EDITORIAL: City flip-flop raises pointed questions

Should we have reached a place where residents are feeling that they must resort to legal action to get answers to their questions?

To hear the official response, the City of White Rock’s decision to reopen its 2015 annual report for public discussion is nothing more than civic leaders listening to the residents.

No matter that this decision came a month after residents were told at the earlier annual-report meeting that it was “not a time for the speakers to be asking questions of the administration regarding the annual report.”

Of course, since that time city staff and elected officials must have been perusing the Community Charter, which states:

“The council must annually consider, at a council meeting or other public meeting (a) the annual report prepared under section 98, and (b) submissions and questions from the public.”

It now appears that the amendments to the annual report will also include a statement of objectives for the city, and measures taken to determine progress on the objectives, as well as a progress report – all of which, as council critics have pointed out, are mandatory under the charter.

That the current gatekeepers at White Rock city hall are open to suggestions might surprise some. That they are expressing a willingness to listen to their fiercest critics appears most disingenuous.

In spite of a pronounced flip-flop on this issue, nowhere in city statements can there be found any suggestion that the city may have been in error, or acted improperly, or that apparent threats by some residents to pursue lawsuits against the city on the basis of breaching the charter entered into the decision to amend the report.

Perhaps such considerations never coloured the decision, and perhaps there is truly nothing to be seen here.

But should we have reached a place where residents are feeling that they must resort to legal action to get answers to their questions?

Doesn’t this – and the unprecedented barrage of freedom-of-information requests now inundating city hall – indicate that there is a grave communications disconnect between city residents, the public servants employed to act for them and the politicians elected to represent them?

There are so many questions yet to be asked, some more pointed than others.

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

Just Posted

Final Four set at Surrey RCMP Classic, where a new champ will be crowned

Guildford Park beats Semiahmoo, ending Totems’ three-year championship run

Not over yet: Mixture of snow, freezing rain on way as winter storm tapers in Lower Mainland

Environment Canada releases weather alert for Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley

Surrey eyes boost to development cost charges

Proposed rates could take effect mid-May

Surrey’s newest task force aims to find ‘innovative’ ways to bring in revenue

McCallum says city’s revenue sources shouldn’t ‘completely rely on the taxpayer all the time’

White Rock BNSF train whistles to be silenced by end of month

Whistle will sound if people or animals are on the track

Fashion Fridays: Look your best this year

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

VIDEO: Semi driver records 22 crashes in one icy trip from Chilliwack to Abbotsford

‘Treacherous’ morning had emergency crews struggling to reach stranded drivers

‘Scariest boat ride of my life’: Passengers trapped by ice on rocky B.C. ferry sailing

The Nimpkish docked in Bella Coola on Jan.12 coated in a thick layer of ice

B.C. pair ordered to pay $55,000 for oil tank discovered four years after selling home

Judge says defendants breached contract, despite being unaware of tank until basement flooded

Canada to give $25,000 to families of each Canadian who died in Iran plane crash

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also made it clear that Canada still expects Iran to compensate victims

Good Samaritan pays part of rent for B.C. woman facing eviction in can-collecting dispute

Zora Hlevnjak, 76, supplements her pension by collecting cans and receiving public donations

Oil and gas industry applauds top court’s dismissal of B.C.’s Trans Mountain case

The high court’s ruling Thursday removes one of the remaining obstacles for the project

Sub-zero B.C. weather freezes clothing in just 45 minutes

A local photographer decided to have some fun with the frosty weather before its gone

Most Read

l -->