SRD applying for authority to suspend normal voting procedures during emergencies

The Strathcona Regional District (SRD) is applying to have its name added to the list of Regional Districts that can make special votes on urgent matters. 

This provincial regulation states that the SRD must make reasonable attempts in writing, by phone or electronic means to ‘ensure that each Director entitled to vote has the opportunity to do so.’ There is no need for a quorum.  When necessary, resolutions and bylaws can be passed even if only the Chairperson and one other Director are voting. The results of this vote are to be reported at the next Board meeting.

Image credit: the Provincial Legislature – Photo by Roy L Hales

This regulation currently applies to thirteen Regional Districts, all but one of which are on the BC Mainland. The only Regional District from Vancouver Island on this list is Mount Waddington:   

  1. the Cariboo Regional District
  2. the Central Coast Regional District
  3. the Regional District of Central Kootenay
  4. the Columbia-Shuswap Regional District
  5. the Regional District of East Kootenay
  6. the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George
  7. the Fraser Valley Regional District
  8. the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine
  9. the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary
  10. the Regional District of Mount Waddington
  11. the North Coast Regional District
  12. the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District
  13. the Thompson-Nicola Regional District

At the April 12 SRD Board meeting, Senior Manager Thomas Yates explained, “The report is really to bring back to the Board’s attention a matter that was dealt with approximately a year ago, when the board requested the Ministry of Municipal Affairs approve amending the Special Voting Regulation, which has been in place for many years. They’ve sent it back to us asking if the board is still committed in that position. This report is really asking that question of the board if you’re still interested or not. We’ll convey that answer to the ministry.” 

SRD Chair, Mark Baker, pointed out, “So we have a couple of options.” 

Regional Director Gerald Whalley wanted to know, “What kind of special circumstances would this be used? Could it be used for any question the Board might have? Or is it for something in the case of an emergency?”

Yates replied, “This would be confined to those matters that would be considered urgent and those matters only. It would be basically a poll taken of Directors, in the absence of calling a meeting, to deal with an emergency or urgent matter.  

Regional Director Robyn Mawhinney moved, “That the Board reaffirmed to request to the province of BC that the Strathcona Regional District be added to the list of regional districts to which BC Regulation 41/ 91, ‘Regional District Special Voting Regulation,’ applies.”

Mayor Julie Colborne of Tahsis added, ‘Second.’

The motion was carried with no opposing votes.  

Top image credit: Chair Mark Baker during one of the meeting’s lighter moments, which you can watch in the video. Senior Manager Thomas Yates is on his left and CAO Dave Leitch on his right.

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