Sides are getting het up – between the Save-the-Agricultural land reserve folks and those who would sell out to the Chinese school. As this contretemps is between 2 sets of small-L liberals, it might not reach quite the mud-slinging levels of the former Library Wars – though people ARE stomping out of council meetings throwing epithets over their epaulets as they go. Could be an interesting summer…
A deal between a Chinese group and the city of Powell River to establish a Chinese school here is in jeopardy because 30 acres of land, part of the offer to buy, is in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR). The deal, a long time in the making, was set to go but someone found that 6 acres of this ALR land is arable – it’s a strip along the highway where the school wants access. Now The Powers must decide whether to hang onto the 6 acres of bush for possible future farming should the need arise and nix the deal or to let the 6 acres go and seal the deal with the complete 30 acres guaranteed. The entire agreement is for approximately 150 acres of land owned by Powell River.
LAST WEEK’S TOON
Sorry, forgot to send out the toon last week! in light of the horrific wildfire in Alberta, and as we are surrounded by deep forest on 3 sides, it seems that an evacuation plan might be in order. But as we can’t get out of here by car except by ferry and as our small airport has been carved out of the forrest, we don’t actually have a workable plan.
After the first hue and cry, it was reported that our town was going to wait and see what other cities did about their medical marijuana dispensaries – but now, council and RCMP have decided to serve our 2 tiny dispensaries with a cease & desist notice – or major daily fines will be levied against them. They’ve both been forced to close. I don’t know if either will fight it in court.
At the same time, council tells us that because our one main industry, Catalyst, no longer pays their full property tax (after a deal was reached a few years ago to save them from bankruptcy), our ageing infrastructure is badly in need of fixing. More money will have to be found – hence property taxes will likely go up. Again. The mayor did say a year or more ago when there was talk that pot would be legalized, that he thought PR would be a good place to grow it.
Two medical marijuana dispensaries have opened store-fronts in town. The RCMP and town council seems to be opposed to these places. Business licences will not be forthcoming. (Meanwhile Vancouver has 90 + ‘medical weed’ store-fronts and cops and council turn a blind eye). It all just seems so petty to me – aren’t there more important concerns for police and council?? Ah well, if Justin has his way, all will be moot.
PS – I didn’t get a day off after all, publisher decided last week’s toon (2 guys reading newspaper, one about local treaty, other about suicide pacts on N. Ontario reserve) was fraught with too much – hmm, not sure. Always dicey doing Native toons but in the 20 yrs I’ve been cartoonist for paper, have yet to publish ONE! Strikes me as reverse racism. But he did suggest I might like to do colour this week – first time!! So that was fun!
On April 5th, the local Tla’amin Nation (formerly known as Sliammon) after 20 years in negotiation,became the 4th Native Nation to sign Treaty. I did the first toon last week which ran in the paper. This week, the suicide pacts in Attawapisik were all in the news, so I did the second toon (with editor’s ok). However, when newspaper deadline loomed, the publisher/editor decided it was too negative because the paper this week was almost entirely taken up with congratulatory articles/pics as the new Nation held various festivities to mark the occasion. In an unprecedented move, he decided to republish the first toon – second week in a row – and will publish the ‘suicide’ toon next week. Which is fine with me – I get a (paid) week off!! Yay.
‘Pebble in the Pond’, the environmental group in Powell River, has decided to disband the society in the wake of conflict-of-interest accusations levelled against their president, Judi Tyabji Wilson (and according to their own website, several other accusations towards the group in the past).
A number of very good people have been involved in this society and i hate to kick ‘em again when they’re down… still… Tyabji Wilson, somewhat of a PR Celeb, seems to gather pretty serious allegations wherever she treds.
You may remember Judi Tyabji Wilson – former MLA, former radio host, former Scarlet Woman (she stole Gordon (Flip) Wilson away from his wife and family) – they moved to Powell River after The Scandal and began sheep farming. She’s also involved in a number of local inititaves including being president of an environmental group, Pebbles in the Pond. This group applied for and received a provincial grant for over $150 000 to open a storefront (which closed after about a month, apparently still owing money to the landlord) and to teach 5 unemployed persons to cure sheep skins or something. She seemed the logical person to be in charge of this endeavour (ha) and received approximately $67 000 for the position while she was still president of the group. (She’s also known Christie Clark – BC Premiere) since they were both in their late teens and is currently writing a book about Christie. Oh joy.