Photo Credit – Pawel Czerwinski of Unsplash

Photo Credit – Pawel Czerwinski of Unsplash

McQuarrie: Turning the talk into the walk

Two years of town council and still waiting.

Two years ago, voters had the opportunity to elect the people they thought best suited to represent them on Port McNeill town council.

Decisions were made on who might be up to the job and able to handle the stress. Who had the drive, knowledge, experience and ability to act and build upon the visions so grandly spoken of during the civic elections of 2018?

That was about 750 days ago and the big smiles, the door knocking, the speeches, the promises and of course the lawn signs are long gone. Like those promises, many appear forgotten or are tucked away on the back shelves of distant memories.

So, given this halfway mark, how are those who got your vote doing? Did they become doers of things or wafflers, unable to turn the talk into action?

Were the visions of the town they talked about just daydreams or something they truly believed in? Were sleeves rolled up as work got underway on these ideas or did committee meetings, studies and reports replace action?

To get a sense of what things looked like before this council was elected and what has been achieved since; I looked back to the Economic Development Plan of 2014 and the Official Community Plan (OCP) of 1997. Both items were not inexpensive studies and I wondered what had changed as a result of that long ago planning.

In 1997, the OCP established downtown revitalization as a priority saying, “The downtown core does not represent an attractive or aesthetic focal point for the community.” Today, 23 years later, the number one priority identified by residents is the need for a revitalized downtown core that is “user friendly.”

Over two decades later and with a new OCP underway and thousands of dollars being spent on consultants, residents are still asking for the same thing they did back in 1997.

And early indications suggest it is possible that history will simply continue to repeat itself.

Six years ago an economic development plan, commissioned and paid for by Port McNeill, pointed – amongst other things – to the immediate need for, “better access to medical services.”

With years to prepare, what strategies, alliances, support and concrete actions has council put in place to insure improved access is now available to local residents?

The Dec. 2 temporary closure and withdrawal of physician services at the Port McNeill Medical Clinic would suggest little has been done and the situation has worsened.

Where did the visionaries of 2018 go? Yes, there is a lot of mundane day-to-day work that civic politicians must deal with, but they knew that was part of the job going in and it is not an excuse to abandon the future.

Two years ago we listened to those wanting our vote describe their vision of where Port McNeill would be in the next two, five and even 10 years. Other than increased taxes, what is different today and what have those you elected two years ago personally done to contribute to the town’s growth and development?

Bill McQuarrie is a former publisher, photojournalist and entrepreneur. Semi-retired and now living in Port McNeill, you can follow him on Instagram #mcriderbc or reach him at

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