About forty Cortes Islanders attended a public meeting on February 15th at Manson’s Hall, to discuss local governance models and alternatives. The meeting was announced in Regional Director Noba Anderson’s article “Seeding Community Council: Hornby and Cortes” which appeared in Tideline on February 2nd; it was co-hosted (with introductory remarks) by Director Anderson and moderator Kristen Scholfield-Sweet. Folk U co-sponsored the event. While some were disappointed in their expectations of a much larger turnout (“I thought the hall would be full!”) others pointed out that many people are still engaged in the ongoing search for missing island youth Miles Meester.
Continue reading Local Governance Alternatives Discussed
We have a regional district system that, by its very nature, regardless of the people involved, leaves decisions off-island with a group of people that know little about our community. — Regional Director for Cortes Island, Noba Anderson
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…. This article is a footnote or digression to the feature article “Confidentiality vs Secrecy: A Slippery Slope“. However, it also can be read on its own.)
Here’s an example of what I would call downright peculiar (when describing SRD’s dealings with Area B, Cortes Island).
When Craig Peterson (private investigator hired by SRD) suddenly arrived on Cortes Island in the New Year, he was quite open and frank about his mission here. He said he was here “to investigate the charges against Director Anderson.” For many islanders, it was the first they’d heard about any allegations or charges against our Director.
Continue reading Ambush vs Engagement: How SRD Deals with Cortes Island
(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