When you quit, you should submit reasons for your decision.
District of Lillooet Council voted unanimously Aug. 13 to send a resolution to UBCM (Union of BC Municipalities) asking the provincial government to amend the Community Charter to require members of council to provide “substantive “ reasons to the public when they resign from office.
The preamble to the resolution says the District has “experienced numerous hardships due to members of Council resigning without reason.”
Councillor Kevin Anderson said Lillooet remains “at a loss as to why” Mayor Ted Anchor and Councillor Kevin Taylor resigned from council in January after serving one month in office.
“The Community Charter has to show guidance and the Community Charter has to show you have to be accountable to the public for your behaviour and not just walk out the door, you’re done and leave the community in disarray,” said Anderson. “I think that we need clarity and I think when people take on this job and resign, they have to have substantive reasons. The public needs accountability from their elected officials.”
Anderson cited the financial costs to the community, impacts on staff time, delays in starting projects and the additional responsibilities placed on remaining council members as some of the hardships created when Anchor and Taylor resigned.
Council also voted to support a City of Coquitlam resolution citing the financial impact on municipalities when council members resign, triggering expensive by-elections. The resolution says other jurisdictions have alternative means to identify community members to fill council vacancies without resorting to by-elections. Coquitlam’s resolution asks the provincial government to “permit local governments greater flexibility to deal with council vacancies.”
Councillor Marg Lampman said she interpreted that to mean councils could appoint people to council. Lillooet council members, particularly Mayor Bontron, were not comfortable with that scenario, but will wait to see if Coquitlam’s resolution makes it to the floor of the UBCM convention for discussion.
Councillor Anderson and Mayor Bontron both suggested council should spend more time reviewing the District’s financial documents.
Council agreed with the mayor’s suggestion that it hold a planning meeting to discuss the June 2012 interim financial report.
“I’m not suggesting we should hold an accounting class, but we receive financial documents, we sort of look at them and we pass them,” said Bontron. “And we get to the end of the year and we pass budgets. I do not want to appear facetious, but quite frankly, I think we can all agree that there are times we’re not able to give it (the financial information) the attention we should be giving it.”
He suggested the six-month interim financial report could be used as a learning tool by both council and staff.
Bears prompt bylaw amendment
One way to be bear aware is to put the garbage out in the morning and not the night before.
The District of Lillooet gave first two readings Aug. 13 to a bylaw amendment that will change the time that garbage cans and receptacles can be placed beside the road for pick-up. The new regulations will allow garbage to be placed outside from 6 a.m. on the day of pick-up. The current bylaw allows garbage cans to be placed by the roadside at 8 p.m. the night prior to pick-up.
The bylaw is being changed in an attempt to reduce “various and ongoing issues” with wildlife, specifically bears. The change will reduce the amount of time that garbage, which attracts bears, will be left outside unattended.
Accentuate the positive
The District announced Aug. 13 it would boost its online presence as part of what it calls its “commitment to improving communications between Lillooet residents and the Council.”
The District says its also it wants to publicize “positive aspects of activities and projects in Lillooet.”
As part of that effort, the municipality says it will reactivate and take over operation of the former B Positive Facebook page on behalf of local residents.
Additionally, the District announced it will create a new website called ‘Ethical Lillooet,’ which it says will provide accurate information on good governance and examples of what should take place and should not take place in local government. “Council, staff and selected parties will be invited to provide content for this website,” a news release stated.
Mayor Bontron said he doesn’t know precisely when the two sites will be up and running, but said more information will soon follow.
Community Foundation appointment
Council has appointed Scott Taylor to the Board of the Lillooet Community Foundation. The foundation is supposed to have five community members and one council representative on its board, but currently has only four members.
Taylor is Blackcomb Aviation’s Lillooet base manager and a member of the Lillooet Chamber of Commerce board.