out, is serving two masters.  It tries to represent B.C. municipalities to the provincial government, but it’s becoming a gopher carrying the cool-aide to capitulating councillors. Why then do we have not two or three but six councillors (and some spouses) making the yearly trek to the UBCM convention?

Finally, Davis is dead-on when he speaks of the ‘health tsar’ in Victoria deciding what we need.  Locally elected health boards would be more accountable.

William G. Hills, Ph.D.,

Cranbrook

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