The opinions expressed in this report are my own and not necessarily shared by any organization, or committee, I belong to.
It has been more than a year since 14 disgruntled Cortes residents attempted to change the outcome of the 2018 election with a lawsuit that the Supreme Court of British Columbia eventually dismissed as having “no basis.” Now at least one of the former plaintiffs has joined a group of anonymous Cortes residents who informed the Strathcona Regional District (SRD) Board of an alleged secession plot. Twenty minutes of the board’s Feb 26, 2020, meeting was consumed with this nonsense. Kudos to Chair Michele Babchuk and the other Directors who recognized it as such. However the suggestion that SRD receive a delegation, or have staff look into ways to help Cortes find a more democratic form of local government, is premature. There is currently no one to negotiate with them.
Continue reading Thank-you SRD, But There Is Currently No One To Negotiate With You
Hornby Island has roughly the same number of inhabitants as Cortes Island. They have similar problems with volunteer burn-out, partisanship on public issues, disruptive personalities, and gossip. Reina LeBaron, Hornby Island Residents and Ratepayers Association’s (HIRRA) Administrator, said this is usual in small communities. Some disgruntled Hornby residents even complained to their Regional Director, but the discontent has not festered on Hornby, like it has on Cortes. To some extent I suspect this may be because of Hornby Island’s style of government.
Continue reading Hornby Island’s Style Of Government
Regional Director Gerald Whalley recently informed the Strathcona Regional District (SRD) Board what he perceives to be the truth about global warming. He presented the video of that name, which alleges there are other explanations for extreme weather events and the climate does not actually appear to be changing. Whalley summed up his personal beliefs by quoting Genesis 8:22. When Noah stepped off the ark, God promised him that “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” (KJV) This verse, Whalley maintains, proves that the climate change is not a real concern. The SRD’s Climate debate continued at the Feb 12, 2020, Board meeting.
Continue reading The SRD’s Climate Debate Continues
Rapid urbanization in the 1950’s caused development in rural areas, with residents commuting to urban centres for work. Development in the rural areas increased demand for services such as water, sewage and zoning. By 1965, the Province amended the Municipal Act to enable the creation of regional districts. Originally, the powers and services of the regional districts were quite limited; however, as regional districts became more established they were granted more power by the B.C. government. Today regional districts help achieve regional economies of scale, and provide flexible service arrangements in which residents only pay for the services they receive. – BC Government Website
Directors are only entitled to vote on matters for which the area they represent has a vested interest. Typically this will include general corporate matters as well as services for which the area contributes financially. – SRD Website
It is only when they go wrong that machines remind you how powerful they are. – Clive James
[EDITORIAL] When things work, at least well enough for our comfort, we don’t have to pay much attention to them. This is how I’ve felt about local government for most of my lifetime. In the course of the last couple of years, however, I’ve been forced to think a lot about how local government works — specifically, the relationship between small rural Areas like Cortes Island, and Regional Districts like SRD.
Continue reading How (Well) Does The Regional District System Work?
(EDITORIAL) – The Board of Directors is committed to performing its functions of office truthfully, faithfully and impartially to the best of its knowledge and ability based on the following values:
(a) to work as a committed team in a spirit of collaboration and community;
(b) to be caring and respectful in all interactions and relationships;
(c) to be open and honest, and to adhere to the highest standards of ethical conduct;
(d) to deliver effective public service through professionalism and creativity; and
(e) to be accountable to constituents and to the region as a whole.
— From the Strathcona Regional District Code of Conduct
On October 30th, just a few days after the decisive referendum on Area B Bylaws 328 and 341, the Cortes community received quite a shock: SRD (Strathcona Regional District) published on Tideline a press release detailing a motion of censure against Regional Director Noba Anderson. This censure rests on a claim that Director Anderson inappropriately released confidential in camera information (namely, the Craig Peterson report and two legal opinions whose significance is not explained). Our community’s assessment of this charge against her depends on how we understand in camera privilege and SRD’s use of it.
Continue reading Confidentiality or Secrecy? A Slippery Slope