To the Editor,
A reasonable expectation for citizen availability, is a process whereby they can take any particular concern they have, to whichever authority they may feel is necessary to contact. If a citizen does so, they should be treated fairly, feel safe while doing so, and have their concerns assessed fairly.
When that fails at the local level, citizens still retain the right under our democratic system to take their concerns forward to the attention of any other authority they choose to contact, be they local, provincial or federal. When citizens do that, they should not be viewed as just complainers.
Port Alberni’s own bylaw department is a complaint driven process. Bylaws, created by city council, are normally enforced only when a complaint from a citizen is received by the city. Similar to a citizen delivering a complaint to the city, which would be followed up by engaging the alleged offender with the city’s bylaw enforcement officer, or regulator, a citizen possessing evidence of apparent non-compliance to B.C. Agricultural Land Act Regulations pertaining to the city-owned McLean Mill site, delivered their complaint to the B.C. Agricultural Land Commission, along with supporting evidence, and now the ALC enforcement office, or regulator, has engaged the city.
When citizens possess documented evidence to support a particular concern, who then present that evidence to council in support of that concern, and ask questions of council in a respectful manner, that concern should be seen to be acted upon. That has not been the case for numerous concerns brought forward to various councils for issues pertaining to the McLean Mill property, and it has been this way for years.
Council should have been seen to be taking concerns about the McLean Mill property more seriously long before the recent complaint landed on the desk of an Agricultural Land Commission Enforcement Officer.