By Marilyn Venturi
I was very happy to see so many area residents at Wednesday night’s CVRD Board meeting. Many were there specifically to support Director Iannidinardo and her unwavering commitment to doing the job for which she was elected: consulting with her community and advocating for them.
As it turns out, she apparently does not have the respect she deserves from senior staff or her fellow directors. Not all have taken the time she has to educate themselves on this issue. Should they be expected to delve deeply into every issue or even seek legal opinion independent of the Board, as Director Iannidinardo has done? Isn’t that what staff is for?
Generally, I would agree that directors should be able to rely on staff for advice on most issues; however, the proposed Steelhead/Malahat Nation partnership for a floating LNG facility in the Saanich Inlet off the shores of Bamberton represents a huge threat to our environment, societal values and economy.
With all the costly mistakes made by the Board on staff advice in recent years, surely it is their duty to be much better prepared for this fight, particularly after being caught unprepared for the Shawnigan contaminated soil issue debacle.
The motion to oppose LNG that received unanimous support from the Board was done at the right time for the right reasons: BEFORE any new applications for LNG processing facilities had been received and to demonstrate that the CVRD indeed supports the communities, their OCP’s and jurisdiction over land use.
That outrageous threatening letter from Steelhead/Malahat Nation seemed to have had the intended outcome.
Back pedaling can be expected if new information comes to light indicating a mistake was made, but all the cases cited in both legal opinions only reinforced that directors CAN, DO and SHOULD express their opinions in support of their constituents.
I can understand the discomfort that the letter from Steelhead/Malahat Nation generated. It is human nature for most people to avoid conflict. The motion that passed Wednesday night to reply to the Steelhead/Malahat Nation seemed at first to be a good compromise. But was this the best course of action?
With a night to think on it and a day discussing it with people I consider to have a good knowledge of the law and a track record of being able to sort through the BS and get to the point, I believe that it was a very poor decision.
They gave in to bullying tactics and in the process may have weakened their position by even acknowledging such a ridiculous letter.
Please stand up for us, directors!