On Monday, May 9, Salt Spring CRD Director Gary Holman released a discussion paper on the possibility of creating a local community commission. What follows is his introduction and a link to the document itself.
BY GARY HOLMAN
One of my 2018 election platform commitments was to improve governance in Salt Spring, including seeking voter endorsement for an elected CRD Local Community Commission (LCC). This discussion paper launches a public consultation on the proposal and will be available on multiple sites, including online (Salt Spring Exchange, Driftwood, social media) and in print at the library and local CRD office. This paper was written at my request by several members of the Community Alliance’s Governance Task Force, which was formed to consider governance improvements after the failed incorporation referendum in 2017. document makes a number of recommendations regarding the composition, responsibilities, and compensation of an elected LCC at large for Salt Spring.
The possibility of a CCL has been considered in previous governance studies undertaken during provincially initiated incorporation processes. I have also described the LCC proposal in previous Driftwood articles this year (February 23, March 2), as well as in local trust committee and ASK Salt Spring town halls. An LCC, with the Director of CRD, would expand elected representation of our community and oversight of local CRD grants and services (e.g. budgets, regulations, policies), and could lead to the consolidation of the four commissions of Salt Spring island-wide (Parks and recreation, transportation, liquid waste, economic sustainability).
LCC commissioners would have a mandate from local voters similar to that of the director of the CRD. This means that local CRD-related decisions, recommendations and advocacy for our community of nearly 12,000 people – now under the responsibility of a single elected official – would instead be made by a majority vote of the LCC and the CRD Director (actually a “counsel” for CRD issues) at regular public meetings. The CRD Director would still be directly elected to the CRD Board of Directors and the Electoral Area Services Committee, which oversee regional and sub-regional services.
The LCC working paper was reviewed by CRD staff and by a recently appointed advisory committee made up of representatives from the four island-wide CRD commissions, Salt Spring Improvement Districts Fire and North Salt Spring Waterworks, and two members. This document is not endorsed by the CRD or the Advisory Committee, but is considered a good basis for discussion and public comment. I thank the authors for their efforts in producing this well-researched document.
The advisory committee will make its own recommendations for the CLC, based on further review and public comment. The terms of reference, responsibilities and maximum cost of an LCC will be set out in the CRD Establishment Regulations which must be approved by the CRD Board of Directors and will form the basis of the referendum question to be put to voters in the elections. local October. An LCC will require some cost to local ratepayers, primarily for the modest stipends of the Commissioners who, together with the CRD Director, would oversee all local CRD services. However, some cost savings could also result from consolidating the commissions, while community groups and citizens would continue to advocate with an elected CLC regarding local priorities, projects, and other issues.
While the Local Government Act allows a regional district to establish an LCC, voter approval is required. Holding the referendum during the next local government election on October 15, 2022 will minimize the additional cost of the LCC referendum. If voters approve, an election for LCC commissioners would take place in the spring of 2023, which will also require a one-time cost. I will include LCC-related costs in the draft CRD budget for 2023, costs that would be removed from the final CRD budget for that year if voters reject the proposal.
Establishing an LCC is a relatively simple governance change from incorporation, with far fewer jurisdictional and financial impacts. Unlike incorporation, roads and policing would remain a provincial responsibility, and land use would continue with the Trust. Therefore, establishing an LCC could provide some of the governance benefits of incorporation (e.g. broader and more transparent representation and clearer delegated authority) without its possible drawbacks, such as costs and responsibilities. future of Salt Spring’s extensive road network and concerns about the potential weakening of the trust mandate.
The LCC Advisory Committee, CRD staff and I look forward to considering public comments which can be made online and by email to: [email protected] Other opportunities for public participation will be announced shortly.
To read the LCC discussion paper, click here: