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The Week: Comox, Cumberland appointments pass, but no word on Courtenay … yet

Nov 8, 2022 | Commentary, Government, Latest Feature

By George Le Masurier

Sometimes, it’s good to be wrong. Last week, Decafnation predicted that the conservative, pro-development majority on the Comox Council would override Mayor Nicole Minions’ recommendation to appoint re-elected Councillor Dr. Jonathan Kerr to one of the town’s two regional board seats.

And so it appeared, right up until the start of the meeting that the Ken Grant alliance was going to spoil the new mayor’s first official act. But they did not. Instead, they voted in favor of all her regional board and other council appointments.

Grant’s Group might have weighed the risks of wielding their power too soon, especially with about 20 of Kerr’s poll-topping supporters packed into the council chambers. And then there was the negative optics of taking on a first-time, second-ever woman mayor on her first day on the job to consider.

But whatever the group’s true motives were, letting the mayor pick her team was the right thing to do.

We said in our commentary last week that this vote would reveal something about the new council. Is it too much to hope that we’ll have a collaborative local government in Comox this term?

In his inaugural address last night, Courtenay Mayor Bob Wells noted the city’s voters had expressed their approval of the last council’s progress over their four years in office and that public expectations would be even higher for the new and mostly renewed council.

It was especially important, we think, that Wells also recognized that the role of municipal governments has shifted beyond land use, water and sewer, roads and parks and recreation. He said local governments today must also address other issues such as mental health, addiction and affordable housing.

But Wells did not recommend any council appointments to boards and committees because, we are told, some councillors want further discussions with the mayor about their next year’s role. Perhaps more than four councillors want the regional district appointments and Wells doesn’t want to create conflict by letting the seat assignments go to a vote in a public meeting.

But the regional district’s inaugural meeting is next Tuesday, so expect something to get settled before then.

In Cumberland, the Village Council approved new Mayor Vickey Brown’s appointments last night.

Councillor Jesse Ketler was re-appointed to the village’s one regional board seat, Councillor Sean Sullivan will serve as her alternate. Ketler has chaired the Comox Valley Regional District board for the last few years.

Ketler will also serve as the village’s primary representative on the Comox Valley Recreation Commission, while Sullivan will serve on the Comox Strathcona Regional Hospital District Board and the Comox Strathcona Waste Management Board.

Mayor Brown will take on the Comox Valley Regional District Parks and Trails Committee assignment with new Councillor Troy Therrien serving as her alternate.

You can see Mayor Brown’s full appointment list here.

YAY – To Gladstone Brewing Company for taking top honors at the recent annual BC Beer Awards held in Vancouver. They were named the 2022 Brewery of the Year. They also won four gold awards and one silver for individual types of beers.

YAY – For getting down to the home stretch toward construction of the new Sewer Conveyance Project, which is still on schedule to begin next spring. The CVRD engineering group held its first session in this last round of public information events yesterday at the Little Red Church in Comox. There’s another one there at 4 pm on Thursday of this week, Nov. 10, and a final session at 4.30 pm next Thursday, Nov. 17 at the CVRD offices in Courtenay. There is also a Webinar on Monday, Nov. 14.

BOO – It looks like a rough winter, and we’re not talking about the weather. According to U. S. public health officials, people should brace for a “tripledemic” this year of a resurgence of Covid, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus. We’re buying a new supply of face masks.





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