The ice cream truck debate in West Kelowna this past week may have left some people shaking their heads in disbelief, but they shouldn’t.
It was actually a prime example of how the relationship between government and the people they represent is supposed to function, and the role the media can play to assist that process.
At last week’s West Kelowna council meeting, the district’s proposed Mobile Vending Policy was adopted, with a stipulation that caught some councillors by surprise: A noise restriction clause that would silence all mobile vendors, most notably ice cream trucks.
While both Couns. Brydon Winsby and Gord Milsom registered surprise the bylaw needed to be that repressive; it was adopted pending final approval by council. Why? Because some people had complained about the noise ice cream trucks make, and about safety issues concerning kids running in and out of traffic in their excitement to meet the ice cream truck.
After we published the story last Thursday, it went viral on the Internet, and was picked up by eastern Canada daily newspapers. The media attention locally also engaged West Kelowna residents to voice their dismay with the ruling, which appeared to far outweigh however many people had objected to the ice cream truck music in the first place. So when council reconvenes at their next meeting on June 12, it appears a majority of council will see the need to curb the noise restriction aspect of the bylaw prior to giving it final approval. The council, we think, received the message loud and clear—while some people don’t like to hear the ice cream truck noise, it’s not the feeling of the majority.
Act, listen, make adjustments and move on—we wish all levels of government would follow that guideline.