It’s time for behaviour to change at City Hall, says Walter Jakeway who is plotting to make that a reality.
Jakeway is one of the driving forces behind the United Rate Payers Group that was initiated by Lorne Harron.
The two men, who want to change how city government conducts itself, intend for the group to act as a watchdog on the actions of City Hall.
Each have rented the Community Centre out at their own expense to host the public in discussions around how city council can be more responsible with taxpayers’ money.
“It’s not supposed to be a marathon meeting, we just do the agenda and then we have time at the end for people to network,” says Jakeway.
Harron adds the meetings are not for people to complain but instead to offer solutions.
So far, the response has been good – 43 people attended the first meeting Feb. 2 and 135 came out on March 23.
Jakeway says one of the group’s goals is to select people to run for city council.
“We asked the Rate Payers if they know someone or if they themselves would like to run for council. So far several people have shown interest in becoming a councillor, but no one for mayor,” says Jakeway.
“We’re just disappointed they’re (city council) not doing better and we would like to hand pick candidates to help city council.”
Harron says the message the group wants to get across to council is “to respect taxpayers and come up with some long and short-term goals to benefit the city of Campbell River.”
Jakeway says council is out of control with its spending and is in too big a rush to make smart decisions.
“Take the garbage issue,” says Jakeway. “They were in too big a rush and the 120-litre limit slipped through the cracks, there was so much talk about the one can and the weekly recycling but the volume limit never came up. In one meeting they sunk themselves.”
He also cites the Highway 19A upgrade project as an example of making poor decisions. Now that the majority of the project is complete, emergency service providers have said it is difficult to maneuver their vehicles around all the traffic because of the rock islands down the centre of the highway.
“Putting obstacles in the way just doesn’t make sense. Just learn from your mistakes, but they don’t,” says Jakeway, who feels change has been a long time coming.
“I think we need to change council to get them to behave the way we want, we need to pick people who think the way we do and get them elected,” he says. “If we’re going to change the way it behaves, we have to change the people.”
Jakeway and Harron are encouraging anyone interested in the United Rate Payers to come to their next meeting, April 27 at the Community Centre, 7 p.m. For more information e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.