Pedestrian Bridge yay, Behnsen issue unclear

By citizen applause for Behnsen, it appeared Behnsen’s approach is welcome among taxpayers.

Pedestrian Bridge yay, Behnsen issue unclear

I attended North Cowichan’s citizen-packed Nov. 27 meeting in council chambers and applaud councillors for rejecting the proposed $1.8-million York Road Pedestrian Bridge and Somenos Creek Project.

This wise decision saved us a huge amount of money, potential environmental damage, and possible issues dealing with homeless folks in the York Road area.

However, my applause didn’t apply when Mayor Jon Lefebure read, at the meeting’s outset, a sobering public statement concerning corrective measures taken against Coun. Joyce Behnsen for bullying and harassment of a municipal employee. The mayor told residents these allegations were apparently confirmed during a probe by an investigator. Sadly, privacy policies prevented the mayor from explaining the nature of said bullying and harassment.

I fully understand the staffer’s name must be withheld. However, council should and must concentrate on everything it can legally tell citizens about such serious issues. Basic facts missing include which municipal department was involved during the May to April bullying and harassment; what action, if any, was taken by council during that time; what corrective measures are now being taken against Coun. Behnsen; and why Behnsen did not apparently respond to the investigator’s findings. Without such context and background, it’s most difficult for citizens to fully understand what really happened and why. The cost of the investigation is also unknown.

To be clear, as a taxpayer I expect North Cowichan councillors to constantly ask staff, politely, for information about budgets, municipal project costs, and many other issues — and to bring residents’ concerns forward concerning how they are treated by municipal staff. Indeed, staff and councillors should welcome such communication. Councillors and staff who are not diligently cooperative, and receptive to taxpayer concerns, are seemingly not doing their job.

By citizen applause for Behnsen after the mayor read the municipality’s statement, it appeared Behnsen’s approach is welcome among taxpayers.

Peter W. Rusland

Duncan

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Painters Jim Tulip, Doug Mackenzie and Gary Henslowe were painting the exterior of the Duncan Butcher Shop and Apple Press printing shop, located between the Trans Canada Highway and Whistler Street, on Oct. 8 as part of neighbourhood painting project. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Duncan’s Whistler Street sees a fresh lick of paint in opioid battle

Group wants to help clean up community, one street at a time

Dinner shows in the Playbill Dining Room are keeping the Chemainus Theatre going during the pandemic. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Dinner events satisfying for the Chemainus Theatre and patrons

Small groups enjoy entertainment and the food in the Playbill Dining Room

Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, left, joined Rob Douglas, right, NDP candidate for the Cowichan Valley in the upcoming provincial election, on a tour to meet people in Lake Cowichan on Oct. 16 and discuss local issues. (Robert Barron/Citizen) Douglas’s campaign continued to pull out all the stops with a visit on Sunday from Premier John Horgan for some spearfishing in Duncan. (Submitted)
Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh visits Lake Cowichan

Rob Douglas, NDP’s candidate for Cowichan Valley, joins him

Duncan-based author Jennifer Manuel took home the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize for her first novel, The Heaviness of Things that Float, at the 33rd Annual BC Book Prizes. She will be part of an online reading session on Oct. 22, 2020, featuring Cowichan Valley writers. (Submitted photo)
Cowichan Valley authors to be featured in online readings Oct. 22

The Cowichan Valley Writers Spotlight will feature readings by eight area writers

With local MLA Adam Olsen looking on, BC Greens leader Sonia Furstenau said a Green government would convert BC Ferries into a Crown corporation Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Green leader Sonia Furstenau promises to convert BC Ferries back into Crown corporation

Promise comes Monday afternoon with five days left in campaign

Working smoothly together on May 11, 2020, health minister Adrian Dix, B.C. Liberal health critic Norm Letnick, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and sign language interpreter Nigel Howard. (B.C. government video)
COVID-19 co-operation a casualty of B.C.’s pandemic election

NDP’s Horgan weaponizes senior care, B.C. Liberal Wilkinson calls for ‘wartime economy’

A bear similar to this black bear is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Vancouver Island residents warned to watch livestock, pets after bear kills llama

Officers could not track the bear they feel may not fear humans

Bernard Trest and his son Max, 10, are concerned about B.C.’s plan for students in the classroom. He was one of two fathers who filed a court application in August to prevent schools from reopening if stricter COVID-19 protections weren’t in place. That application was dismissed last week. (Contributed photo)
B.C. dad pledges to appeal quashed call for mandatory masks, distancing in schools

Bernard Trest and Gary Shuster challenged health, education ministries’ return-to-school plan

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
RCMP cleared in fatal shooting of armed Lytton man in distress, police watchdog finds

IIO spoke to seven civillian witnesses and 11 police officers in coming to its decision

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A 34-year-old man was treated for a gunshot wound in Williams Lake Monday, Oct 19, 2020. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake man treated for gunshot wound after accidental shooting: RCMP

Police are reminding residents to ensure firearms are not loaded when handling them

A injection kit is seen inside the newly opened Fraser Health supervised consumption site is pictured in Surrey, B.C., Tuesday, June 6, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. records 127 fatal overdoses in September, roughly 4 each day

Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria continued to see the highest numbers of overdoses

Investigators work at the Sagmoen farm in Silver Creek. - Image credit: Observer file photo.
Sex workers allegedly called to farm of Okanagan man convicted of assault, RCMP investigating

Curtis Sagmoen, convicted in relation to assault of sex trade workers, is prohibited from soliciting escorts

Most Read