LETTERS: Question period stifles dissent
Last week, I left my White Rock home to attend a council meeting. The air that evening smelled clean and fresh after the recent snowfall.
On the agenda was the vote for Bylaw 2045, which, if passed, would allow for Evergreen Baptist to build a new highrise close to the existing upscale Belaire highrise on the corner of North Bluff and Oxford Street. I personally opposed this application, as I knew it would block my Belaire neighbours’ views and sun, as well as needlessly destroying many protected trees. Sadly, I was not surprised when it passed.
As I sat there, I noticed the question period that was implemented while mayor Catherine Ferguson was in office – which allowed citizens to ask questions and voice their concerns at the beginning of council meetings – is now changed to the end. Furthermore, now you can only ask questions about items that are on that evening’s agenda. So basically, one of the only public forums for questioning your elected officials is now after the fact.
The residents of Belaire, after the 4-2 passing of this bylaw, still tried to valiantly ask their questions in this strangled forum. Yet each time, they were shot down by Mayor Wayne Baldwin, who basically said, “council has voted, let’s move on.”
So, I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank Baldwin and some of his fellow councillors, because that night, if I closed by eyes tight enough, I could have sworn they had taken me on a road trip from the clean, fresh air of White Rock all the way to Hamilton!
C. Richards, White Rock