PORT HARDY—The question of charitable contributions led to a rare split vote in Council Chambers last week at the Port Hardy Council meeting.
Councillors were unanimous in turning down a request from the Children’s Wish Foundation, but a similar request from the Wounded Warrior Run BC sparked discussion at the table.
In correspondence, Art Brochu of Children’s Wish informed council of plans to leave from Port Hardy in May 2014 on a fundraising cycle across Canada. Brochu requested support or a donation from council towards the cause.
Staff clarified that a $1,000 Grant in Aid fund was available within the budget, but the councillors agreed that, while they would support the cause through publicizing the event on the District website, a monetary donation from the fund would not be appropriate.
“It’s a great project,” cain Coun. Janet Dorward, “we can support it individually but I don’t think we can use taxpayer money.”
During New Business Coun. Rick Marcotte brought forward the Wounded Warrior Run, a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder fund- and awareness-raising event which left the North Island last weekend. After confirming council representation at the event send-off, Coun. Marcotte proposed a $100 donation to the organizers and received a second from Coun. Debbie Huddlestan.
Coun. John Tidbury spoke against the motion saying, “I’m sorry, I think it’s a great cause but I think it’s the same as what we’ve just turned down.”
Coun. Marcotte defended the motion, saying that in his opinion they were different causes and that the veterans represented by the Wounded Warrior event deserved support after defending their country.
Deputy Mayor Jessie Hemphill called for a vote on the donation motion, which was defeated 3-2 with Coun. Tidbury, Dorward and Nikki Shaw against and Coun. Marcotte and Huddlestan for.
Mount Waddington Health Network Food Security Coordinator Leslie Dyck appeared as a delegate at last week’s council meeting to update councillors on the Food Security and Community Engagement Project.
Dyck gave a brief outline of the project, defining food security and the steps involved in developing a regional food security plan.
By examining the availability, stability, accessibility and utilization of food resources Dyck explained the short-, medium- and long-term visions for the project’s development including investigations into the feasibility of a food security hub on the North Island.
“There’s still a lot of work to be done,” cautioned Dyck. Despite considerable interest in moving towards the hub model, councillors heard that development could take between one and two years before coming to fruition.
Council were advised that they could help by: identifying potential stakeholders and partnerships; helping with the development of a food atlas; supporting workshops and events; and, by identifying policies that the District of Port Hardy would support.
Councillors enquired whether Dyck was looking into access to fresh fish or farmers’ markets on the North Island. Dyck confirmed that both were topics that came up time and again in discussions and that both were being examined for inclusion in the food security action plan. “People often ask about farmers’ markets,” said Dyck. “It would be something I can definitely see the food hub getting behind… there’s lot’s of potential there.”
Coun. Tidbury brought up the recent spate of wolf sightings during New Business and requested that staff be directed to “find out what is happening from the Conservation Officer Service.”
The motion reignited discussion on the COS’s controversial zoning system which sees ‘North Island’ officers stationed in Black Creek.
“I really think they need to post someone up here,” said Coun. Dorward. “Courtenay is too far away.”
The COS issued a warning last week to residents after a series of sightings and pet attacks in recent weeks. On Feb. 4 a wolf was destroyed by COS and RCMP officers after a pet dog was killed at a Storey’s Beach residence.
“We’re just fortunate no one has been hurt,” said Coun. Dorward. “So far,” said Coun. Tidbury.