Debating the role of the Regional District of Nanaimo

Mayors of Parksville and Qualicum Beach will sit on the RDN board; councils sworn in last night - see www.facebook.com/PQBNews for photos

His title and role around the city council table may have changed considerably after an election day victory, but Parksville Mayor Marc Lefebvre said he believes it’s important he remains the city’s rep on the Regional District of Nanaimo’s board of directors.

Lefebvre and the rest of the council elected Nov. 15 were scheduled to be sworn into office last night during a meeting where various responsibilities were also doled out. The same event was scheduled for Qualicum Beach council chambers. Lefebvre said he met informally with council over the last two weeks and indicated he wanted to keep the RDN role he filled as a councillor.

“I’ve enjoyed my time on the RDN board and, given the new members of the board, I’m going to stay there for at least the coming year,” Lefebvre said in an interview on Sunday. “I don’t think anyone objects.”

There will be considerable change on the RDN board. Nanaimo city council gets to send seven of its members to the board, and that council has changed considerably after Nov. 15. There’s a new rep from Nanoose Bay (Bob Rogers) and Qualicum Beach Mayor Teunis Westbroek is expected to assume that town’s seat on the RDN board after Coun. Dave Willie was defeated Nov. 15.

Lefebvre said the concept of the RDN works, although he admits there are times it causes controversy.

For example, while he and many directors outside of Nanaimo voted against giving more tax dollars to the Island Corridor Foundation, a motion passed that continued the support of the ICF, largely on the weight of the Nanaimo contingent.

“That’s a bit of a conundrum, a bit of a negative,” said Lefebvre. He also disagreed with an RDN vote this year — again passed largely through the weight of the Nanaimo contingent — that went against the wishes of Qualicum Beach town council.

“I felt that was a land-use issue, not a governance issue,” said Lefebvre.

The new Parksville mayor said he still believes there’s a role for the RDN.

“It’s important we (municipalities) talk to each other,” he said.

Aside from Lefebvre returning to the RDN table, Parksville city council was expected to pass motions last night that formally gave responsibilities to various members for 2015:

• Lefebvre and Kirk Oates, audit committee.

• All members of council (Lefebvre, Mary Beil, Al Greir, Oates, Teresa Patterson, Sue Powell and Leanne Salter), parcel tax review panel.

• Lefebvre, Arrowsmith Water Service management board.

• Lefebvre and Powell, Englishman River Water Service management board.

• Greir, District 69 Recreation Commission.

• Lefebvre, Municipal Insurance Association.

• Beil, Vancouver Island Regional Library board.

Council was also expected to pass motions Tuesday night assigning council members to liaison positions with a number of local boards, associations and committees.

The same process was expected in Qualicum Beach council chambers on Monday night.

For reports from both meetings, please read the Thursday edition of The NEWS.

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