Philip Hicks

Taxpayers stage revolt against city council

Campbell River taxpayers marched on city hall to a council meeting that quickly became standing room only

Campbell River taxpayers marched on city hall to a council meeting that quickly became standing room only.

More than 60 people engaged in a silent protest, starting at Robert Ostler Park and winding up at city hall in time for Tuesday’s council meeting.

Demonstrators carried signs condemning council for voting in favour of a 13. 6 per cent tax increase (7.10 per cent with decreased user fees), with some calling for council’s resignation.

One protester proudly carried a bright red sign that read ‘Revote or Resign’.

Inside the meeting, roughly 100 people filled the gallery and the foyer, forcing some to stand outside. Mayor Walter Jakeway, who last week encouraged Campbell Riverites to stage a tax revolt, entered the council chambers to a standing ovation from the gallery. Coun. Ron Kerr, who supported Jakeway and said he is “extremely disappointed with the budget” was also treated to a round of applause as he approached the council table.

Although council did not speak to the budget, Kerr made a motion, which was passed, to allow people in the gallery to speak for a maximum of three minutes at the end of the meeting. Only two people took him up on the offer.

Doug Robson, who last year spoke to council at the beginning of the budget process, returned Tuesday night and gave an impassioned speech.

“I’m still a senior that cannot afford a tax increase – no change from last year,” Robson said. “Last Thursday the federal budget was brought in that did not increase my taxes and eliminated the penny.

“I’m here today to demand, not ask, for the resignation of four bad pennies we have here on council,” Robson shouted. “Taxpayers, do not accept this increase. Revolt! Do not accept this increase.”

Robson rose from the delegation table to a rousing round of applause from the gallery, and as he went to his seat, commented “in the old days we used to be allowed to throw fruit.”

Jakeway thanked everyone who attended the meeting and said he was happy to see so many people come out.

“I think the point got through,” Jakeway said. “I was pleased with the turnout from the park, it was really good. I hope as many people show up next time (April 17 council meeting).”

As for the standing ovation?

“That was a first,” Jakeway said. “It was very encouraging, very heart warming and very invigorating.”

Read Friday’s Mirror and check our website for more on this story.