Editor: A letter from Ole Sorensen (The Times, Aug. 2) was factually incorrect and lacked much of the truth in the issues he presented. I feel it is necessary for the electorate to get the correct story. It would have been expedient if he had researched his topics before forwarding the letter.
Firstly, there has been no move afoot to oust the mayor by any member of this council. Council has throughout this term maintained the dignity and word of the Community Charter to which we all must adhere and respect. Where this mayor has violated the Community Charter, council has by majority vote dealt with both he and the issue accordingly. To say councillors have ‘tried to oust their mayor’ is not the truth.
Pay increases for council members are always a hot topic. Several years ago (before I was on council), the council of the day adopted a formula for pay increase that keeps any member of this council in step of others in the region and in communities of similar sizes. They are not overpaid in comparison. As I stated, the formula was voted on several years ago and is applied automatically every three years.
Contrary to what Sorensen claimed, the Township of Langley did in fact have a “Stop work order” posted on the mushroom barn operation throughout the unfolding scenario at the farm. Those orders were only applicable to those aspects of the farm buildings and operation which the Township had jurisdiction over. In this situation, the Township of Langley in fact had the least jurisdictional authority.
Also having jurisdiction were the ministry of agriculture (Right to Farm legislation), ministry of the environment, federal department of fisheries and oceans, Work Safe B.C. and Metro Vancouver’s air quality branch.
The federal and provincial ministries involved had much greater impact and clout. Whether one agrees with how they handled their authority is a discussion for a different day, but what I can state unequivocally is that issues of an inter-jurisdictional nature such as this and landfill farming are the most challenging to get a solution to.
For him to imply that it was the Township’s fault that three workers tragically lost their lives and two are in a vegetative state due to negligence is an absolute falsehood. The Township, including myself as a councillor, took this issue seriously and pressured the various agencies on an ongoing basis. In my case, I made a formal complaint to the Farm Industry Review Board.
Lastly, if the job of being a councillor was merely, and I quote,” treats issues as simple math questions with pluses and minuses from the people in the Township,” one would have to question the need for a governance model at all. I think Sorensen is referring to recent decisions made, as reported in the news media, in relation to a couple of developments. The news media does their job of reporting what occurs at a public hearing.
In fact, some recent public hearings have been well attended with many speakers presenting their views. I might point out that there is a big difference between a public hearing, a form,al process where folks have the opportunity to verbalize their support or concerns about a development and “hearing from the public.”
The news media reports on the public hearing but is unaware of what a councillor hears from the public directly on that same issue. We receive letters from residents, phone calls, e-mails, we talk to folks in the community directly, at events or on the street, and in today’s world we receive a great deal of information through social media such as Twitter and Facebook.
A public hearing is only one tool residents have to communicate with council members. I know some folks are intimidated with speaking in public and prefer to communicate in other ways, which as long as it is heard before third reading is entirely legitimate and given due consideration.
Sorensen is entitled to his opinion, but the reality is he needs to gets his facts straight.
Councillor Charlie Fox,