In response to K. McVey regarding recent council decisions on Comox’s Official Community Plan, I stand by my relooking at important issues brought to the council table.
The OCP is a document that will be a guideline for the Town of Comox for not just the next couple of years but for the next 20 years! Community planning, development, protection of the environment and character of neighbourhoods and rural areas are just some of the issues under consideration.
When I decided to run for council I said I viewed a councillor as someone who should come to the council table with ideas but also be someone who listens to fellow councillors and the public, weighing all sides of an issue.
I further stated that should a councillor or council make an error in judgement that he /she or they have the courage to admit it and review issues for the betterment of the town.
Someone wisely suggested at one of the public meetings regarding the OCP, “What is the rush? let’s get it right.” So for me, another public meeting to make sure we get it right is acceptable and democratic.
What I have seen in politics globally, federally, provincially and now firsthand locally is that deciding on contentious issues comes down most often to principle or compromise. Some politicians view some issues as matters of principle and vote on the issue, not considering any compromising of their principle beliefs, which at times is admirable.
At other times, politicians entertain compromise, looking for some common ground. Finding consensus and compromise is never easy in a democracy, evident south of the border in the U.S. as we speak, and, even in our Town of Comox.
With the OCP issue involving some Point Holmes properties, the proposed .8 of hectare lot size suggested in the initial OCP draft was amended by our council in a close vote down to .5.
It was done so as a compromise, hoping to maintain the character of the rural neighbourhood but allowing some large property owners to consider limited development on their lands whilst maintaining rural character without town expectations (sidewalks, etc.).
Soon thereafter, .4 was proposed with attractive conditions and passed at another council meeting. After weighing the issue again, after a public hearing, and, after consulting with Town staff I believe the compromise to .5 allows the possibility of landowners to consider developing on their properties but overseen by the checks and balances of Town staff to ensure environmental concerns are addressed and rural integrity maintained.
These checks and balances would not be as possible with the drop to .4, I am told.
I encourage you to have your say at the public meeting. Who knows, your argument may cause councillors to relook at their position one last time and ‘dither’ again considering your point of view for the Official Community Plan.
I’d rather ‘dither’ and get it right than pass something in haste that all will regret down the road!
Editor’s note: Hugh MacKinnon sits on Comox council.