Regional district staff recommend approving an amended application for groundwater extraction in Merville as a “home occupation,” but rural area directors want more clarity on its legal definition
Why did Comox boot its CAO? No shortage of speculation around town
This article has been updated to correct when Cumberland parted ways with its CAO.
In a special Town of Comox Council meeting this week, councillors voted to dump their long-time chief administrative officer, Richard Kanigan. But rumours are that the vote wasn’t unanimous.
Council members aren’t answering questions about the firing, but there has been plenty of speculation around town and no shortage of issues behind that gossip.
Some believe town staff morale has been at an all-time low ever since the town tried to break up union employees with a two-tiered wage proposal in 2017. The town brought in an out-of-town hired-gun to force the issue and employees responded with a unanimous strike vote and multiple flash mobs waving signs of discontent.
More recently, there are whispers about an alleged suspension and demotion of a public works manager who reportedly hasn’t returned to work. There may be formal grievances to settle in that case.
And then there are the multiple legal actions that have run up some whopping legal bills for taxpayers.
The town faces a $250,000 lawsuit in BC Supreme Court over erosion and pollution of Golf Creek that could have been avoided a few years ago for about $25,000. And the town’s legal costs for the protracted saga over how the town has mishandled the Mack Laing trust agreement may be north of $100,000.
Or, there could be completely different reasons for Kanigan’s departure.
One thing is for sure: Municipal CAO positions in the Comox Valley have been a revolving door recently. Cumberland parted ways with its CAO in July. Comox Valley Regional District hired new CAO Russell Dyson in 2017 after Debra Oakman retired. Courtenay CAO Dave Allen now has the longest tenure of all his local peers. He was hired in 2013.
— Judging by the diversity of reactions to the revelation that Justin Trudeau wore black and brown faces while dressing up in costumes, his indiscretion may not affect the outcome of the current federal election. In the heat of a political battle, people in all political parties can find the justification they need to overlook their favoured candidates’ flaws.
But nobody feels sorry for Trudeau. Dressing up in costumes wasn’t uncommon in the 1990s, and is still popular among some. But adding the blackface is a genuine disappointment for a prime minister who has carefully built his brand around diversity, reconciliation and tolerance.
Of note, in the late 1980s, a prominent group of Comox Valley professionals performed a Supremes lip sync song wearing blackface at a private party. Wanna bet they’re hoping no photos of that will ever surface?
— The bus accident on a logging road near Bamfield that killed two University of Victoria students led most newscasts this week. And Premier John Horgan promised to fix the road.
CBC Radio did a whole program on the topic of whether we need to pave or otherwise improve well-used logging roads around the province. But to the surprise of the show’s producers, not many of the call-in listeners were sympathetic.
Acknowledging the tragedy of the Bamfield accident, listeners pointed out that other fatal accidents had also occurred recently, most of them on paved and well-maintained roads. For example, within days of the Bamfield accident a crash on Highway 19 north of Campbell River killed two Washington state people.
Many of the show’s listeners called in to say drivers must take responsibility when traveling on roads of any description, and that each stretch of road requires unique precautions.
Driving a large highway coach bus loaded with passengers on a twisting, narrow gravel road on a dark and rainy night was not a responsible act, some callers said. Nor was it okay to put university students on that bus at that time.
The unintentional question the program left in many listeners’ minds was this: Should taxpayers fund the paving of these roads because people wanting to reach remote locations are ill-informed and poorly equipped? And would paving, which allows people to drive faster, just create tragic accidents of a different sort?
— Many US colleges and universities now offer free tuition. The state of New Mexico announced this week that it would waive tuition at all of its public colleges and universities for residents, regardless of family income. Cornell University’s medical school also said this week that students who qualify for financial aid would receive free tuition. They aren’t the first to do so.
It’s a trend to relieve students from the burden of crushing debt. Something many European nations did a long time ago. Will Canadian colleges and universities follow suit?
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The Comox Valley Electoral Areas Service Commission will consider on Monday an amended application for water bottling operations in Merville and draw attention to larger water policy issues in British Columbia
Decafnation starts a new tradition this year by asking selected Comox Valley people to share their acquired knowledge that didn’t come from book-learning or academic studies. We begin today with the collective wisdom of five notable Vancouver Islanders rooted in the Comox Valley.
Faith-based volunteers can contribute positively to the educational experience in our public schools but everyone must be perfectly clear about who they are, what they can and cannot do and school administrators must monitor their activity closely and consistently
A Comox Valley developer is suing the Town of Comox because his permits to cut down trees and build more single-family homes haven’t been issued as fast as he’s wanted and because the town wants a wider walking trail through the property
Comox Valley schools have put a hold on all faith-based community volunteer activities pending a review to determine if Youth For Christ workers have been violating SD71 policies and provincial laws
Another Comox Councillor was fined by Elections BC for violating BC elections laws, plus Parksville’s water supply is unable to meet provincial requirements for summer water flow in the Englishman River let alone provide water for a proposed 800-unit development
A serious fall drought has reduced flows in the Puntledge River, shutting down hydroelectric power generation for the first time in 55 years. Meanwhile, many states eye sending treated wastewater to kitchen taps
Making it easier for citizens to speak directly to municipal councils might increase public interest in local government, which in turn might encourage more registered voters to actually cast a ballot
Courtenay City Council’s annual appointments announced after a short delay