A school board scandal in the making
Yesterday morning, the local president of the prince Geroge Distrct Teachers’ Association posted this:
Here’s the context, as reported by Will Peters at My Prince George Now:
Beauregard has recently been very critical of the board’s silence on members of the public criticizing SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identity) education, and other similar programs and topics, that the district is required to adhere to.
In a previous interview, Beauregard told My PG Now that it has gotten to the point where some LGBTQ+ teachers and staff are feeling “unsafe” working in the school district.
You can read about that and get the full context of this story here.
Beauregard has addressed these concerns to the board multiple times, through two letters and in person at last month’s board meeting.
To date, he has not received any response from the School Board or SD57.
However, today they did contact him – to inform him he will not be allowed to speak at tonight’s meeting.
Technically, this is in keeping with district policy, because:
Section 5.1.3 of chapter 7 of the board’s policy manual states:
“The Board Chairperson, or the chairperson of a committee, in consultation with Trustees, reserves the right to decline any request to make a formal presentation.”
However, given the context of what’s been going on and the fact this policy hasn’t really been enforced previously, folks aren’t too happy about this and both the previous union president and previous school board chair have weighed in:
To make matters worse, last night’s school board meeting was, for some reason, not streamed online as it has been in the past:
I tend to think Hanlon’s Razor is a pretty good rule to follow when it comes to figuring out why things like video feeds not working happeng at a local government level but it seems this is moving in the direction of a full-blown scandal if the board doesn’t start being a bit more transparent about what’s going on.
A chief ecologist for B.C.
I missed the first part of last night’s forestry forum when the mayor and union head spoke, but I caught the rest. It was interesting enough, though I’ve read and heard Ben Parfitt and Mike Morris’ view on things many times that nothing struck me as particularly new. This, though, was interesting:
I did see the feed was being record so I’ll post a link to it in a future newsletter when it comes my way.
Speaking of forestry…
Not a lot of headlines about the resource industry out of yesterday’s provincial budget, but this was the big one: The government is expecting the natural resources industry to collapse by just over half:
Revenues from forestry for 2023-24 are estimated to be $846 million, a 54-per-cent collapse from $1.9 billion in 2022-23.
The shift is a sign that B.C. needs to put a greater emphasis on mining and other growth areas of the economy, said Ken Peacock, chief economist for the Business Council of B.C., but “it takes a lot of growth in the smaller export sectors to make up for losses in forestry.”
Despite the extent the forest sector has shrunk, “it’s still B.C.’s largest export industry, though it struggles to hang on to that status,” Peacock said. “But you don’t hear government talk about it.”
The budget document’s material assumptions forecasts a timber harvest of 38 million cubic metres of timber in 2023-24, down from 39 million cubic metres in the previous budget.
And in an illustration of the overall industry’s decline, that 38 million cubic metres is down 61 per cent from a 62-million-cubic-metre harvest quoted in the 2016-17 budget document.
Should you shovel your roof?
I have been watching this nervously for a few days! As a former new-home-owner, I remember the same anxiety but was assured there was no need to get snow removed, I never have, and things seem fine. But I also have a sloped roof so idk! Google has opposite answers! Do you shovel your roof? Should you?
Speaking of snow…
This, again, feels like the right tone to me:
We heard you:
• Do not plow roads at night, it’s too noisy
• Do not plow the roads during the day, the trucks are in your way
• Do not plow the snow to the side of the road
• Do not plow the snow to the middle of the road
• Do not clear sidewalks before roads
• Do not clear roads before sidewalks (actually, we do them at the same time)
• Just give all roads one quick pass
• You only gave my road one quick pass – when will you finish it?
• Do not plow main roads before residential roads
• Do not drive the plows so slow
• Do not plow so fast that you leave a bit of snow behind
• Hire contractors to help (PS – we do)
• When will you do MY road?
• It stopped snowing an hour ago, why aren’t you here yet?
Thank you for your input. We know snow is frustrating and you just want it out of your way asap. We do too! We have over 1400 lane kilometers of roads to clear and we do it at about 10km per hour and then we slow down and do some zig zagging at driveways and intersections. It sure does take time!
Our crews are out working 24 hours a day. This IS our best!
Please be kind, give us room to work and maybe a nice wave (with all of your fingers, please).
We are hard core winter citizens! We will not cry. We laugh in the face of 60 cm of snow in less than a week! Ha Ha!
I can see how it won’t hit the mark for everyone but it’s transparent, admits things aren’t perfect and provides an explanation for why that is without being too snarky (it’s a little snarky but honestly if you’re complaining your road isn’t done within an hour you deserve it). Everyone’s gonna have an opinion on which roads are most important etc etc and there’s only so much that can be done. I’ll also admit that my standards are a lot different ever since living through the year that the city literally didn’t clear my street for multiple weeks, to the extent we had to park our car several blocks away and walk to it and the mayor just said people’s expecations were too high (she left office with very low popularity and the next administration had a sweeping review of snow clearing operations).
2022 saw Prince George issue 34 industrial build permits, up from 5 the year before.
The finance and audit committee is suggesting businses taxes stay stable.
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