Courtenay mayor Larry Jangula is pictured during the council meeting on December 4, 2017. Photo by James Wood/98.9 The Goat/Vista Radio
COURTENAY, B.C- Courtenay Mayor Larry Jangula isn’t happy about the Christmas truck shutdown in the Comox Valley.
The debate over the shutdown has been ongoing in the valley since last Friday, when a dump truck decorated with Christmas lights was pulled over by an officer of the Comox Valley RCMP. The driver was told that the lights were distracting, and issued a warning.
On Thursday Constable Rob Gardner , spokesperson for the detachment, said the stopping of the trucks had “nothing to do with organized community parades.”
The move came as a surprise to owners of the trucks, who decorate their vehicles annually and drive through the valley communities. On Wednesday of this week, Inspector Tim Walton of the local detachment stood by the detachment’s decision while speaking with Comox town council.
“We have had direct contact with some of the people and a couple of the drivers in particular,” Inspector Walton said, while responding to Comox councillor Ken Grant in the meeting.
“Beyond that, it would be inappropriate for me to discuss operational matters where there is enforcement of the Motor Vehicle Act.”
Walton added that, “we cannot give permission to anybody to operate a vehicle equipped with the lights. That’s a public message I won’t waver from.”
Speaking with 98.9 The Goat on Thursday, Jangula stated he had concerns about how the shut-down has “come down” and felt that the RCMP should have advised truck owners planning to decorate their vehicles, before they began their enforcement actions this year.
“I think it could have been handled a lot better,” said Jangula.
“To say ‘look, we can’t allow this anymore’ or to say ‘look, we allow it under these conditions’ just to say you can’t do it, I think it’s certainly caused some hard feelings.”
Jangula indicated he would supportive of a parade permit for the trucks, saying there would be “no issue”.
Jangula said he has had “several discussions” with Walton about the trucks.
“He and I have sort of agreed to disagree, at the moment,” said Jangula.
“It’s one of those things, you don’t always agree with everybody on everything, but I don’t agree with the ruling at all.”
Residents of Courtenay have also been sending messages to City Hall about the shut down as well, with Jangula saying people felt disappointed and let down.
“It’s not a good public relations move,” said Jangula.
“People feel that it could have been handled much differently. Just the way it all came down, left a bit of a bad taste in people’s mouth.”
Courtenay city council has yet to discuss the shut down, which could come to the table during their next meeting.
“I had hoped we could talk to Inspector Walton, and try to change his mind,” said Jangula.
“That hasn’t happened. I have talked to the other two mayors (Comox and Cumberland). Both are on the same wavelength as I am, that they don’t feel these should be stopped, they feel it’s not the best thing.”
The next meeting of Courtenay city council will be held December 18, 2017.
-with files from Justin Goulet