EDITORIAL: Job creation a fine line for municipalities

Concerns over the city government's role in job creation have surfaced after recent land sales.

Should city councils be in the business of creating jobs for their communities?

The question has come up recently as Port Alberni residents have reacted negatively to several decisions the present council has made, some under the guise of job creation.

Under the Community Charter of BC, municipalities are tasked to provide good government, services, laws and other matters for community benefit, stewardship of community assets and fostering the economic, social and environmental well-being of its community.

More tangibly, a council is tasked with maintaining infrastructure like water and sewers, roads and sidewalks, maintaining bylaws and working within provincial and federal governmental structures.

Because they have the political will, councils should also create an environment where businesses can flourish because it is a place employees want to live. They can make their city an attractive place to live, both physically—parks, planters, playgrounds—and atmospherically—actively attracting businesses that would work well in the community, that people want.

That requires listening to the community.

But city council isn’t the only entity that should be concentrating on this particular task. People living within this city have to do their part as well. Some do that by holding city council accountable for their decisions, which is necessary. But residents should also think about the effects their words have on people outside of the community, who might be thinking of opening a business here or joining an already existing business.

How does the public caterwauling look to people who know nothing about this community, but who might be looking to move here? Does it look like people love their community? Or does it look like all they do is complain about it without doing something themselves to make it better?

It’s a fine line to walk. Everyone has a role to play in making sure we land on the correct side.

— Alberni Valley News