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ST. ANDREW’S – ‘The reconsideration ship has sailed,’ heritage society told

(Image: Mel Rothenburger)

By MEL ROTHENBURGER

The president of the Kamloops Heritage Society reacted with frustration today (Nov. 14, 2019) at the news “the reconsideration ship has sailed” on the City’s takeover of management and operation of St. Andrew’s on the Square.

The Kamloops Heritage Society and the City have been embroiled in a disagreement since council abruptly terminated the society’s contract to run the heritage building in August.

Coun. Dieter Dudy admitted in an email Wednesday there’s been a “complete communication breakdown” between the society and City that has caused “mistrust and acrimony.”

Dudy said it’s too late for council to revisit its decision.

Coun. Dieter Dudy.

His comments are the first public acknowledgement from within City Hall that it will not attempt to reach an accommodation with the society and that the takeover will proceed.

He made the comments to members of the society’s board and in response to a plea from board secretary treasurer Bernice Mitchell to work with the society to resolve the situation.

Heritage Society president Peggy Broad told ArmchairMayor.ca today she was surprised by Dudy’s email because the society has heard nothing from the City recently, contrary to promises the society would be kept informed of developments.

She said the City’s culture manager Barb Berger has not contacted the society since council’s in-camera meeting last week in which Coun. Denis Walsh attempted to have the matter reconsidered.

“It’s so frustrating,” she said. “We just don’t know what to do anymore.”

Broad said the society was asked at a meeting Oct. 11 to stop fighting the issue in the media while the matter was being dealt with. “I thought I’d been handed an olive branch.”

There was no mention of a deadline on reconsideration having passed, said Broad.

No arrangements have been made for a transition from the society to the City and “we don’t know what to tell our clients.”

The full text of Dudy’s email is as follows:

Dear Mrs. Mitchell,  

Thank you for your frank and insightful letter. As council we acted on the information provided to us. It’s unfortunate that your voice did not come to us sooner. The sad reality though is that the reconsideration ship has sailed. Legislatively we would have had to address the issue at the first council meeting following the decision to proceed. I know that Councilor Walsh did make an impassioned plea to reconsider but also arrived too late and unfortunately did not provide a compelling enough argument to sway council. It seems to me that there has been a complete communication breakdown over the years along with mistrust and acrimony. Neither of which do much to resolve disputes. I truly feel your frustration and disappointment but at this point we’re legally bound by the process. I do however, thank you for your frank and honest appraisal of the situation. Respectfully, Dieter

Walsh confirmed he tried to have the matter reconsidered but said that when his notice of motion came forward at an in camera meeting last week, City staff told council it was too late.

Walsh said he couldn’t comment on the closed-door discussion but said it was “unfortunate” he wasn’t informed of the deadline ahead of time.

Broad said the society’s board will meet to discuss the development but added, “How are we supposed to communicate with them (the City) when we don’t get anything back from them?”

About Mel Rothenburger (7051 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

6 Comments on ST. ANDREW’S – ‘The reconsideration ship has sailed,’ heritage society told

  1. Trudy Montgomery // November 16, 2019 at 11:01 PM // Reply

    I’m extremely disappointed in the flawed, somewhat inept governance of Council and the omnipotent administration. Sadly, there appears to be a lack of information from the very beginning of the City’s decision, as recommended by management, to take over all operations at and of St Andrews. What a disrespectful comment to St. Andrews Board, “the ship has sailed.” Perhaps Council and management should consider a retreat together to change the climate of communicating with the community from an egotistical, autocratic place to a respectful, equalizing rulebook. It’s too easy for elected officials to hide behind legislation, bylaws and use their power in an intimidating manner. Does management and staff have a healthy high moral atmosphere to work in or is it operating with underlying sophisticated bullying methods. Please checkout the Respect movement initiated by Sheldon Kennedy which began as Respect in Sport and has grown into Respect in Education and Respect in Corporations. Learn how to regain your common sense and humanity to project a better image. This group goes into government and corporate settings to help organizations halt these kind of senseless situations and initiate good change. Meanwhile, what is the appeal process?

  2. Do I believe bulling can involve adults, yes. I am sure we have all seen it in the workplace or a social setting, and if we were all honest we could say we have all been guilty at some point in our lives. I joined the Heritage Commission to help celebrate local history and found that the city administration was not willing to do their part, now I sit on the Heritage Engagement Group that is just about pointless but serves the administrations agenda for us to not be in the way and muted. To say ‘The reconsideration ship has sailed’ means what, we could easily say the push for a PAC has also set sail with the last referendum but here we are. For the record I support the push for a PAC but I find the process of local government suspect. History is rich in Kamloops and I wish we could show more respect for it and the people that want to help. I feel that it is an absolute insult what has happened to the wonderful people that have made St.Andrews what it has become.

  3. A reply to Jeff: what you are describing might be interpreted as an act of bullying, had it taken place on a school playground, for example.
    Do you feel that bullying takes place outside of school playgrounds and involves adults?

  4. I have seen this same train wreck when I was on the Heritage Commission, we were lied to our face and lied about to the media. A vote was taken in council to leave us alone and carry on as we have for 40 years being advocates for local history, but a new Mayor was voted in and was willing to work with administration to get rid of us and consolidate power.

  5. So going forward, what is the plan? And how will this plan be implemented? Are the honorable councillors and Mayor going to put anything forward for the public, or will it jut be another fait accompli?

  6. “How are we supposed to communicate with them (the City) when we don’t get anything back from them?” Exactly. This is not a “…a complete communication breakdown over the years…” has Mr. Dudy pretentious email would want us to believe but a wilful, mischievous and inconsiderate decision from the usual suspects at City Hall. As far as I am concerned, the trust and the goodwill ship between the community at large and City Hall has sailed long ago. How many more episodes are you, Kamloops, willing to put up with? To take it a step forward, isn’t City Hall looking into a similar management model (using an at arm-length society) for the proposed PAC?

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