The sad and anticlimatic end to the marathon city council meeting Monday finally came early Tuesday morning, when mayor and council voted 8-1 in favour of the Northern Recovery Centre for Women to set up shop at the former Haldi Road elementary.
The anticlimatic part is that the decision was a foregone conclusion. Like this newspaper, mayor and council, with the exception of council contrarian Brian Skakun, never wavered in their support for this project in this location.
The sad part of this story will leave scars and bitterness, much of it unnecessary.
Two UNBC classes are studying this specific case as a clear example of how NOT to do things from a political and community planning perspective. Forgive these young people for their cynicism after witnessing the horrible behaviour of the proponents, the opponents and the politicians throughout the process.
The students will also take away the lesson, however, that even the right thing, done with the best of intentions, can still turn out so wrong.
The proponents could not see far enough past their marvelous idea to consider the concerns of Haldi Road residents. They saw their cause as just, so they rejected the issues brought forward by the neighbours as ignorant negativity.
That patronizing dismissal of the community's views poisoned the well but it is still no excuse for the belligerent neighbourhood bullying that went on, as anyone who had the nerve to disagree with them was labelled as anti-democratic and a blind stooge for political and commercial interests.
Unfortunately, city council fanned the growing resentment on both sides, with little effort done too late to bring the sides together and find ways to bridge the schism. In the end, anger, frustration and resentment, felt by all parties, dominated the discussion.
For the UNBC students studying this affair, it's a textbook case on how to divide a neighbourhood and how to foster distrust and a lack of faith and respect for local government.
We're still convinced the recovery centre will be a success for Prince George and Northern B.C. but everything about the project to this point has been a tragic failure.
-- Managing editor Neil Godbout