LETTER:Reader appreciates effort to examine size of council

First of all, I have never met the Councillor from Hillier, but I do want to applaud his desire for tackling an issue that will test his patience and steel – that being reviewing the size of Council.

He will soon discover who his friends are at Shire Hall and who are not – hopefully he doesn’t care and places the needs of this community first. The number of councillors is still far too many and a needless expense – not to forget a hindrance to good decision-making.

The reluctance to decrease the size of PEC council has been one issue that has defied logic for many years – whether it was 16 or the more recent Council manipulated 14, the community’s desire for a smaller council continues to go ignored. Whether it be the direction given by the 2013 Council appointed Citizen’s Assembly, the 80 per cent support shown in the 2010 public plebiscite, the Council requested survey, or the original Council Committee of the early 2000’s to investigate the size of council – while all input showed that the community wanted a dramatic downsizing in the number of councillors – the council of the day ignored it – it was their game to play, not ours.

The most recent effort to address council size came with the 2015 Council Survey.The public were asked to choose from a number of proposed solutions of ward and council compositions or to submit their own idea. Town staff gathered the results and reported back to Council with their recommendations.

What needs to be understood is staff recommended model chosen by Council at their “in camera meeting” was defeated by the same council at the public meeting.The one adopted by Council came in last in the public survey. It was a model the public did not want. Once again, Councillors saved most of their jobs and ignored all public input. Many of these same councillors can still be found grazing at Shire Hall today. The reality is that a community of 25,000 – even one with the geographic size of PEC does not require 14 councillors.

There are models that can maintain the 10 historic wards, and also significantly reduce the number of councillors, plus saving taxpayers a lot of money. We can be represented just as well and I believe have better and less complicated decision-making with fewer councillors. There are communities larger than ours with far fewer councillors and they seem to work just fine. Our community needs a council that places the people of PEC first.

I want to support Councillor Braney in his efforts and I hope you do too!


Dennis Fox