Context important in Donnay upset

I was accused of “unfair and disrespectful labeling tactics.”

In his letter to the Citizen on Feb. 16, (“Citizens being unfairly dismissed as ‘activists’”) Christopher Justice accuses me, among other things, of trying to “minimize and dismiss” the concerns of residents near Donnay Drive, apparently because I used the term “community activists” to describe his particular group of citizens.

I was accused of “unfair and disrespectful labeling tactics.”

Context is important. My comments were made during debate on a motion to defer the discussion on the Donnay Drive Urban Containment Boundary re-alignment until after a community meeting had been held on the issue.

Remember, we were discussing seven different potential UCB re-alignments in that meeting.

And in speaking against that deferral motion, I said (as recorded in the council video that is available online): “I know that it was Donnay that, in many respects, started this whole discussion about re-aligning the Urban Containment Boundaries. But you know, I’m hearing people here say ‘let’s give the residents a map and a Sharpie and they get to draw the line wherever they like.’ And you know, that nice. [But] are we doing that for the residents of Bell McKinnon [Road]? Are we doing that for the residents along Banks [Road]? Are we doing that for any of these other areas? No. What makes this a special case? Just because we’ve got a whole whack of political pressure? We are the ones elected to make these decisions. I would be able to say to everybody here today ‘Fine, let’s have the discussion about what’s on the map there… that’s OK.’ But to defer this so that a whole bunch of community activists can get their Sharpies out and then come back and tell us what to do, and then (for us) come back and say ‘yes sir, no sir, three bags full’… I’m just not into that.”

My point in using the term “community activists” was simply to illustrate that just because of political pressure from a particular group of people led by Mr. Justice, the process should not revert to a version of Orwell’s Animal Farm where everyone would be equal, but Donnay would somehow be a little more equal than all the other areas and neighbourhoods which are being considered for UCB changes.

That, to me, was not fair, because there was never any consideration of postponing the discussion on the other areas until they got to “use their Sharpies.”

And I stand by my comments.


Al Siebring, councillor

North Cowichan

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