After George Vanderwolf’s May 23 presentation on behalf of the Lillooet Watershed Planning Committee, we were among those who said the onus was squarely on the District of Lillooet to respond to the committee. We believed Mr. Vanderwolf succeeded in raising doubts and questions in the mind of any impartial person regarding the District’s water plan.
After last week, we believe that same hypothetical, impartial individual would be impressed by the substantive information provided by the District.
In our opinion, the District responded effectively to two essential questions – do Town and Dickey Creeks provide an adequate supply of water now and for the future and has the District adequately studied the alternative gravity options? The answers appear to be No and Yes, respectively, although we question why it took until now to release earlier water studies on alternative options.
In its presentation, the District noted the atmosphere of mistrust that exists between council and staff and what it calls a small minority of citizens. If trust is ever going to be restored, respect will be a key element in that process.
Which brings us to Lillooet’s own version of The Whistle Blower.
There is no excuse for what Grant Loyer did when he picked up a whistle and blasted away at some noisy people at the meeting. We know council and staff have been subjected to unprecedented abuse, taunts and insults from a small group of people. We also note that some in last week’s audience were not willing to extend to Mr. Loyer the same courtesy extended to George Vanderwolf when they listened attentively to Vanderwolf’s May 23 presentation prior to asking questions.
But three wrongs don’t make a right. While he succeeded in shocking the audience into silence, it was disrespectful and probably unprecedented for Loyer, as a municipal employee, to blow his whistle at citizens whose tax dollars pay his salary. He embarrassed his employers, he set a bad example for the municipal staff he leads and he turned the focus on himself instead of on the District’s presentation.