North Island residents rarely attend council meetings, which makes no sense to me.
You learn many interesting things at these meetings, which is why I find it weird almost nobody ever shows up for them.
Do people really not care about the future of where they live? Sadly, this seems to be the case.
My friend Matt Martin wrote a fantastic letter to the editor in a previous edition of the Gazette, challenging people to become more aware by attending their local council meetings.
His letter about being suprised by what was actually going on with town politics really hit home for me, because when I started covering town council meetings almost two years ago, I found getting involved in the proceedings to be eerily similar to the moment Neo is offered a red pill and a blue pill in the movie the Matrix.
To quote the movie, “You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”
To put it bluntly, everyone who stays home and doesn’t attend council meetings has ingested the blue pill and are either blissfully unaware of what is going on around them, or they just wait to find out if anything interesting happened when the latest Gazette comes out.
Those who were brave enough to ingest the red pill show up faithfully every two weeks and truly get involved in the meetings by using their voice.
Speaking up when it comes to the financial decisions councillors are making for where you live is very important. You have no right to get angry if Port Hardy decides to build a brand new pool and you weren’t there to argue against it.
Upset about your harbour rates being raised? Flood the council chambers and make your voice heard, like numerous Port McNeill/Hyde Creek residents did.
Also, town council is the best way to get informed about crimes going on where you live.
The local RCMP are always great about showing up for meetings and giving presentations. They update each area with quarterly reports, which give you the number of files they’ve opened and what the statistics are for their jurisdictions.
Sometimes council is just downright entertaining, especially when two councillors get into it over a topic they both feel passionately about. Usually this happens when certain amounts of taxpayer money is being thrown around.
I remember this one time, when Port Hardy Councillors Fred Robertson and John Tidbury went back and forth regarding money for youth soccer.
It was a hard-fought battle between the two, with Robertson coming back with motion after motion after motion, refusing to lie down and quit. It was truly a great moment between two spirited competitors.
Bottom line, go to your local council meetings. You will be surprised by what you learn.