First Open House held to discuss local electoral area restructuring ideas

First Open House held to discuss local electoral area restructuring ideas

There was a public open house meeting held at the Lobelco Community Hall at 7:00 pm August 21, 2013 facilitated by Ken Dunsworth. The meeting was not a gripe session with respect to the Central Coast Regional District (CCRD), or about any proposals regarding local governance, or options for electoral area re-structuring of the CCRD. The meeting was about having a say, as a community, regarding the evaluation of all logical and viable options of any local governance model or electoral area re-structuring ideas individuals or the Province may be working on or towards.

The meeting focused on understanding the information regarding re-structuring; about having community input; and the formation of a working group (proposed five individuals) to work on behalf of the community to: 1) carry out discussions and communications with the Province, individuals proposing re-structuring and an independent professional re-structuring consultant when appointed by the Province, 2) communicate back to the community via newsletters, and 3) to hold several public meetings regarding its investigations, findings and discussions regarding the best options for a governance model.

In 1993/94 the Central Coast Regional District (CCRD) commissioned a re-structure study by the Province. A report was produced by Municipal Management Services in February 1994.

The report indicated, among other things: “The geophysical area of the CCRD is relatively rich in resources, poor in assessment base, well-endowed in tourism potential, sparse in population base, low in employment opportunity, relatively favoured in access to senior government programs, reasonably equipped with education and medical facilities and services, challenges with native/non-native jurisdictional issues – and relatively remote in provincial context. Much of what happens in the geophysical area of the CCRD is dictated by what happens outside the geophysical area of the CCRD – by markets, by senior government funding, by the economy, and by other factors. The CCRD’s ability to deal with the “outside greater community” is closely related to how well it can coordinate its own resources (people, tax dollars, services, etc.) locally”.

The Province in a communication dated November 14, 2012 to the CCRD board stated: “they will entertain the options for such a study after the administrative issues have been solidified and a new, permanent Chief Administrative Officer is in place”. The Chief Administrative Officer is now in place and various folks have been working on and proposing different governance models and ideas to the Province and CCRD board. The CCRD board has been in contact with the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development in this regard.

The Restructuring process follows a Provincial Guide entitled: Managing Changes to Local Government Structure in British Columbia: a Review and Program Guide. The guide has a mandate, and any Working Group Terms of Reference (TOR) and the process are described in the program guide. Ken in his presentation, however outlines that “we as a community may wish to include these additional items in the TOR: to enter into and continue discussions, and to carry out consultations regarding CCRD re-structuring and to keep the residents informed by: issuing brief monthly community news letters; and, reporting back to the residents by holding several public meetings prior to acceptance any report and analysis of the Re-Structuring Study Consultant.

The public turnout was poor and the folks that attended suggested that a further public meeting should be held on October 1, 2013. A small working group was formed to assist with preparing a further public meeting in October. Stay tuned for the time and place on October 1 regarding this public meeting.