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COMOX VALLEY RECORD • Wednesday, February 8, 2012

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Code of Conduct coming for City Coun. Jon Ambler makes motion, which is passed unanimously Renée Andor Record Staff

Courtenay City council will have a written Code of Conduct for councillors to abide by. Coun. Jon Ambler brought forward the motion at Monday’s council meeting and it was passed unanimously, minus Coun. RonnaRae Leonard who was not present. Ambler noted numerous other organizations and governing bodies have their own Codes of Conduct. He pointed out that it is not a law but a “tool” made up of agreed-upon standards of conduct to help council avoid “stepping on land mines” in council meetings. “For those of you that are married, you’ll understand that running your marriage and not contravening the Criminal Code is actually not enough,” said Ambler. “It’s a relationship, and how you conduct yourself in that relationship and how business is conducted, adds value and makes a relationship more effective or more positive or more constructive. That’s what Codes of Conduct do for you.” Coun. Bill Anglin agreed that a set of guidelines for council is a useful tool because sitting on council “is not the easiest job in the world and you often have divided loyalties.” He added that he believes it’s crucial to council’s success for the next three years. Coun. Doug Hillian brought up an incident

in the summer when Coun. Murray Presley, Coun. Manno Theos and then Coun. Larry Jangula walked out of a council meeting when a resolution to ask the Comox Valley Regional District to reopen the property search for a homeless shelter was brought forward. “I think that a good example of where something like this comes in handy is the previous situation where we had a walkout at this table, and we, in fact, didn’t have a barometer against which to assess that action,” said Hillian. Jangula, now the mayor, pointed out that registered parliamentarian Eli Mina discussed the ‘walkout’ at a workshop for newly-elected councillors after the November election. “He said very clearly that there’s nothing stopping someone from walking out if they so choose,” said Jangula. Coun. Starr Winchester said she didn’t think the walkout showed any disrespect and that she thought the Code of Conduct was to ensure councillors respected each other. “I’m disappointed to hear Coun. Hillian bring up that particular example because that is certainly not why I thought (Coun. Ambler was) bringing forward a Code of Conduct,” said Winchester. After the motion was passed, City staff was instructed to research other Codes of Conduct, such as the Comox Valley Regional District’s. and report back to council. A Code of Conduct may be borrowed from another organization rather than freshly created for Courtenay council. writer@comoxvalleyrecord.com

ARTIST GEORGE SAWCHUK stocked his four-acre property in Fanny Bay with his creations, producing an outdoor gallery known as Wacky Woods. PHOTOS BY SHARLOTTE BEAUCHEMIN

‘Logger doing art’ remembered fondly Erin Haluschak Record Staff

Comox Valley artist, sculptor and member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, George Sawchuk passed away Thursday morning at the age of 85. Sawchuk was best known not only within the Valley for his mixed-media art but within the British Columbia and Canadian arts communities. The self-taught sculptor, who was born in Kenora, Ont., rejected formal education at 13 years old to begin a 38-year career as a labourer. As a bridge constructor, his leg was crushed under collapsed steel and he was unable to work for a year, and left Sawchuk facing amputation to one of his legs. The accident left him with the time which enabled him to explore his artistic interests. “His work is pretty inspiring,” noted Brian Charlton, one of the organizers behind the Comox Valley Mayworks Festival. He added the first year the festival —which celebrates

GEORGE SAWCHUK

labour and the arts — was moved to the Comox Valley from Parksville, Sawchuk was honoured. “His art fits perfectly with Mayworks. He was a logger doing art,” he noted. Sawchuk began exploring art using a chainsaw to carve nooks in trees where he placed items such as books, glass and metal. For decades, Sawchuk created his outdoor gallery on a four-acre property in Fanny Bay. Paths through the forest allow people to view his pieces which combine metal, mirrors, glass, tools, lights and other found objects.

Charlton said the first time he went to Sawchuk’s ‘Wacky Woods’ he was “blown away.” On his website, Sawchuk noted his perspective on art was influenced from his childhood and training at a traditional Roman Catholic school and his studying of Marx at a remote logging camp, combined with the hard realities of working class life and his daily encounters with nature.

Charlton said a number of Sawchuk’s pieces currently reside in a variety of art galleries, including those in Courtenay and Cumberland, and hopes they will be saved for years to come. He added Sawchuk once noted in an interview he hoped one day his ‘Wacky Woods’ would eventually “go back to the woods, back to nature.” photos@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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Wednesday, February 8 2012, Comox Valley Record  

Wednesday, February 8 2012 issue of the Comox Valley Record newspaper as it appeared in print. For more online, all the time, see www.comoxv...