Three’s company, and it’s enough to govern Lantzville, for now.
The province of British Columbia made the right decision this week when it empowered the three remaining members of Lantzville council to conduct the municipality’s business after four councillors quit in recent weeks.
Graham Savage tendered his resignation Monday with the expectation that it would leave council without quorum and that the province would then be forced to intervene.
Instead, the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development has invoked its legislative authority to allow Lantzville Mayor Colin Haime, Coun. Denise Haime and Coun. John Coulson to govern until a byelection can be held.
This debacle should never have necessitated provincial government intervention. Obviously there was total dysfunction in council chambers, there’s plenty of blame to go around, and the mayor, as leader, has to be held accountable. But this wasn’t an issue that should have affected voters – it should have been an issue that stayed inside district office, an issue handled internally with maturity and common sense. Municipalities across the province make major decisions and deal with adversity all the time, and yet Lantzville couldn’t handle such elementary challenges as sharing and playing nice.
So the community is left with a looming byelection. We suspect that voter apathy won’t be a problem – interest is sure to be high – and we expect there may be slates of candidates putting their names forward, adding intrigue.
A byelection will restore a reasonable amount of representation to council chambers, but it won’t solve everything. The next council will still have to find a way to co-operate and make government work.
Let’s keep in mind that Lantzville’s problems exist in a boardroom with comfortable, faux-leather wheely chairs. Some people, meanwhile, have real problems.