Whoops, it’s an election year and with just ten – count ‘em, 10! – months to go before Coast residents head to the polls to choose their local government representatives, the issues are on the floor and the invective is in the air.
In Gibsons, the George project is still months away from a Public Hearing, but that’s not stopping its opponents. Landing merchants make no secret of their support for the project – badges and signs are prominently displayed – and thus are easy targets for the coercive anti-George letters threatening a wholesale boycott of their premises that were hand-delivered this past week. First thought: how many of those threatening the boycott actually regularly patronize those businesses? Second thought: How valid are their points of opposition, if they must resort to intimidation to get their way instead of reasoned debate? Apparently, the team that specialized in lies and innuendo in past elections and development hearings are back at work, pumping up the rumour mill. Psst, did you hear that a five-way traffic light will be installed in Lower Gibsons if this project goes forward? Psst, did you hear that … Did you read on Facebook that … Did you share the post on the anonymously-administered page that said … A lack of factual information and the surplus of fear-mongering indicates a weak argument and an old-fashioned political mindset reaching back to the traditions of Tammany Hall.
In Sechelt, the sewage treatment plant prompts fewer letters to the editor but equally emotional responses from the public, pro and con. The writ has not yet been dropped for a recently-proposed borrowing referendum and already we hear calls to VOTE with capital letters. Sometimes with variously coloured and sized fonts, just to make their point. In this issue, as with others that will come forward before election season, reason must trump emotion and votes should be cast based on soundly presented economic data.
While we respect the passion of the various camps, we wonder: without the vitally-important reports requested by Gibsons Council at the last Committee of the Whole meeting, how can either side make a fully-informed decision? Until all the financial data is in the public’s hands, how can voters in Sechelt head to the polls confident of casting an enlightened vote that will impact the future economy of their community?
At The Local, we are waiting until all the facts are in before we weigh in on either debate.
Heather Jeal, Editor