Westward Independent

Director Acton’s Mockery Reveals the Hypocrisy Behind CVRD’s Civility Complaints

by Westward Independent
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In the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD), A concerning narrative is unfolding—one where the line between governance and public discord is increasingly blurred. Recent board meetings have highlighted a stark division: directors encasing themselves in proverbial ivory towers while casting the community as the unruly mob at the gates.

The directors’ recent lamentations about rising incivility seem less about addressing the root causes and more about deflecting criticism. It’s an old dance in politics: when the heat of public scrutiny intensifies, retreat and reframe the narrative. This strategy was on full display during a regular board meeting on April 24, 2024, where the directors discussed everything from public engagement to their own experiences at a regional conference.

A striking moment came when Director Acton, mirroring the very incivility she critiqued, mocked a community member’s concerns about fiscal responsibility. Her portrayal—complete with a derisive imitation of the constituent’s voice—was not just in poor taste but also illustrative of the broader disconnect. Here was a display of the very disdain for public input that might just be fueling the flames of discontent. Specifically, Director Acton said, “Oh the cost and, oh that’s a nice way to spend our tax dollars,” mimicking the person’s concern in a scornful tone.

This spectacle of irony brings to light a larger issue of authenticity within the CVRD. Directors claim the toxicity of constituents has stopped them from attending events like the UBCM meetings for fear of backlash, yet they do not hesitate to mimic and deride these very constituents in public settings. This selective sensitivity suggests that their claims of being deeply hurt by public incivility might be more about grandstanding than genuine concern. It appears that behind closed doors, the disdain for public input persists, unmasked and unapologetic.

The issues at the heart of the public’s unrest are substantive and multi-faceted. They range from concerns over tax expenditures and developmental policies to the pressing demands of environmental stewardship. Yet, the board’s response has been to paint these civic expressions as nothing more than baseless uproar rather than symptoms of deeper policy misalignments.

The CVRD’s defensive posture is more than just a public relations misstep; it is a missed opportunity to genuinely engage with the community’s concerns. Instead of barricading themselves, the directors might consider aligning their actions more closely with community values—a move that would likely quell the tide of dissatisfaction rather than compound it.

In an era where civic engagement is more critical than ever, the CVRD would do well to remember that transparency, accountability, and respect for public input are not optional extras but the very foundations of effective governance. The path forward should be paved with these principles, not with condescension and mockery. After all, a little humility and a lot of honest conversation could be the key to transforming contentious board meetings into productive civic dialogues.

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