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Time to chill-out in Lillooet municipal politics?
The political climate in Lillooet is beginning to resemble a Quentin Tarantino movie and if it continues down the same path it’s not – from a cinematic perspective – going to end much differently than most of his films.
In May, IntegrityBC called on the provincial government to appoint a conciliator in Lillooet, since then the situation has only deteriorated further through such acts as the use of a whistle by the CAO to control citizens at a public meeting, a polygraph, lawyers letters, open letters, and name calling.
“Taking potshots doesn’t help anyone or heal the community,” said IntegrityBC executive director Dermod Travis. “Everyone’s focus should be on finding a way out of the quagmire.”
IntegrityBC believes the first step in that process should be a metaphorical “ceasefire,” so local residents can then take the time to reflect and talk about issues, not personalities.
Residents and council should prioritize issues together, establish benchmarks for progress, and focus on them. Some differences in the community could likely be addressed simply through more effective communications.
Council should also foster some goodwill through reinstating public question period (as proposed by the Lillooet News), releasing all documents related to the water project, and retaining a mutually acceptable, independent expert to review the project and report back to the community.
While retaining an outside expert may be difficult for some at the District to swallow, local officials need to acknowledge that the distrust over the water project is now so palpable and the stakes so high that the cost of doing so is far outweighed by the benefit that will come from such an analysis.
“The road to reconciliation begins with small steps, but it also requires the recognition that difficult times demand magnanimous gestures,” said Travis. “This is one of those times.”
IntegrityBC fears that too much energy is being spent trying to affix blame and not enough on bridging differences.
This article is a press release from IntegrityBC.