A TERRACE city councillor has apologized to the rest of council for tactics used by supporters of a local non-profit group’s bid to purchase the Shames Mountain ski facility.
Bruce Bidgood said phone calls and emails directed at council members demanding they support the city giving money to the coop were threatening in nature.
“I turned my phone off for four or five days myself and I agree with My Mountain Co-op,” said Bidgood. “Imagine the calls to those who did not [agree].”
“There were some pretty nasty emails,” he said. “I was offended by some of the tactics by some of the people. I would in no way, shape or form condone that.”
Bidgood said some of the messages amounted to threats of ending the political careers of council members should they not back the call for money.
“I think if you were there and looked at the mayor’s face or looked at councillor Lynne Christiansen’s face, you would have seen they were subject to some pretty nasty comments,” he continued.
“That’s never happened in Terrace before, at least not in my time before,” Bidgood added.
He said the demonstration by pro-co-op supporters prior to the meeting, attended by approximately 100 people, was also a pressure tactic perhaps best avoided.
The My Mountain Co-op website urged its members and others to contact the mayor and council urging them to provide the co-op with money.
Included were the telephone numbers and email addresses of the mayor and council.
Bidgood made his apology at the Aug. 22 council meeting after council voted 4-2 to deny a request to provide My Mountain Co-op with $90,600 to help it buy the Shames Mountain ski facility.
Councillors Lynne Christiansen, Carol Leclerc, Brad Pollard and Mayor Dave Pernarowski voted against the motion with Bidgood and councillor Brian Downie voting in favour.
Councillor Bruce Martindale, who originally introduced the $90,600 motion, left the room before debate and the vote because he was perceived to be in a conflict of interest.
The vote was exactly the same as it was two weeks ago when a motion, also introduced by Martindale, to provide the co-op with $200,000 was defeated.
Bidgood, even though he seconded the $90,600 motion and also the $200,000 one, said he would have preferred not to have the motions introduced at all.
It set up an all- or- nothing approach with councillors having to choose either ‘yes’ or ‘no’, he added.
“I don’t think you heard any councillor saying they weren’t willing to make a financial contribution to the co-op. I think it would have been better if we had been able to meet with My Mountain Co-op instead,” Bidgood added.
“I think we’ve got to do a better job of how to handle these kinds of issues.”
What was lacking, Bidgood continued, was the kind of consensus approach to decision making that is present in other aspects of municipal governance.