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RANT: Speaking of garbage ...

I have, in my political writing in Castlegar, only ever publicly called out one person. One. He reciprocated at length (and good on him, fair is fair).

I say what I like in my personal dealings, but I often silence myself and rarely speak to any one candidate in any election or any individual in any issue when speaking as The Source. Being silent, bar press releases, during the federal election was physically painful for me, but I did it, because it wasn’t my place to speak. I declined to speak to the relative merit of our mayoral candidates because, again, fair is fair. I am not objective, but I try my guts out to be balanced and fair.

In this case, on this issue, I simply have no choice, because he signed his name to it. I am speaking to the online petition you can see here http://www.thepetitionsite.com/en-ca/957/129/625/demand-city-of-castlegar-garbage-collection-stays-at-once-a-week-pickup/

“The City of Castlegar has APPROVED changes to residential garbage pick up.

“Starting in April 2016, garbage pickup will change to once every second week. We are against this change, and demand it stays at once a week.

“The city has approved $500,000 to pay for large "Bear Resistant" garbage containers that will be provided free of charge to all residents.

“Further, something needs to be done to improve public consultation numbers before implementing such major changes.”

This is one of the most repugnant things I have ever seen, and I’m shocked it’s getting any kind of attention from residents. Tyler, the author of the petition, came to me before running (and being soundly defeated) in his first election, asking my advice. I thought it was neat that someone so young was engaging. I was scrambling to keep up with my own responsibilities, but offered my time anyway, and told him the best thing he could do was show up: Show up at council meetings, show up at public events. He took my time but not my advice. From my perspective (and I DO show up, so I know who was there and who wasn’t), he stayed home and has, for years, taken cheap shots online at council and media instead, and this is more of the same. I was at the solid waste public consultation, so I say with some authority that he was not. He never showed up. He, like you, had the option – the ample opportunity – to weigh in BEFORE the decisions were made.

But, true to form, he didn’t bother, so far as I can see – but instead waited until the decisions were made to start attacking those who made them.

There was an online survey, a public meeting, paid-for advertising (to be clear, the city paid for advertising, not support, as is right and proper in this regard). I wrote more than one story, so did the Castlegar News and the GOAT – anyone who says there was no public consultation is flat-out lying. We practically begged people to care about this issue. Whether you chose to participate or not is on no one but you.

In my opinion, he wants you to believe the only issue at work here is garbage pick-up.

I can only pray that you are neither that naïve nor that stupid. The solid waste plan is a comprehensive, multi-faceted approach to the challenges of the New Millennium. It sets in motion avenues that will allow some residents to stop calling our Conservation Officers murderers, and instead allow the COs (as they are not now) non-lethal options in dealing with bears. They’re not killing these bears for sport, they have no choice, and this plan is the first step in allowing them a choice, which is why I support it.

This plan speaks to recycling, landfills, wildlife interaction, cost management – the pretense it is only about garbage pick-up is not just bad governance, it’s a stone cold lie.

Anyone who showed up knew that there were months of discussion, months of opportunity to weigh in, months of chances to be a part of this decision. Anyone who read the newspaper – online or in print – knew it.

To decline to be a part of the process that led to the decision, then to ask residents to slam the decision when it’s too late because the decision is already made?

It’s sloppy, lazy, cheap politics. We’re watching it in the States and have no say about it. But I do have a say here, and I hope none of us opt in to this vile way of doing business. Or, actually, NOT doing business, because these politics of hate prevent any kind of positive action at all.

Rant over.