Alberni city council votes down own pay increase

Port Alberni city council voted 6-1 against a package that would have increased their pay, given them retirement benefits and compensated them for cellphone use.

No pay raises. No insurance plan contributions. No cell phones. Almost no nothing.

Port Alberni city council voted 6-1 against a plan that would have given the mayor and council 12 per cent and 16 per cent pays raises respectively.

An incensed Coun. Hira Chopra said the council enhancement package posed by Coun. John Douglas was out of line.

“How can we ask our workers to only take a one or two per cent raise?” Chopra asked.

“I am ashamed someone would ask for this – I told you not to bring that one.”

Other amenities voted down included councillor retirement benefit, provision of a computer, cellphone compensation and more pay for acting mayors.

The only provision councillors supported was the call for a one-day workshop for potential new city councillors before an election.

The seven recommendations were voted on one motion at a time.

Three were voted down and the last four motions never received a seconder and therefore died at the table.

When asked about where he got the information for his initiative from, Douglas said he drew it from policies in Port Coquitlam and North Vancouver.

“You did a good job of pulling together your information but the timing of this is terrible,” Coun. Kenn Whitemann said.

Douglas reiterated that he was aware Valley residents’ struggles, but said that he wasn’t initiating his effort out of greed.

“This is about enabling people…to be able to afford to run for public office,” Douglas said.

Council’s remuneration is already undergoing nominal increases, city manager Ken Watson said.

Moved by Coun. Hira Chopra and seconded by Whitemann, a remuneration bylaw adopted in February 2009 called for a two per cent increase each year through to 2015.

The increase started in 2009 but council voluntarily ceased it in 2010 after Catalyst didn’t pay its full industrial tax bill.

The increase kick-started again this year though but the city is still behind the eight-ball.

Even with the increase council in Port Alberni is still paid less than municipalities of similar size, Watson said.

Enhancing council’s remuneration would enhance their ability to be proactive, something that this council isn’t doing, Douglas said.

“There are three kinds of councils: one that makes things happen, one that watches things happen and one that asks what happened?” he said.

This council is “…in the ‘what happened?’” category, he added.

The statement was a fait accompli.

“I was prepared to support some of this – until you said that,” Mayor Ken McRae said.

Compared to MP’s and MLA’s “Most mayors get below the minimum wage,” he added.

Some 80 per cent of mayors and councils on the Island were defeated in the last municipal election.

“We’re the only council where we were all re-elected and I think we’ve done very well,” McRae said.

Douglas’ initiative should have been better thought out, he added.

“You have to find your friends on council and you have to learn how to compromise.”

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

Just Posted

The Somass Sawmill sits idle in early May 2021. While the kilns have been in use occasionally, and the lot has been used to store woodchips this spring, the mill has been curtailed since July 27, 2017. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni to expropriate Somass Sawmill from Western Forest Products

Sawmill has been ‘indefinitely’ curtailed since 2017

CELEBRATING INDIGENOUS PEOPLES DAY
Council members and witnesses from the Hupacasath First Nation, left, and Tseshaht First Nation, right, prepare to raise their respective flags in front of Port Alberni City Hall on Monday, June 21, 2021. The flags will permanently fly as part of the city’s reconciliation work. See more coverage from the flag raising ceremony on page A5. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Hupacasath, Tseshaht First Nations flags to fly at Port Alberni City Hall

Addition of permanent Indigenous flags are a response to reconciliation

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
B.C. teen who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

Emergency vehicles are parked outside of the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate stabbing on Fourth Avenue

Two men were found with ‘significant’ injuries near Wintergreen Apartments

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

A person stands in a tower on the perimeter of the Number 3 Detention Center in Dabancheng in western China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on April 23, 2021. Human rights groups and Western nations led by the United States, Britain and Germany accused China of massive crimes against the Uyghur minority and demanded unimpeded access for U.N. experts at a virtual meeting on Wednesday, May 12, 2021 denounced by China as “politically motivated” and based on “lies.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Mark Schiefelbein
VIDEO: Trudeau demands truth from China about Uyghurs

PM says Canada has admitted broken Indigenous relationship, unlike China on Uyghurs

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran, middle right, participates in a ribbon-cutting ceremony in honour of the launch of Kelowna’s plasma donor centre at Orchard Plaza Mall on June 22. From left to right: Canadian Blood Services’ business development manager Janna Pantella, Canadian Blood Services’ operational excellence manager Tyler Burke, Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran and Canadian Blood Services’ centre manager Janine Johns. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
B.C.’s first dedicated plasma donor centre opens in Kelowna

The Kelowna location is the third dedicated plasma donor to open in Canada

Children walk with their parents to Sherwood Park Elementary in North Vancouver for the first day back to school on Sept. 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Study reassures parents, teachers that COVID-19 infrequently shared at school

Federally funded study in Vancouver finds risk in the classroom and in the community identical

Conservative MP Kevin Waugh rises during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday April 13, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Single-game sports betting about to become legal in Canada

Senate passes bill to take sports gambling away from overseas agencies

Point Roberts is part of the mainland United States but not physically connected to it, to reach the community by land one must pass through Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Closed Canadian border leaves Point Roberts’ only grocery store on verge of closure

‘We’re Americans but we’re not attached to America. It’s easy to forget we’re here,’ says owner Ali Hayton

Robin Sanford and her fiance Simon Park were married in an impromptu ceremony at Abbotsford Regional Hospital on June 16. (Submitted photo)
Mom dies day after witnessing daughter’s hospital wedding in Abbotsford

Nurses help arrange impromptu ceremony in 3 hours for bride and groom

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson with Premier John Horgan after the budget speech Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. home owner grant won’t be altered, despite expert advice

Tax break for residences worth up to $1.6 million too popular

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. conservation officer Sgt. Todd Hunter said a black bear is believed to have killed local livestock. (THE NEWS/files)
Black bear believed to have killed miniature donkey in Maple Ridge

Trap set for predator that has been killing livestock

Most Read