EDITORIAL: Conspicuous absences

White Rock’s political leaders are being offered opportunities more and more frequently to hear from those who elected them.

White Rock’s political leaders are being offered opportunities more and more frequently to hear from those who elected them.

As part of the burgeoning development proposals for the small city, proponents are asked to host public-information meetings to present and discuss their projects to their would-be neighbours.

And, in recent months, the public is doing their part, attending in droves.

Yet conspicuous by their absences are several members of council, who clearly could learn a thing or two about residents’ views.

No matter what reasons or rationalizations these members have for missing individual meetings, a pattern has become evident mere months into their long four-year term. And that pattern seems to break the compact they entered into with voters when they were elected last November.

We are talking about the opportunity to meet with voters face-to-face and hear their concerns, their fears and, yes, even their anger. We are talking about the opportunity to start a conversation – no matter how difficult – that might, eventually, lead to mutual understanding on the need to balance our priorities for the future and our responsibilities for the present.

This, we dare to suggest, is the role of council members in a community; indeed politicians at all levels of government.

In this day and age, in which soundbites and social-media posts seem to define our ‘reality’, we have seen increased reliance on a political concept that has actually been around for a long time – the notion of government by photo-op, geared only to keeping up appearances.

We have seen, too, what an easy road this is for elected officials to take. But the fact is that our representatives were not elected simply for the fun stuff, the feel-good stuff.

With the public question period at White Rock council meetings now a matter of history, there are few remaining toe-in-the-water opportunities for such direct feedback. People can make appointments for future delegations to council, it’s true, but that is a vehicle only for another speech – not a dialogue. And that’s why attending public meetings is so important.

Unless council members henceforth plan to govern by edict only, there is one appearance that must be preserved – and that is the appearance of being genuinely concerned.

That is, assuming city council members still want to represent the opinions of the people who elected them.

 

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

Just Posted

Upgrades underway at the Sunnyside Reservoir, adjacent to Sunnyside Acres Urban Forest, raised concerns among some residents Tuesday (Oct. 20), however, stewards of the park say everything went off without a hitch. (Tracy Holmes photo)
‘No issue’ with South Surrey reservoir drainage, despite trail user concerns: urban forest steward

Forest visitor taken aback by ‘unprecedented flooding’ of trails

A new 23-storey condo development – which might also house a new White Rock city hall space – is proposed for the current site of 3 Dogs Brewing on Johnston Road, and will be discussed by the Land Use and Planning committee on Oct. 26. (File photo)
Civic centre could be part of new 23-storey White Rock condo tower

Development proposal to be discussed Oct. 26 by council’s land use committee

(Image: CDC)
Fraser Health orders Surrey food-processing facility to close amid COVID-19 outbreak

Staff member at Surrey long-term care facility also tests positive for the virus

The number of new COVID-19 cases in the Fraser South region has doubled in the last two weeks. The number of cases in the Fraser East region has tripled.
Chart: Tyler Olsen
COVID-19 surge in B.C. fuelled by spikes in new cases in Fraser Valley & Surrey area

Number of newly confirmed cases has tripled in Fraser Valley and doubled in the Surrey/Langley area

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

BC Liberals Leader Andrew Wilkinson, BC Greens Sonia Furstenau, BC NDP John Horgan (The Canadian Press photos)
British Columbians vote in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

At dissolution, the NDP and Liberals were tied with 41 seats in the legislature, while the Greens held two seats

The possibility of the Canadian Premier League expanding to the Fraser Valley has been floated online. (Facebook photo)
Canadian Premier League possibly eyeing Fraser Valley expansion

Soccer league looking to add ninth team to the mix, B.C. markets potentially rumoured

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

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Most Read