Councillor Richard McLaren’s motion to discuss the contents of the slides the Mayor Joanne Monaghan spoke to at the Northern Development Initiative Trust Conference
came forward at the Committee of the Whole Meeting on February 1st. Monaghan referred to it as the infamous slides. Councillor Mario Feldhoff declared conflict and Monaghan joked about wishing she could do the same.
“Last week, during a debate on my motion to discuss Slides 21 and 22, I stated that KTIDS as a private organization has the right to make whatever proposals they want to whomever they want, including the subject matter of slides 21 and 22. Last week, our Municipal Manager correctly pointed out to us that the Mayor has the right to say whatever she wants to whomever she wants, and that includes speaking to slides 21 and 22 in a presentation. But I would like to respectively request that Councillors have rights too, and among those rights are the right to address their concerns in council, the right to point out that council was not involved with slides 21 and 22 in any way and the right to express their regrets that they did not have the opportunity to be informed of the focal content of the Mayor’s presentation before it was made,” said McLaren.
McLaren expressed the Council had exercised it’s rights the previous week by speaking to their views on the situation. “We have made the point and it is now time to move on,” stated McLaren. “If this council is going to work, we are going to need to have better communication with each other. Especially in a timely manner.”
He asked for further comments from the Council. Monaghan was not ready to move on from the issue just yet. “I would prefer that if you have something that you do not like, that you put it In Camera,” said Monaghan.
She read a letter aloud from an individual from Japan who was advised against pursuing investment in Kitimat until the council can conduct business more professionally. The individual has been keeping tabs on Kitimat through the Kitimat Daily Online Website citing it as the easiest source of goings on in Kitimat.
“Who wants to invest in an area when the Council has too much in fighting?” asked the writer. “It has been Councils' fighting which is being published which is damaging Kitimat’s international image.”
The writer expressed being stunned by what was being printed and stated both the City Council and the Kitimat Daily are doing a lot of damage to Kitimat in the eyes of the Asian investors. The writer hoped this would change before further investment opportunities were lost.
Monaghan also had a letter from Kitimat Terrace Industrial Development Society explaining how they had received the information for the presentation. This letter was not read.
McLaren had nothing further to say contrary to an earlier statement which was withdrawn. “I am very disappointed that the Mayor does not show any empathy towards councils' feelings on this matter. I communicated with all the councillors here, and with yourself and told everybody exactly what I was going to say tonight, because I did not want anybody to be ambushed or to feel that they were being hard done by and I’m so sorry that you didn’t feel it was appropriate to share that letter with us before hand,” said McLaren.
“Well, I have to tell you, I feel like I was ambushed last week so I guess…” said Monaghan.
McLaren interrupted to say he sent out two emails in the past week so Mayor and Council would understand his position.
“I also said that I would prefer to have it in camera that we could discuss it and it came out in public so I guess we’ll put the matter to rest and move on to the next…”
Councillor Randy Halyk stated he thought Council should put this matter to rest. He addressed the concern the Mayor spoke to as something Council had not been aware of and this was what the problem was. He explained this had been expressed at the last meeting.
“You can say what ever you want… obviously,” said Monaghan. She added one of those item she spoke about in the slide presentation had come up in the meeting the Council had with Pat Bell and the Economic Development groups earlier in the day at Kitimat Valley Institute. Feldhoff returned to the chambers and Council moved on.