Councillor Bill Bestwick
I fully expected to tune in to another gong show at city council given the referendum results. I anticipated seeing members of the public shaking some 'shame on you' fingers at council with suggestions they all hang their heads in shame and resign. Shouts of wasting massive amounts of taxpayer funds and staff time justifying calls of no confidence would not have been a surprise. A council trying to justify themselves and push back against the criticism would also come as no surprise.
To my pleasant surprise I think this council handled themselves admirably with their conduct and response to what has to be a bitter pill to swallow for this council. Their comments were sincere and showed a genuine desire to respect the wishes of the public and to perhaps come together as a more cohesive council to advance the interests of Nanaimo.
Councillor Kipp pointed out that much of the work done to advance the event centre included work on the Wellcox site which is money in the ground making the site development ready.
Councillor Yoachim explained the benefits that can accrue to this council if they follow some of the protocols used when members meet in the Longhouse. They leave their 'stuff' on a hook at the door when they enter, and even people who may be feuding enemies outside, will set that aside and get on with community business.
Councillor Hong publicly apologized for any offense he may have caused by some of his comments made in the heat of the moment stemming from his passion for the project. I am sure Councillor Hong grew in stature in many eyes with his honest apology.
Councillor Bestwick, the one with perhaps the most emotional capital in this whole event demonstrated clearly his capacity to accept the wishes of the public in a very mature and admirable manner. Bestwick explained with considerable passion why he feels so strongly about the community benefits such a facility can bring to the residents of Nanaimo. I think anyone thinking Bestwick's motives are anything other than altruistic are mistaken. Anyone having spoken with Bestwick about the benefits of sports as a character forming endeavour can't miss the true passion he expresses.
Some might view the contrition being expressed by council members as the beginning of campaigning for the 2018 election. This humble scribe however, sees it as a genuine sign that members of this council are growing into their roles as leaders of the community and I look forward to what they are able to accomplish in the following months.
To the Council Critics (of which I used to be Chief) I would say 'put the swords away', give this council some time to reach their full potential of which they are admirably demonstrating themselves capable.