Opinion

EDITORIAL: Regional District of Nanaimo residents have a right to know

While we have raised issues in this space about the relevance and authority of the Regional District of Nanaimo in regards to Parksville and Qualicum Beach, there is no question about the importance of this governing body to the unincorporated areas of our region.

Each of the following communities has one representative on the 17-member RDN board of directors: Nanoose Bay, Coombs/Errington, French Creek and Qualicum Bay/Bowser/Deep Bay.

That's four people for a population larger than Parksville-Qualicum Beach combined, where there are (in total) two mayors and 10 councillors. It should be noted that  the City of Nanaimo has seven people on this 17-member board.

A few hundred years ago in Boston, a whole lot of tea was dumped into the harbour over the issue of taxation without representation.

However, incorporation for these smaller communities probably doesn't make sense. Policing costs alone would likely force residential tax bills through the proverbial roof. Nanoose Bay, with its current population and development plans in the works that could result in thousands more residents, might be a different story.

People should concentrate on the nuts and bolts, the money, when considering a change from an unincorporated part of a regional district to city or town status. Hot-button issues and incidents, however, often trump logical study in these circumstances.

And there sure is a doozy right now in Nanoose Bay.

The one elected representative for the thousands of people of Nanoose, George Holme, told us last week it was more than a year before he was told by RDN staff that five million litres of water was wasted at the fire hall, due to what sounds like a faulty pump.

Is it possible RDN staff did not think this was something the electorate should know about, like right away? Really? The RDN has still not issued a news release about this environmental nightmare in downtown Nanoose that happened in November-December, 2012.

What does that say about what RDN staff think about the people of Nanoose Bay?

These are the type of issues — and the type of attitude from taxpayer-funded staff — that foment incorporation discussions.

— Editorial by John Harding

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