Campbell River mayor’s motions go nowhere

Wanted to form groups to look into three different areas: an exhibition grounds, waterfront development, and community gardens.

Mayor Walter Jakeway struck out at council last week after councillors shot down three attempts to form a series of mayor’s task forces.

Jakeway wanted to form groups of no more than five people to look into three different areas: an exhibition grounds, waterfront development, and community gardens.

But council didn’t support any of them.

Coun. Larry Samson was interested in developing an exhibition grounds but didn’t like Jakeway’s suggestion of giving the task force $12,000.

“While I do believe (in) looking at exhibition grounds, because I see them in other communities and see how valuable they are…the concern I have is to hand over $12,000 to use at their discretion, I can’t take that,” Samson said.  “As council members we have to account for every kilometre just to go to Courtenay. I can’t hand over $12,000.”

Jakeway said he suggested $12,000 to tide the task force over so that it wouldn’t have to keep coming back to council for funding requests, adding “$12,000 is pittance.”

Coun. Claire Moglove said having the city’s hand in developing exhibition grounds didn’t sit right with her.

“It seems to me the nature of the motion is to fund a business case,” Moglove said. “It is not for the city, in my view, to fund what is private sector development.”

Moglove was also unsure of Jakeway’s intentions.

“It may be putting the cart before the horse,” Moglove said. “It may be that an exhibition grounds is a good idea, I don’t know. But I haven’t heard an outcry from the community seeking an exhibition grounds. Until we have that type of public interest…I can’t even see it coming up in strategic planning.”

Moglove also said she couldn’t support forming a task force to look at waterfront development as she said the city already has an Official Community Plan, a marine foreshore assessment, a downtown study and a Highway 19A study that already looks at issues such as boat ramps, marina development, seawalk expansion and other waterfront concerns.

Council did, however, vote to refer the future waterfront development concept to the city’s Advisory Planning and Environment Commission for input despite Moglove and Coun. Ryan Mennie’s objections that the concept was too broad.

“I don’t think we’re asking clearly enough what we want,” Mennie said. “I think it’s going to fail and confuse the commission.”

Jakeway’s final task force recommendation – to form a group to report back on developing community gardens – confused Coun. Samson.

“I find it puzzling…less than seven months ago this council approved a community garden policy,” Samson said. “We have a policy that was referred to the commission, we have documents from staff where they outline the different community gardens, we have a template of lease-use agreements. To strike a task force when we already have everything in front of us and we’re just waiting for a report back? I find it puzzling that now all of a sudden we’re striking a task force and giving them $6,000 to do what they want with it.”