Tim Palmer

Tim Palmer

Twelve Politically Incorrect days of Christmas

Tim Palmer

Special to the Review

An update of the 2019 Politically Incorrect opinions to heat those holiday conversations.

On the first day of office, city council gave us…

Promise in a pear tree

“Keep your promises” was a proposed New Year’s resolution for council. But fulfilled political promises are as rare as partridges in pear trees. However, Revelstoke council did deliver on projects the previous council initiated — the spray park, some road rehabilitation and Illecillewaet water line work.

Two precious plans

When asked, “Hey mayor and council, what’s your plan?” it seemed they didn’t have a plan to make a plan. With the assistance of a consultant, council now has a plan for more plans—an update to the Official Community Plan, a plan to fix the stinky sewer lagoons, a plan for more taxation, an asset management plan and a plan to address illegal vacation rentals.

The new communications coordinator will plan to proclaim council’s fantastic job.

Three deaf hens

Maybe you thought that after a public backlash and outcry, council nixed the $100,000 a year communications position?

With a magician’s sleight of hand, council converted the position into a communications coordinator contract.

For clarity, the city states the new communications person will be an independent contractor and not an employee. For the average taxpayer, the distinction is moot.

Four rules retracting

Council’s decision to waive a public hearing and delegate decisions to staff, in my opinion, erodes public accountability.

On the other hand, Coun. Cody Younker plans to introduce procedural rules making council meetings more accessible.

Speaking of rules, to the delight of cats, dog control enforcement was ramped up.

Five golden feces

An article about poop and plastic, intended to encourage good environmental practices by the community and council alike, had mixed results. Some dogs did persuade owners to flush their feces down the toilet. (Sorry Southsiders, the sewage stench may increase with the burgeoning dog population)

Council did not, however, have the courage to ban single use plastic bags. Does Santa pick up after the reindeer?

Six blessings relaying

My Blessed Is The Municipal Taxpayer article—a good news story— highlighted the diverse municipal functions.

In my opinion, the city provides good services. However, the article was the least read of the year. No comments, perhaps not even read. The lesson to writers — nice opinions come in last.

Seven staff a-leaving

That last statement, “nice opinions come in last,” is not always accurate. I wrote a nice article about a nice person: “Ms. Nice.” Nice, the epitome of exceptional public service, received many nice compliments.

Unfortunately, she left city hall for another organization. She was not the only one. Development services had a 100 per cent turnover since the last election. Perhaps the beleaguered department is on a path of transformation to bring peace and goodwill to builder-kind.

Eight permits waiting?

Regional district director David Brooks-Hill continues to pursue his quest to eliminate building inspection requirements for the rural area outside the fire protection area. Whether you agree—as his rural constituents seem to—or whether you disagree—as many regional board members do—Brooks-Hill is one politician focused on keeping his promise.

He wrote an articulate and persuasive rebuttal to the opinion piece and continues his mandate to bring back a time reminiscent of pioneer living void of bureaucracy.

Nine dreams a-dancing

In the city’s new strategic plan, there are assurances by which we can assess council performance. One promise is an update of the Official Community Plan. The document guides the city’s growth and development. A public OCP visioning exercise was extended because the city only received half the targeted number of completed surveys. The survey is now closed.

Ten parties a-gathering

Last fall, half of council attended policy and educational sessions and a variety of social gatherings hosted by various businesses at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) annual conference. Based on what the attendees said, it was valuable time.

I suspect the luxury hotel rooms are already booked for the September 2020 UBCM event in Victoria.

City buses empty

The ski bus is full, but city buses continue to be virtually empty. A unique opportunity exists with the transit review and a willingness by the contractor who operates both bus systems.

There is an opportunity for a “free” bus ride on New Year’s Eve.

Twelve wisemen waiting

Inspired by the memory of Steve Bender, council was encouraged to heed the wisdom of previous councillors. More than three wise men and women with council experience exist who would be valuable on city advisory committees.

A wealth of wisdom is available just for council’s asking.

Tim Palmer, a former career bureaucrat, gave an insider’s perspective on a variety of political topics over the past year.