The Auditor General for Local Government (AGLG) report on the last District of Sechelt Council’s handling of the sewage treatment plant and the paving of Sandpiper, Mason and Heritage roads confirms that the citizens of Sechelt choose wisely in electing the current Mayor and Council.
Vindication of those who were justly critical of past closed-door processes is bitter sweet. Sechelt is still saddled with paying off the excess and unnecessary costs rung up. It is not yet clear that the sewage treatment plant is capable of producing quality effluent for safe ocean dispersal. We all hope it is.
Mayor Milne and Council are to be congratulated for their open acceptance of and commitment to implementing the recommendations of the AGLG report. Mayor Milne has said Sechelt needs to go even farther in improving governance procedures. Kudos!
This sordid chapter in Sechelt’s history points to other conclusions.
The Community Charter, the provincial legislation governing municipal and regional governments contains recommended practices and procedures for civic governments to fairly and openly represent their citizens. Its stellar failing is that it contains no enforcement mechanisms whatsoever. Citizens excluded by a rogue council are left with no option but to criticize, organize and wait until the next election to rectify the problem. This is not good enough!
The provincial government should take the lessons learned by the AGLG in their reviews of various municipal councils and amend the Community Charter. They should build in effective enforcement mechanisms available to citizens to enable effective mid-term actions to correct the conduct of elected officials up to and including an efficient recall procedure. Elected officials who understand they serve at the ongoing pleasure of the electorate and who know that they are subject to recall by that electorate are more apt to show respect for their citizens.