“Who runs the District?”

“Who runs the District?” As the Mayor sees it with District of Barriere Mayor Bill Humphreys

District Council and staff have been working on the budget for this year. Costs are up and revenues from other sources are down. The honeymoon of a newly incorporated District has come to an end. Choices around what are needed expenses and a nice to do project will need to be addressed. It may make for some tense times around the Council table but it all has to be done.

Add to this the water meter project, beginning the design phase of the sewer project,  decisions around downtown revitalization, attending to business retention plus growth and the need to realign or refocus efforts on industrial land development in light of recent down turns in that sector and it makes for some very long meetings.

I am glad that the standing committees are now for the most part in place and working

Recently a number of residents have asked me “Who runs the District?”

I admit I was a bit puzzled by the question and further to that by the number of people that asked me the same thing.

I gave my own idea on the subject which is that it was the residents that actually run the District. Each Councillor and the Council as a whole are there to hear the ideas of the residents.

In a democracy the majority determines which ideas are acted on. Those ideas are then turned into projects, policies or whatever needs to happen. The Council then directs District staff to carry out the work.

After I say all this you would think I was doing stand up comedy. Laughter is a generally good thing but in this case it strikes me that there may be some serious shortfalls happening in the communication portion of our local government.

Public input is always hard to collect. Public opinions on the other hand seem to always flow from small vocal groups or individuals with their own agendas. We live in a small town situation. To speak out may carry some unwanted criticism that unlike laughter is never a good thing.  A person should feel free to say what they think with a hope that they can be heard.

How to correct this problem is complex but not impossible.

Currently a person wanting to speak to Council files a form to speak as a delegation. Then they come and say what they want in front of not only Council but the other members of the public that are in attendance.

Public speaking for most people is as much fun as a root canal or spending Saturday night listening to a pyramid sales pitch from your long lost buddy thereby missing the hockey game.  It is no wonder most folks avoid the issue all together.

There is no magic fix but I can offer up a number of ways for anyone wanting to put forth an idea or perhaps a comment around how things are being done in The District.

As always you can call the Councillor that you feel most comfortable speaking to. Their contact numbers and email addresses are on the District website or can be obtained by calling the District at (250) 672-9751.

You can also contact me personally by my email which is mayor@barriere.ca I am the only person that reads those emails.

You can also mail or drop off a letter at the District office the address is Box 219, 4936 Barriere Town Road. B.C. V0E 1E0.  Mark the envelope confidential if you wish. Please let me know if you want a response and the best manner to do that.

The District of Barriere needs to know what you think so that we can proceed in a direction that suits the wishes of the majority.

To end on a positive note we had a very successful Walk for Memories this year. The final total is approximately $6700 up $1486 from last year.

We had some walkers travel here to participate and I was sent a donation from Karen, Jean, Beth and Christina over at the Sorrento branch of the Salmon Arm Saving and Credit Union. There was no walk in their community and they wanted to support the efforts here in Barriere. Thanks to them and all those whose efforts at events such as this make Barriere such a wonderful place to live and grow.

There have been a number of serious incidents in the District in the last few days. There is no official resolution to any of them at this time. I wish to respect the privacy of all that are involved and the needs of those that are working towards this resolution. I ask that residents please be patient and let the process work.