I understand the sentiment, really, but the idea that whenever something impacts your community, you send a delegation off to Victoria to meet with Minister-such-and-such, doesn’t sit comfortably with me.

This time, it’s the forestry jobs, 15 of them that have been cut from the staff of 60 in the Castlegar office, and part of a provincial workforce adjustment of 204. I’m all for people working, I’m sad to hear of job cuts, but equally, if the industry is not performing as it was a couple of years ago, maybe these cuts are somewhat justified.

“We’re going to Victoria specifically to speak to this,” [the Mayor] said. “We’re disappointed and we really think we need to talk to the minister directly to try to find a resolution”.

Source: Castlegar Source – Forest Minister to hear Castlegar’s Concerns

The Mayor and two councillors are heading off to Victoria, it’s not just for one day either, as you can’t fly from Castlegar to Victoria return in one day on Air Canada – so there will be a cost for accommodation as well. Looking at the cost of flights at the moment, it is likely that this will cost the City in the order of $4000 – for what will likely amount to a one hour meeting. What’s wrong with a phone call?

How the province manages its workforce is its business and they are making decisions based on levels of service across the board. I guess everyone knows that the province is wrestling with a stupendous budget deficit, not all their decisions are likely to be popular.

If council wants to send a message to Victoria, does it need to be in person? As far as I can tell, these positions across the province have vanished, is it likely that there will be a reversal of a decision for Castlegar? As I said at the beginning – I understand the sentiment; job cuts always seem unjust, even more so in small communities. I don’t expect council to sit back and watch their community shrink, and I appreciate the solidarity they are displaying toward these families. I’d like to think there must be a good reason why a phone call would not suffice.

Published by Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of UrbanWorkbench.com and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada.