Liaison committee formed to address local electoral reform

Liaison committee formed to address local electoral reform

The Central Coast Electoral Area Restructuring Study (CCEARS) working group was formed during a public meeting in January 31, 2014, and on February 13th the CCEARS working group respectfully submitted a petition for CCRD’s review and consideration regarding initiating and facilitating a study for restructuring of the existing regional district.

The Central Coast Regional District (CCRD) received the petition and, after meeting with the CEARS working group, formed a Liaison Committee. The committee will now look at the feasibility of restructuring. The committee consists of the CAO (Darla Blake), the CFO (Donna Mikkelson), two CCEARS committee members (as elected by the working group Jan Prins and Ken Dunsworth), CCRD Board member Ivan Tallio, and a representative of the Nuxalk Nation.

The first meeting CCRD Liaison Committee/CCEARS working group identified pressing issues. A second meeting was then held to discuss and develop action items, methodologies and tactics,  and to move matters forward and conclude efforts working towards a restructuring study.

The CCEARS representatives requested the CCRD convene an open house thereby addressing the issue of transparency, to get a sense of what the taxpayers think, and provide a forum for the CCRD to respond to questions from the populace.

CCEARS representatives have indicated that the existing recommendations in the 1993 – 94 Restructure Study, which were not really implemented, remain applicable where many of the concerns and questions could be addressed.

A new restructure study would prove to be very expensive when there already is an existing study waiting to be implemented.  The CAO of the CCRD explained that the implementation of the existing restructure study may fit into the Strategic Planning process.

Upon implementation of the 1993 – 94 Restructure Study, an analysis could be undertaken to identify any existing or outstanding issues and a process to resolve these issues. It should be known that to fund a new Restructure Study that for every $6,600 tax dollars needed represents a one percet additional tax increase (although some funding may be available from the provincial government).

Among many issues, several major items were put forward for action through recommendations that comprise the outcomes of the CCRD Liaison committee’s meetings. They are as follows: Protocol Agreements with First Nations and the regional district as signatories, (discussed the North Island Regional Protocol Agreement for reference); re-establishment of the Economic Development Commission (with resource person assigned); a Strategic Plan process to commence in April and the CCEARS working group, along with other interested groups, to participate in the Strategic Planning process while the CCRD strives to include the public in the process.

The CCRD Board electoral area representation will be addressed in the Strategic Plan process. Better communication/engagement/transparency is required with the public so a ‘Town Hall’ meeting should be initiated. The community needs to voice concerns about what is happening in our area where the little economic activity we have is under assault by the Provincial Government.

The Central Coast Electoral Area Restructuring Study (CCEARS) working group held a public meeting on May 12 at 7:00 pm in the Nusatsum gym to report back on its activities and meetings with the CCRD regarding issues that had been discussed. CCRD Board member Brian Lande attended the meeting and addressed issues along with Ken Dunsworth from the Working Group.