Christy Clark is not the only thing that comes to mind when talking about bad politics and slim margin vote results – Mayor Kevin Acton and his council are right up there too. The decision to go ahead with a prison bid for the village of Lumby has created a rift in the community that has some people wondering how Lumby will ever recover.
Despite a very slim margin of approval inside the village boundaries( 6%), and a majority opposition vote in the surrounding Area D, city officials forged ahead with the bid,a decision that is questionable by many more familiar with big city politics. In larger cities, it is highly unlikely any politician would move ahead on a contentious proposal with only a 6% margin of approval.
In Lumby, the fallout has been harsh, with many pro-prison supporters using bully behavior against those in the community who do not want a correctional centre in town. Comments under the breath, open hostility and aggressive confrontations have become a regular occurence in this tiny village, which remains divided.
Although I have made the offer for any prison supporter to comment or give their side and opinions here on the blog, none have done so. I contacted city officials with questions and they have not responded. And interestingly enough, when I submitted a freedom of information request to the village requesting records and communications specifically relating to the meetings between Mayor Kevin Acton, Kash Heed, Gordon Campbell and other provincial officials, I was told none existed or could be located.
So where does this gorgeous village go from here? I spoke to Randy Rauck, spokesperson for the Lumby Concerned Citizens, and he had this to say:
“We were just informed, by a reliable source, that a decision will be reached by the end of June so we have started a letter writing campaign to make sure our concerns are given due consideration by the decision makers.
The majority of our whole community has said no to a prison and we believe that if the Mayor would have been bold enough to make this a binding vote, many more NO supporters would have shown up within the village and this bad idea would be all behind us now.
I also believe that the large majority of the prison supporters do not fully understand the long term consequences of their prison support actions on our now friendly and safe little community.”
I don’t know if mayor and council seriously considered what effect it would have on the village to continue with this bid on such a slim margin of approval – I honestly don’t think they see anything but the promise of grants in lieu hosting such a facility would bring to the village coffers.
What I do know, is that these village officials have not only a fiscal responsibility to the voters within the village boundaries, but also a moral one to the community as a whole – and that includes the residents of Area D. By ignoring the “NO” vote of such a large number of residents who live,work and shop within the village boundaries, village officials may already have caused more damage to the social fabric of Lumby with the mere idea of a prison, than a real one might have down the road.