Last night he did as he had promised to do and persisted in asking this new council to reverse a decision made in 2018 that barred Water Councillors from sitting at all local government meetings in Oliver.
A motion was made and seconded by the Water Councillor Parm Sidhu to reverse the decision and then discussed briefly before being deferred until a meeting in February.
Machial was emotional in stating that he was an adult, his fellow councillor was an adult but they were being treated like children bullied in the school yard.
Points he made:
1. Much of the decision making of council is for a large water utility and many non-water related issues are affected by the supply of water
2. The local government act allows for permission to be granted for some people to be allowed at all meetings of council
3. His investigation and discussions with water councillors in Osoyoos has determined that they are not and never have been told to leave the meeting as is the new practice in Oliver
4. The legal arguments presented last year on meeting procedures was the opinion of one lawyer and not tested in court nor consistent with the Order in Council that broke up SOLID in 1990
5. The council is wrong in discussing the issue behind closed doors when it affects governance of the water utility
6. That he felt uncomfortable being in this position and would not appreciate it for four years. Machial said it was not the atmosphere that would be conducive to cooperation on some very important and large financial decisions that require unanimous approval.
Machial did admit to making some comments over the years on non-water matters but insisted he lived in the community as well and having different opinions was good. He admitted some of the comments may have rankled some feathers but in the 28 years – no one challenged the participation of water councillors.
Other councilors reacted by saying that they were considering the statements of Machial but had not reached a decision yet. Mayor Martin Johansen stated that an answer could be made sometime in February. Councillor Dave Mattes said the discussion was in-camera as it was based on a legal opinion sought by the last council. Councillor Larry Schwartzenberger stated that it was unfinished business and he moved to defer the motion for up to 4 weeks. Councillor Petra Veintimilla said she appreciated the comments of Councillor Machial but would not agree to vote on it at the meeting Monday.
The legal decision was published in Oliver Daily News and a number of public discussions took place initiated by the incumbent water councillors Andre Miller and Machial in late 2018. Even the decision to seek a legal opinion was held in private without consulting water councillors.
It was the opinion of former Mayor Ron Hovanes that he and a number of his fellow council members had concerns about water councillors talking about issues before council that did not involve water matters.