Topic of council in Powell River concerns possible name change

Councilors from the town of Powell River discussed at length the correspondence relating to a possible renaming of the town and what is done with the letters once they are received.

During Committee of the Whole on February 1, Councilor Jim Palm said it had come to his attention that someone had sent a letter, but it did not appear in the latest correspondence update received by the advisers. He said the letter was in the correspondence counselors were reviewing that night.

“I just hope that in the future, in the future, all of these letters will be presented to someone, so that the public can see them all, not just a few,” Palm said.

He also wondered if confirmation was sent to all writers that correspondence had been seen at the council table.

General Manager Chris Jackson said responses were being sent. He added that it is important that if an adviser receives correspondence, that the staff also receives it, because sometimes people speak to a limited number of advisers, and not necessarily to the staff.

“Make sure you send it to us,” Jackson said. “It is better that we receive several copies rather than none. Everything about this topic, we bundle it up and make sure you get it, so it’s in the public record every month.

Councilor George Doubt said all councilors were getting emails. Some are copied to all members of council and others to one or two councillors, he added, and there is also an official civic address for people to send communications to the city.

“I think the intent is, if people send a piece of correspondence that they want on the agenda of the city council, they send it to the city,” Doubt said. “I know many advisers will send out requests to make sure things are on the agenda and recorded so people can have their say.”

The town’s email address is info@powellriver.ca.

Doubt said advisers have read all correspondence on the agenda.

“I don’t necessarily agree with all of them, but I read them and consider what they say in the decisions I make,” he added.

Elliott asks for patience

Councilor Cindy Elliott said she wanted to thank people for participating by sending in their concerns.

“I see there are a lot of concerns about the process for how we move forward; I think it’s because our process is quite slow compared to other processes that have taken place,” Elliott said. “We haven’t done any community engagement yet and we haven’t come to tell you about it yet. We are still looking for the best way to do this with some of the sensitive documents. We want to make comprehensive information available to people to digest through our community engagement.

“We want to work with the Tla’amin Nation to ensure that the information shared is appropriate. I have no intention of moving forward with the name change or figuring out what our next step is without a lot of community engagement. I want to go out and talk.

Elliott said she’s sorry the process is taking a long time and the reason people feel like they’re not being heard is because the committee looking into a possible name change isn’t responding to comments yet.

“I ask for patience,” Elliott added.

Mayor Dave Formosa said he’s heard from many people saying the name change is a done deal. He said Elliott gave a good reason why people hadn’t heard of a rollout for public engagement, which will be expanded.

Formosa said that when referring to the process, it should say “possible name change”.

“People are collectively saying, it’s a done deal, what’s the point?” Formosa added. “There will be extensive communications and education.”

Councilor Maggie Hathaway asked if incoming correspondence is shared with the committee formed to review the possible name change.

Administrative director Russell Brewer said he forwarded the correspondence, once it was on the public agenda, to consultants who were recently hired to work on the engagement.

The Committee of the Whole voted to receive the correspondence.

Jessica C. Bell