Opinion

Councillor is not paying attention to his constituents

Well, one more party has weighed in with his take on Echo Heights.

North Cowichan Councillor John Koury’s primary argument against the preservation of Echo Heights Forest in his recent opinion piece is an economic one.

His theory is that the revenue produced by the sale of 20% of Echo Heights Forest will be leveraged into larger sums of money for general North Cowichan needs.

More disturbing than the simplistic optimism Koury expresses in this theory is the underlying hostile, disparaging tone he takes toward Chemainiacs.

Koury first refers to those opposed to Echo Heights development as a “squad,’ a term best used with reference to a sports team or a military unit. Chemainus Residents Association (CRA) is not interested in game-playing, and, truth be told, may be too polite and peaceful in our opposition to be military.

Then Koury refers to us as a “citizen” organization, his quotation marks suggesting the legitimacy of the organization is questionable.

Well, Chemainus Residents Association has been around for seven years, has turned out scores of residents for meetings, has collected 1,600-plus names on a petition, has demonstrated that 92% of letters received by the Municipality over a three-year period supported full preservation of Echo Heights Forest.

Yes, we are a citizen organization, and we think that such citizen activities are what democracy is all about.

Koury then goes on to contrast CRA with “rational-thinking politicians.” That one is so old: “Whatever you say is emotional, whatever I say is rational.”

CRA has developed and presented carefully-thought-out arguments against development of Echo Heights, supported by learned professionals, on ecological, economic, land use, cultural, and recreational grounds.

The next phrase Koury dredges up is the old Nixonian “silent majority.” We can demonstrate the numbers in support of Echo Heights preservation. Where is the evidence of the supposed majority who support the development? Our position is characterized by Koury as “fringe.” Again, we’ve demonstrated widespread support for our position. Can he do that?

The final phrase in Koury’s opinion piece warranting analysis is the councillor’s calling us the “Chemainus Rate Payers Association.” This is so telling! It’s pretty incredible that after five years on council he can’t get our name right.

Maybe he doesn’t read our material? Maybe he doesn’t listen when we speak at council?

Methinks Councillor Koury owes Chemainus, and the Chemainus Residents Association an apology.

Bernie Jones is chairman of the Chemainus Residents Association.

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