From: Hart Buckendahl
I read with disbelief the article about council not allowing the water aldermen to be present at council meetings as in the past.
Over the years I have refrained from any comments or interference in council matters even though politics gets into your blood and at times you itch wishing you were still there. Around 1989 council asked for support from the provincial government to get grants to bring sewer and water to the Rockcliffe and Tuc-el-nuit areas. As a result SOLID was dissolved and two water aldermen became part of council to represent the rural and Oliver community in any matters that had to do with water.
Since the inception of the new structure the water aldermen (whom I believe have never changed in those 28 years) have shared the council table with the Aldermen and Mayor for the town of Oliver. In my years on council and in future years there has never been an issue and more often then not there is a benefit to have the input that represents the broad community.
Why in the world would we mess with something that works.
If the lawyer says that the present structure is not correct and there is a benefit for the two members to be present to see the big picture to help make decisions then possibly we should change the rules. Giving them the boot from the council table after 28 years is a slap in the face and totally unnecessary.
If another lawyer was asked for an opinion with the expression from the writer that you want the answer that water aldermen can be present I am sure there is a way to make that work. After all these years of working together in harmony with the rural area, town and First Nations and having great results with growth in all areas why would we want to change a good thing.
This is a step backwards and certainly not showing good faith in working as a single team. You certainly would not see this kind of thing happen in private industry. Let us hope this can have a second look before it is too late. There will be consequences. Just my take on things.
Editor’s Note: Buckendahl served as Village Alderman under Mayor Dick Topping, later becoming Village Mayor, expanding the village into Town status. He received the Order of BC and continues to work as a major residential and commercial builder in the South Okanagan.