EDITORIAL: Communication is key

For the second time in a month, Alberni Valley residents are up in arms…

For the second time in a month, Alberni Valley residents are up in arms over an unpopular action by the City of Port Alberni.

At the beginning of September, it was the sudden ticketing of dozens of people accused of breaking the garbage pickup bylaw. Last week, the city lowered permissive tax exemptions for certain non-profit organizations—especially those that use liquor sales to help raise money.

At a Sept. 3 council meeting Jake van Kooten complained about the city’s bylaw department’s so-called ‘tough love’ approach to those who put their garbage cans out earlier than the bylaw calls for. On one night along van Kooten’s pickup route, 75 tickets of $100 apiece were apparently handed out, with no warning.

Van Kooten acknowledged that he knowingly contravened the bylaw by putting his trash out too early (and that he had paid his fine), but said the city was too heavy-handed because they didn’t hand out warnings first. City officials responded by saying that they had spread the word about the bylaw and it was time people started obeying it.

As one Alberni Valley News reader pointed out, if that many tickets are being handed out, especially on the same pickup route on the same night, then clearly the city’s message has not been relayed adequately.

We agree with the reader that to go ahead with all the fines either shows a lack of understanding on the part of the ticketer that the message isn’t getting through, or that what residents think doesn’t matter.

One would have thought after the reaction to the garbage bylaw tickets, that the city would tread carefully when it came to getting its message out. However, the clawing back of the permissive tax exemptions—and the outcry from arts organizations who say they weren’t aware a decision was going to be made at the most recent council meeting—says otherwise.

Arts and other non-profit organizations are always searching for funding, and because of this they are forced to plan a year in advance. Having a tax exemption cut when they didn’t expect it is a big deal.

Those who cast their votes during the last municipal election did so with the intent of electing a council that gets ‘er done. Now that council appears to be doing just that, their methods are called into question. It’s a conundrum.

The city has a responsibility to residents to communicate effectively. At some point, residents must also take responsibility to know what is going on with their city.

— Alberni Valley News

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Agricultural Land Commission approves cannabis facility in Beaver Creek

Proposed facility outside Port Alberni had been caught up in ALR red tape

Alberni writer and poet to read at Words on Fire

Chelsea Comeau has her own freelance writing and editing business

North Island College hosting nursing info session

Info sessions will take place Monday, Jan. 27 at Port Alberni and Campbell River campuses

Photographer captures Port Alberni personalities in black and white portraits

Meet John Douglas, Courtney Naesgaard in double exhibit Jan. 18 at Rollin Art Centre

Alberni Valley Community Foundation opens grant application process for 2020

Nearly $30K available for Port Alberni-based charities

VIDEO: Soldiers trade rifles for snow shovels to help dig out St. John’s

A state of emergency is set to extend into a fifth day

Power lines cut as thieves strike Vancouver Island veterinary hospital

‘Thankfully there weren’t any animals or staff in the clinic when this happened’

Warm ‘blob’ could be behind mass starvation of North Pacific seabirds: study

Unprecedented death toll raises red flag for North American marine ecosystems

Nanaimo mom will celebrate 40th in style after $500,000 lotto win

Crystal Giesbrecht matches all four numbers on BC/49 Extra

ICBC to bring in ranking system for collision, glass repair shops

Change comes after the much-maligned auto insurer has faced criticism for sky-high premiums

‘It was just so fast’: B.C. teen recalls 150-metre fall down Oregon mountain

Surrey’s Gurbaz Singh broke his leg on Mount Hood on Dec. 30

Vancouver Island Pride weekend returns to Mount Washington Alpine Resort

Building on the success of last year’s family-friendly pride festival on Vancouver… Continue reading

Scarlett Point lighthouse keeper wins a million bucks playing the lottery

“I usually just get a quick pick, so I didn’t expect to win a big prize”

Most Read