Mayor seeks assent
It is good news that City of Powell River Mayor Stewart Alsgard will be moving a council motion in support of a referendum on the sewage co-treatment deal with Catalyst Paper Corporation [“Mayor proposes to seek elector assent for co-treatment,” October 5]. The sewage treatment question is now as much about democracy as it is about privatizing sewage treatment. And the Community Charter makes it absolutely clear that decisions such as this should have elector approval.
Obvious public opposition makes a referendum even more imperative. The World Café public consultation was virtually unanimous in its opposition; Council’s own Advisory Committee voted 10:1 against; and Powell River Water Watch presented a petition of some 1,200 names. Yet on September 15 council voted unanimously for “consolidated joint treatment,” the Catalyst deal by another name.
Every effort to date, official and otherwise, at gauging public opinion demonstrated strong opposition to joint treatment. Council, in voting to go ahead anyway, has treated citizens with little more than contempt. Councillor Chris McNaughton in particular suggested that the World Café process should not be taken seriously because the 150 citizens who participated were responding to organizing by a number of “interest groups.”
Dismissing people who take the time to participate in the city’s civic life is an impoverished notion of democracy. Many of those who have actively opposed the Catalyst deal will be voting in the November 19 civic election, referendum or not. We hope they remember how their efforts to be responsible citizens were treated. I trust they have also watched to see who voted for the mayor’s motion, and who voted against democracy.
Powell River Water Watch
Follow the money
UBCM (Union of BC Municipalities) has voted for a province-wide moratorium on the installation of smart meters [“Delegates oppose smart meters,” October 5].
Minister of energy Rich Coleman has, in his usual imperious tone, insisted that the province will go ahead regardless of what we want, despite other countries, including parts of the United States, halting smart meter installations or providing residents with a choice. They do this given the growing evidence that smart meters are implicated in serious health issues, particularly in children.
Given the HST fiasco, which we are still paying despite the referendum vote, I would think the Liberal government of BC would be listening a little more closely to citizens.
Minister Coleman has said emphatically that we will not be going to time-of-use rates as a result of having smart meters. I wonder why, in that case, they are choosing to spend billions on this initiative.
Having spent a good deal of time researching how this boondoggle happened, how the BC Public Utilities Commission was shut out of their role to investigate the safety, cost and usefulness of such an initiative, I make one last comment: follow the money, follow the money.