Port Hardy Council heard about the future of the town’s past last week as Port Hardy Museum curator Jane Hutton appeared as a delegate to give an update on events and activities at the museum.
Hutton invited councillors to attend the opening of the museum’s newest temporary exhibit April 20 as it unveils its “Changing Times in Holberg” collection.
Exploring Holberg’s colourful and varied past, Hutton hopes the exhibit will, “educate visitors who have no clue there was ever anything else to Holberg besides the Scarlet Ibis,” she explained to laughs from the council.
The exhibit will run throughout the summer and the public is also invited to attend the opening celebration from 1-4 p.m. Apr. 20.
Hutton also told council that the museum has taken on new employees, one on a short-term basis through the NIEFS Skills for Success program.
In addition, council heard that the museum hosted a pair of local authors in the past year, while the gift shop continues to grow, building on a good working relationship with other businesses.
“We’ve had what we think of as a very successful year,” said Hutton.
The councillors commended Hutton on the work she has done at the museum, Mayor Bev Parnham noting the museum has become, “almost like another visitors’ centre.”
Towns without people
Councillors discussed the contentious issue of towns without people after receiving correspondence from Gerry Taft, the mayor of Invermere.
The issue arose in response to the formation a municipality at Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort, a planned mountain resort close to Invermere.
Taft requested support for a resolution seeking the involvement of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities in a judicial review of the constitutionality of the municipality’s creation.
As a planned resort, the municipality was formed despite the town not having a single resident. The resolution expresses concern over the precedent of allowing a municipality to be created without a voting public to elect its members, saying that the existence of unelected councils “threatens democratic principles and the credibility of local governments.”
Coun. Janet Dorward expressed concern that “changing legislation could quash economic development.”
Coun. Jessie Hemphill explained that the resolution is “not looking for a change of legislation, just enforcement of the current rules.” She further clarified that the District of Invermere was not trying to stop the resort project, but is concerned about the process by which the mayor and council were appointed.
Mayor Parnham said the issue was a lack of consultation with First Nations, the Regional District and others. “What that’s saying to local government is that land-use decisions can be made without your input. It begs a lot of discussion.”
Councillors voted to support the resolution.
Councillors gave approval to the Rotary Club of Port Hardy’s request for permission to host the RCMP Musical Ride this August at Storey’s Beach.
Coun. Dorward, chair of the Rotarian group hosting the event, recused herself from discussions to avoid any potential conflict of interest, but was called back in minutes later as the remaining councillors needed little debate on the topic.
The Rotary Club requested use of the District’s facilities by the beach and the use of barriers to restrict beach access to ticket holders during the event, slated for 4-7 p.m. on Aug. 7, the motion passing unopposed.