Carrying sign in store was last resort, not harassment
With regard to the Oct. 4 editorial, “Civility needed,” I agree with the editor’s opening statements. However, Lake Cowichan Councillor Bob Day was not “harassed and intimidated beyond all reason” as he has alleged. Let me explain.
My family and I live on the main street running through Lake Cowichan. Our home is located within a school zone along this highway which passes 10 feet from our front door. It has always been busy (local traffic, logging trucks, campers) and is becoming increasingly popular with Pacific Marine Route tourists.
In 2012, town hall spent nearly $1 million tax dollars to install traffic calming features on EVERY intersection of this road — EXCEPT the final one, where we live.
With increasing traffic and the absence of safety features, a speeding problem developed in the school zone. After a 2015 motor vehicle accident, I asked town council, in writing, if improvements could be done. I was told they could “ill afford” my recommendations.
Early in 2017, I gave a town hall presentation, followed by a petition calling for this intersection to be upgraded to the SAME STANDARDS as all others in town. I collected signatures from almost all school staff, neighbouring businesses and residents. Many months — and two more car accidents later — ALL OF US are still waiting for an answer. Must there be injuries or fatalities before council takes this seriously?
I’ve exhausted correct and proper procedures. I’ve involved RCMP, MOT, ICBC, SD 79 and the BC Ombudsman. No solution yet! Daily, I watch the speed reader board in the school zone display 50, 60 and 70 kph. After dark, motorists speed even faster. A readout would verify this. In frustration I’ve promised council members that I will expose their negligence before the 2018 municipal election.
Councillor Vomaka is the only one who will speak with me. The others, including Councillor Day, have REFUSED to discuss this important safety concern. Whenever I go shopping at the only grocery store in town, where Mr. Day is employed, there he is scowling at me.
Mr. Day reported the incident of Sept. 23 to police. If he felt harassed, why did he not press charges? I did carry a sign “Town Hall Neglects School Zones” into the store but if I was violating store policy why did Mr. Day, who was near the front door, not ask me to leave? He claims he “tried to ignore” me, but the truth is, he asked to take my picture. I posed for the photo and began shopping.
Security tapes will show that I did not “follow” Mr. Day, “harassing and intimidating” him or “making defamatory comments” as he has alleged. [After a confrontation with Day and store staff] I vacated the store, leaving groceries behind.
I believe Councillor Day’s own guilty conscience is harassing him. He knows he is neglecting the school zone, so no doubt he does feel intimidated — just by my very presence. Mr. Day inflamed the situation to discredit me.
As Ghandi said: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”