This past Monday, I was part of a solid majority* of Coquitlam Council members who voted in favour of a series of recommendations from our Parks, Recreation and Culture Department that, foremost among many measures, will see the amalgamation of Coquitlam curling with the Port Moody club. Here is part of the speech I made in explanation of my decision:
|A large audience that attended Council on Monday.|
As well, the volume of communication certainly underlines the importance of the decision we will make tonight – a decision that must be made not just for the benefit of curlers and skaters but also for the benefit of the wider community to whom council is ultimately responsible.
Also noteworthy is the fact that the curling-amalgamation plan has developed into the Number-One issue of the year. This certainly speaks to the high level of well-being we have in this community. We are extremely fortunate to live in a place where the sort of problems that ravage so many other parts of the world simply don’t exist. This gives us the luxury to spend time and effort on things like our sport and recreation policies.
This is not to diminish the passion and interest that the curling community has shown over the past several weeks, but I mention this in order to more properly frame the issue—an issue which is ultimately about how best and how fairly to allocate resources among a prosperous populace.
It was the great Irish statesman and orator Edmund Burke (after whom Burke Mountain is named) who said, “All government, indeed every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue, and every prudent act, is founded on compromise and barter.” I think he’s correct. And, in the final analysis, the decision, on how to allocate ice-rink resources by facilitating the merger of Coquitlam curling with Port Moody curling, centres on this concept of compromise.
It’s important to note that this concept carries within its meaning the idea of cooperation, and of give-and-take. Of course, we don’t compromise our principles. They are resolute. But we should always be prepared to re-evaluate our policies and practices in the light of new information and changing circumstances.
And, as I’m confident that those of us who have been involved in successful negotiations have learned, a spirit of generosity or even magnanimity can be key to success.
And so, with all this in mind, I will cast my vote tonight for what I think will be best for curling and hockey, to ensure that they remain strong and vital activities in our community -- and that curling, especially, has the critical mass needed to propel it well into the future. I will also cast my vote for what I think is best for all our city’s residents, to whom we on council are responsible, and from whom we receive the charge to make the best use of their hard-earned tax dollars.My vote will also show that I support co-operation between communities, economical use of scarce resources, and fiscal prudence, while at the same time setting a path that, I am confident, will help build a better Coquitlam.
*Council considered four motions; votes on some were 7-2 in favour, and on others were 8-1 in favour.