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COMMENTARY · 8th August 2011
Merv Ritchie
At City Council today, Monday, August 8, the Terrace and District Chamber of Commerce (TDCC) will be presenting the results of their poll on the need for a full time Mayor. The Chamber is reporting almost 70% of respondents stated they thought Terrace should have a full time mayor. This is in stark contrast to an online poll posted a week ago, July 30, which shows over 60% do not feel Terrace needs a full time Mayor.

Neither of these polls are scientific however the difference is curious. The online poll offered suggestions as to the amount a full time Mayor should be paid and the highest figure received the most number of votes by those who believed in the position being paid.

In a manner similar to the HST referendum one would need to consider the type of audience who would take the time to go online and vote or participate in the Chamber vote. It would appear from these quite opposite results, the polled audience is very different.

With the mail in HST ballot, the complexity and the instructions almost excludes 25% of the voting public. It is about this rate that cannot read at a capacity to follow the instructions properly and further they may not have even opened the envelope initially seeing it as junk mail. Likely this same type of person had not even heard of the Chamber poll and may never go online.

Neither of these polls should be considered as evidence of anything such an important a decision should be based on. What must be considered is the slant of the organization conducting the poll itself. Carol Fielding, the Chambers Executive Director, claimed this difference was likely due to their members, primarily business owners, are more associated with the BC Liberals while the online poll, the Terrace Daily readers, are more aligned with the NDP. We disagree with this assessment. The Terrace Daily simply allows for all points of view to be expressed and these are clearly more reflective of the general population, which curiously elected NDP representatives in both the Provincial and Federal elections. It would appear the Chamber is completely out of step with the general population.

It might be interesting to review some of the other community initiatives supported by the Chamber.

Previously the Chamber promoted the concept of purchasing the old Co-op building as a great investment opportunity. It also publically supported the HST without actually polling their membership. The Chamber was behind the embarrassing episode of the destruction of the Terrace Tourism Society, the forerunner to Kermode Tourism.

The Chamber unanimously supported David Pernarowski as their President after he lost his job as Manager of the local Scotia Bank. This unfortunate termination was again due partially to the Chambers initiative to dismantle the Terrace Tourism Society and the City’s selection of Pernarowski to facilitate this effort.

With these historical events and various other initiatives of the Chamber, the results of their efforts may not ultimately prove to be in the best interests of the City.

The Chamber is promoting the full time paid Mayor concept and has even suggested Terrace might attract a better Mayoral candidate if it was a full time paid position. This is an interesting claim as it was Chamber members who supported Mayor Pernarowski during the last municipal election, according to the previous Mayor, Jack Talstra. Talstra also states the Chamber is attempting to claim they had nothing to do with the purchase of the Co-op even though we have Councillor Christiansen on video at the last Municipal election clearly stating it was the Chamber of Commerce that pushed the City into purchasing the building.

Therefore tonight will be an interesting meeting. The City will be deciding to spend about $250,000 to demolish this “great investment opportunity” and the Chamber will be presenting their proposal to fund a full time Mayor, presumably one they will be able to influence to carry out more of these ‘great’ ideas. The City will also be debating the request from the Friends of Shames and My Mountain Co-op to directly invest in the Ski Hill west of Terrace. The request is for $200,000.
Comment by James Ippel on 8th August 2011
So 25% of the people cannot understand the question on the ballot? How come? As Mr Peters has stated, his twelve year old understands it, so why not supposedly intelligent educated adults. We must accept that education is not only formal schooling, but education learned through living, reading, watching TV news, and reading newspapers.
I have a real problem with the" delivery" of the ballots. Two voters in one household, and only one receives a ballot when both are on the voters list. How many did the Postal Service lose. They often lose my weekly magazine, or my neighbours, but never both of us at the same time.
As for deceased people receiving ballots; Can Service Canada not notify the Elections people that someone had died. They are both in Victoria, or is that not in their "job description"? Their offices are in all probability side by each.
As for a full time mayor-not the way to go. Terrace is not large enough to support a paid position for full time mayor. We have no tax base to speak of, and the only way to change this is to entice big industry to locate here. In some cases it may be smelly, but money does smell. Just drive into Prince George and smell the money.
Enbridge would not smell as all the Oil would be in a pipeline or huge storage containers. Bring in a Pellet Mill and you will have a dust problem. Bring in a Bio Coal plant and you will have smell. If you want the good life without smell go live in the bush a 100 miles from nowhere, and even then I am sure you will find fault with somekind of smell.
25% ?
Comment by Mr. Peters on 8th August 2011
So you think that the "complexity and the instructions" regarding the HST ballot would exclude 25% of the voting public? If this is truly the case, it is not a bad thing. Those instructions which you claim to be complex, my 12 year old would have no problem reading and understanding them. If this group of people are incapable of reading these simple instructions then they like wise are not intelligent enough to make an informed decision about what they are voting on.
Comment by Don Bruce on 8th August 2011
I like to consider myself a conservationist. That said I am opposed to tearing down a sound building. The old Co-Op building looks like a movie studio to me. Imagine that. Crazy? Perhaps,but I haven`t heard a better one yet. Full time mayor? Sure, if he/she demonstrated ability to gather benefits to the community in any significant way other than inviting Enbridge and other stinky polluting corporations to move in. d.b.