No easy way to get answers

Local officials required to pass the buck to head offices, upper management

Once upon a time, newspapers could contact local officials for information pertaining to the community.

It’s not like that anymore. In at least three recent instances, it’s been a wild goose chase trying to confirm details on things happening in our own backyard.

When vandalism occurred to group mailboxes in the Chemainus area late last year, we wanted to find out what areas were affected and to let the public know when service might be restored. An employee at the Chemainus Post Office was more than willing to give us that information, but we had to go through the proper channels.

It went to the area superintendent and then he passed us on Canada Post media relations for an answer. A long process for a response to a simple question.

More recently, we’d heard about some layoffs, or shall we say reduced hours, at the Western Forest Products Chemainus Sawmill. We were sent to the senior director of communications at head office.

After receiving a rather vague response, we thought a clarification would be in order and attempted to contact the mill manager in Chemainus. He got the message, but had his receptionist direct our inquiry back to head office, even though he surely had the answer at his fingertips.

An outbreak of the flu at the Chemainus Health Care Centre is not uncommon this time of the year. We contacted the centre for details.

Again, staff was quite willing to tell us visits were restricted for family and companions to try and contain the flu, but it wasn’t protocol. We had to go through Island Health channels for information and officials likely had to contact Chemainus before getting back to us which they didn’t.

Makes you wonder why the larger corporations and companies need to evoke such jurisdictional control.

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