Democratic system failed

Wayne Llewellyn’s letter to the editor (Herald, Nov 13) clearly outlines the serious democratic deficit in Penticton. The interception of the City’s vision for Skaha Lake Park when the Penticton Indian Band raised historical and environmental issues points to the lack of due care and attention by senior staff responsible to shepherd council through the requirements. There are only two issues: either ignorance or abuse of power. The sad reality is when staff said the environmental issues had been dealt with, no one questioned it.

Ordinary people seek and are elected to civic office. They depend on the experience and expertise of senior staff to assist them in their decision making and provide the knowledge they lack. Previous councils looked for expertise, experience and considerable civic knowledge of regulations, and we paid well for senior staff with those qualifications.

This no longer holds true.

The previous civic value of re-electing some old plus a few new people to council is no longer a benefit to our community. What we have seen is a serious disregard for the rights of the people who live here. The Gang of Seven has a vision. It might not be your vision and it might not be mine. But that is immaterial.

I have been busy. I met with the MLA Dan Ashton on the recall petition and also requested having civic elections brought under the umbrella of the Elections Act. He has discussed this with the Minister of Sport and Culture, Mr. Michael Fastbender, who is in charge of the file on Municipal Affairs. Fastbender is supposed to be
contacting me.

I have requested a meeting with the premier and am waiting for a result.

I have discussed this matter with the Union of BC Municipalities. Last UBCM meeting Telkwa requested the province bring in recall legislation. UBCM has recommended against this as their members, the mayors and councils, are against it. And UBCM are there to serve the wishes of the mayors and council not us.

I have also contacted Mr. John Horgan, Leader of the Opposition and IntegrityBC on these petitions and am waiting for a response.

While Ashton has been helpful he also pointed out what Penticton voters want in a field of four million has little importance. I believe everyone else is passing the buck. We shall see.

Elvena Slump

Penticton