Local residents’ reactions are mixed at best. The District of Port Hardy’s mayor and council, thanks mainly to the Parks, Recreation, Arts and Culture Committee, have decided that it’s best to cover the costs for removing the windmill blade display project if it doesn’t pan out as expected.
The blade, which is out of commission, will be placed near Port Hardy’s welcome sign.
Port Hardy Rotary Club members Dale Dorward and Rick and Bill Milligan were asked at the committee of the whole meeting if they would set aside $5,000 into a fund in case the display would ever need taking down, but they rejected the idea.
Port Hardy Mayor Hank Bood stated that in the past the district has always taken on rotary’s projects and absorbed any occurring costs. Curiously, no historic examples were cited. It would be good to know what other projects have been put under the umbrella of the district.
If they have done this in the past, why are mayor and council still sticking to the status quo? It seems to be the guiding principle for Bood, as well as for councillors Pat Corbett-Labatt, Fred Robertson and Leightan Wishart – all of whom sit on the Parks, Recreation, Arts and Culture Committee.
They all unanimously agreed to “foot the bill”, as Tyson Whitney put it in his June 14 news article.
Decision-making such as this doesn’t necessarily warrant sticking to past precedence. The precedence being of course that it’s normal for the district to handle such issues by taking on full ownership. However, this didn’t need to be the case at all.
This was a unique opportunity to look at the project and evaluate its meaningful impact to the community – which seems to have little support as it stands – and then decide if they should take on the financial burden.
As with every project, especially in such a small, rural town such as ours, we need community input.
What happens if residents are unhappy with the display, especially now that people in town are becoming more aware of the issue and haven’t had the chance to give their input? We certainly don’t have a full idea of its reception when it goes on display.
This isn’t even bringing up questions of what the display will look like or what it entails.
Finally, what is the role of mayor and council on matters such as these? Do they have a duty or responsibility to take on these projects?
Generally, mayor and council are responsible for the direction of local policy, monitoring public funds and ensuring day-to-day operations are intact.
It’s curious that monies might have to be put aside as security for the project when it wasn’t really the district’s responsibility in the first place.
It makes me wonder – if mayor and council are willing to set aside as much as $30,000 if the blade ever needs taking down, then what else are they willing to commit residents’ tax dollars to in the future?
It comes down to whether this project is fiscally prudent – is it a good commitment of public funds?
I don’t want to seem harsh or unfair, because any chance of boosting our economy by attracting tourists is a good thing, but the project does bring up questions.
Do you like the idea of putting up the windmill blade on display on the corner of Highway 19 and the Bear Cover Highway?