A lesson in meeting decorum would have been welcome

75 per cent of those in attendance at that meeting had never been to one before

A lesson in meeting decorum would have been welcome

I would like to share my perspective of the council meeting on Jan. 20.

I arrived at 5:10 p.m., found an parking spot easily and was met with the honking horns of many dump trucks and service vehicles of those hard working blue collar members of our community.

I was able to easily make my way to the door of the council chambers where I waited patiently under my umbrella for the doors to open.

The Cowichan Works Group felt it was very important for mayor and council to hear a strong, clear message from the contractors and developers in North Cowichan and we discussed having five speakers willing to speak at the council meeting to ensure we were covering all viewpoints without repeating our messages. As has been done in the past one member of this group signed in the five NC residents on the sign in list. We were fairly certain due to the large numbers expected that council would give everyone who wanted to speak an opportunity to do so, and thankfully this was granted to all who attended.

I spoke as part of the Cowichan Works delegation and there was during my presentation an outburst of inappropriate language. In my opinion it was not directed at any one person but a more overarching show of displeasure to the events at hand.

I am disappointed that some members of the gallery felt the exact way that I and many, many others felt attending the VIMC public meetings. I experienced firsthand jeering, name calling, belittling and misinformation at those meetings that some are expressing having felt on Jan. 20.

Division is apparent and rampant in this community. That is evident and obvious.

I think there was a moment lost on the behalf of mayor and council to use the opportunity that was in front of them. A teaching moment.

One would probably be correct in suggesting that 75 per cent of those in attendance at that meeting had never been to one before and had no knowledge or understanding of how a council meeting is run or expected decorum. Many people assume that all politics is done in the manner of question period at the provincial and federal level.

I know most of the individuals in attendance and know them to be kind, hard working, intelligent people. People that in times of need help their neighbours, employ our children in their first jobs and donate time and money back into our community.

Perhaps a quick two-minute overview of expectations and the consequences of violating them would have made the difference.

Again, the threats are back online and social media activists are back at it spreading and sharing accounts of the meeting that were just not true and attacking those with opposing viewpoints. This is getting us nowhere in moving forward to obtaining a cohesive approach at moving forward in hopes to heal our community.

I thank you all and also thank staff for listening and hearing the development sector, contractors and business owners of North Cowichan.

Jen Woike

North Cowichan

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