PORT McNEILL—They may be off enjoying summer vacation now, but a group of Grade 5 students left a lasting impression on council with their presentation in chambers last month.
The students, members of Jen Lok’s class at Sunset Elementary School, read from a prepared script and utilized both custom-designed and Bear Smart posters to lobby council for a bylaw to separate the town’s garbage and potential problem bears.
“In 2010, we gave first reading to a (garbage) bylaw, 618-2010, and it’s currently sitting there at first reading,” coun. Gaby Wickstrom said. “I’d like to make a motion to give this first reading once again and, if there’s a seconder to that motion, I’d like to encourage us to all take a look, read through it, make some suggestions and place it on the next agenda so we can give it further readings.”
Though only half of current council was in place when the bylaw first came up, it received a favourable response.
“I’m prepared to second that. I remember that bylaw when it came through,” said coun. Shirley Ackland, who along with Wickstrom is the only other returnee from that 2010 council. “I think that grade 5 class did a tremendous job of research and I think it would be a real encouragement for them to see the process through. That you forward a bylaw, you review it, you have a look at it. And, if it’s something we can support, that shows them the full circle of creating a bylaw.”
Wickstrom also suggested approval would send a clear message to the students, that they could speak to council, regardless of their age, and have their voices heard.
“I think that would be huge for them,” Wickstrom said.
Mayor Gerry Furney noted he had written a letter to the class following the presentation in June by Lok and students Koen Sharpe, Callista Stuckless, Rebecca Hill, Abbie Mohan, Macey Guldager and Camryn Stanley.
“I was impressed by the tone of their presentation, and the quality,” he said. “And thought they need to be encouraged a bit. I’m not sure how many locking garbage cans Glen (Boyd, public works manager) has bought, but he has probably exceeded his budget, if I know Glen.”
Woss request considered
An unusual request from the hamlet of Woss for a contribution from the Town of Port McNeill was given consideration.
Mary-Ann Cheetham, coordinator of the annual Woss slo-pitch tournament scheduled for July 26-28, requested any donation the Town might consider, whether cash, tournament supplies or an item for its raffle or prize tables.
Cheetham said Port McNeill was approached because Woss has no local businesses to support the tourney, a joint fundraiser for the local volunteer fire department and the recently formed Recreation Commission.
Asked about any precedent for contributing to the Woss tourney, Town administrator Sue Harvey noted this was the first such request.
Mayor Furney supported the request without qualification, noting the support of the Nimpkish Valley logging community in the vote for — and funding of — the local ice arena, and its fire department’s key role in highway safety between Port McNeill and Sayward.
Coun. Wickstrom, cautioning against budget limitations, suggested a boat launch pass for the raffle table. Coun. Ackland said she considered the launch and parking passes or a pass to the town’s swimming pool, but noted in mid-July, that did not leave much time for the winner to make use of the prize.
Furney said he wouldn’t want to offer anything less than a $200-300 value, and coun. Chris Sharpe broke the impasse by suggesting Harvey draft a note to the Woss rec commission asking precisely what it was requesting. Furney additionally noted he would be speaking with Area D Director Dave Rushton of Woss at the following day’s Regional Distric of Mount Waddington Board of Directors meeting, and would touch base with Rushton on the group’s needs.
In the end, council agreed to share information via email and, ideally, make a decision via email. It would then formalize any action taken through an official motion at the next council meeting in August, following the Woss tournament.