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

Mary Lowther column: Growing out your own seeds

Some crops like tomatoes don’t cross pollinate well

‘Made in the Cowichan Valley’ coming to a wine bottle near you

Buyers across the province will soon be able to pick up a… Continue reading

Minivan driver’s speed a factor in fatal 2018 Malahat crash

Driver was travelling at 101 km/h in a construction zone

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Shellfish industry get funds to clean up at Island sites and beyond

Businesses can apply to cover half of costs to clean up so-called ‘ghost gear’

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

Most Read