BREAKERS: Councillor’s misconduct – Chamber’s no-show – Mayor’s dumpster disinformation – CAO vacancy, Town seeks external consultant?

  • Councillor Harrison demonstrates need for a Code of Conduct
  • Chamber delegation a puzzling no-show at Council
  • Mayor spreads disinformation in attempt to dump cardboard collection on taxpayers
  • Prowler in Parksville too!
  • CAO position vacant, Town rushes to hire external consultant?
  • Scene around Town – sunning themselves

Councillor Harrison demonstrates need for a Code of Conduct

Three months ago we reported QB Mayor Brian Wiese’s disinformation understating the extent of neighbourhood opposition to the spot rezoning of 188 Sunningdale Road East which received third reading on July 28, 2021.

At the Council meeting on October 27, 2021, the rezoning by-law amendment was adopted, but not before Councillor Scott Harrison went off on an abusive rant directed at Councillor Anne Skipsey who did not support the rezoning.

Councillor Harrison for some reason decided he needed to blurt: “I just want to point out that the majority of people who were speaking on both sides of this issue were not actually neighbours. The majority of people who spoke in opposition were not neighbours to the property — they were people who have participated in past campaigns and providing funding for Anne Skipsey in past political campaigns.”

Not only was Councillor Harrison’s behaviour offensive, he was repeating the same disinformation that we refuted, with evidence, in a previous report: Mayor Wiese miscounts, discounts neighbourhood opposition to spot rezoning.

Mayor Wiese immediately interjected: “Councillor Harrison, that’s out-of-line.” But Harrison kept going. The exchange ended with Mayor Wiese saying, “I will not tolerate any name calling — not going to happen today.”

To view Harrison’s outburst yourself, tune in at about the 57:00 minute mark of the meeting recording:

Policy 3004-7 Standards of Conduct is a current Council work-in-process, most recently amended at their October 27, 2021 regular meeting.

Chamber delegation a puzzling no-show at Council

The agenda for the Town Council’s regular meeting on October 27, 2021 included an expected Delegation – “Corry Gervais and Kim Burden, Parksville & District Chamber of Commerce – Request for 5-year Fee for Service agreement for $75,000 annually towards the Oceanside Initiatives Economic Development Plan”, accompanied by a “Staff Recommendation: THAT staff be directed to bring back a report with recommendations regarding the request from the Parksville & District Chamber of Commerce to enter into a fee for service agreement for the Oceanside Initiatives Economic Development Plan, at an upcoming in camera meeting.”

When Council reached that point on the Agenda (at the 00:25:00 mark), meeting chair Mayor Wiese simply said: “Delegations … Done.” Huh? What, exactly, was done?

The item had not been deleted during Adoption of the Agenda at the beginning of the meeting. No explanation was provided for the complete bypassing of this agenda item. Nor was there any motion made, discussed or voted on regarding the troubling staff recommendation that this requested expenditure of public funds not be dealt with in public. What are they trying to hide? Council accountability and transparency take another hit.

Mayor Wiese spreads disinformation in attempt to dump cardboard disposal on QB taxpayers

In September 2021, Town staff recommended to Council that the provision of the recycling bin for oversized cardboard that has been located for 20 years adjacent to the public works yard at Second Avenue and Berwick Road be discontinued. The bin was recently moved to a nearby temporary location on Second Avenue to accommodate construction of a brew pub. The cardboard recyling bin is well used by both QB businesses and residents, more so during COVID due to increased parcel deliveries and because of the change in garbage and recycling collection.

The staff recommendation was made to Council at the September 8, 2021 regular meeting. Council punted the issue to its October 6, 2021 meeting. Meanwhile the community buzzed. Our September 29th issue included a letter from a QB merchant critical of a Parksville Chamber of Commerce employee who supports the removal of the bin. See Parksville Chamber employee criticizes QB businesses.

The October 6, 2021 Council meeting achieved no definitive outcome, but did manage to spread some disinformation. Normally the staff person presenting the recommendation speaks to the issue first. However, it appears that Finance Director John Marsh was not at the meeting. We’re not sure why Marsh was tagged with catching the arrows on this one anyway. Waste disposal sounds like public works (water, sewer etc.), something that ought to be managed under Bob Weir’s Operations portfolio.

Cardboard stacked on QB street. November 2021

In the absence of an introduction by staff (Marsh), Mayor Wiese decided to start the discussion with his support for eliminating the service altogether, first because residents apparently don’t need it… “we all have blue [recycling] bins at home.” It seems Wiese hasn’t noticed that since curbside pickup changed to automated bin collection trucks, residents can no longer simply leave oversized flattened cardboard beside their curbside bin. The volume of cardboard waste has dramatically increased during the pandemic with the increase in home delivery of merchandise. The abundance of Amazon boxes routinely seen in the cardboard dumpster on Second Avenue refutes Mayor Wiese’s disinformation that QB residents don’t need the bin.

Mayor Wiese’s other observation that people don’t put their cardboard in the dumpster, they just leave it “all around it” on the ground, is both insulting and unfounded.

In its original location at the end of Second Avenue East, businesses and residents seldom observed any cardboard dumped on the ground. When people go the trouble of taking their cardboard to the bin, they are likely to also go to the trouble of putting it into the bin — unless the bin is already crammed full. More recently, in the bin’s current unsatisfactory temporary setting — accessible from only one side, and not emptied when full — the likelihood of cardboard being stacked beside the bin probably has increased.

The plan by Wiese and Marsh to eliminate oversize cardboard collection in QB would dump (pardon the pun) the problem on residents and local businesses. Residents would then have to pay $8.00 minimum for each trip to the Church Road Transfer Station in Parksville. Local businesses could incur increased costs for private disposal of garbage — that’s right — the cardboard would get tossed into the same dumpster as all other landfill-destined waste instead of being recycled.

Parking lot at east end of Mill Road at Harlech (behind former fire hall), Qualicum Beach.

The parking lot at the east end of Mill / Harlech (behind the former fire hall) was summarily discounted by Council, or any location “too close to the centre of Town.” So, staff were sent off to determine if a feasible site on Town-owned land out near the airport could be found.

Meanwhile, there has been nary a peep from Council or Town staff about using a couple of parking spaces from the Town-owned parking lot at 190 Fern Road West (corner of Beach). Maybe that land has already been sold too, or will be put on-the-block to help recover from the huge budget over-run allowed by QB Council on the Memorial / 19 A roundabout?

Waste Reduction Week in Canada was October 18 – 24. We can only hope that the Town finds a suitable alternate bin location, amenable to businesses and residents, and accessible dawn-to-dusk seven days a week. — GS

PQB News, November 10, 2021

Prowler in Parksville too!

The Crime Report in the November 10, 2021 issue of Parksville based PQB News featured the headline “Prowler reported lurking on Qualicum Beach street” amongst a dozen or more items of theft and vandalism.

Oddly, we wondered why the headline wasn’t “Prowler reported lurking on Parksville street” since the next item listed in the same article reported a prowler on a Parksville street. — LS

With CAO position vacant, Town rushes to hire external consultant?

Less than ten days after announcing CAO Daniel Sailland’s departure, and without even waiting to recruit a new CAO, the Town of Qualicum Beach has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to conduct a Service Review. Bizarre.

Sailland’s resignation has created an excellent opportunity for the Town to recruit a new leader who, with fresh eyes and seasoned planning expertise, would get settled in and lead such a Review. Or, to decide that the Town’s time and money would be better invested in some Basic Planning 101 methods and training for existing staff.

Hence, our shock to see the Town, on October 29, 2021, issue this Request for Proposals to hire an external consultant to conduct the Service Review.

In a previous assessment of the Town’s ability to plan, organize and conduct its work based on a Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting held on April 21, 2021, we reported that “The [Town’s] planning process is now so dysfunctional that the net result of Council’s COW session is that the CAO has dictated his Strategic Plan, and has Council’s blessing to conduct a “service review” later this year, the usual code words for a bureaucrat’s intention to expand his empire.”

Sailland’s thinly veiled explanation was that “Conducting a service review will provide Council and the Town with an opportunity to review the organization’s effectiveness in delivering services in key areas. Further, it will provide recommendations around how to optimize organizational efforts; identify cost savings and/or opportunities for revenue generation; balance stakeholder expectations in the context of our financial constraints; and identify areas where additional resources are needed to meet the expectations of Council and Qualicum Beach residents.” [our emphasis]

The Town, presumably without objection from Council, has decided to proceed with a Service Review — without a CAO. Unless this RFP is withdrawn, we plan to analyze the scope of work as described in the RFP, and contrast what the Town proposes with time-tested operational review methods typically used to effect service quality improvements in organizations. — GS

Scene around Town – sunning themselves