No budget until strategic plan, Regional District of Nanaimo directors decide

The RDN board is currently working under a strategic plan approved by the previous board in 2012

What comes first: the strategic plan or the budget?

According to Regional District of Nanaimo director Bill Veenhof, the answer should be the strategic plan.

Veenhof brought forward a motion at last week’s committee of the whole RDN meeting to see the board approve a new strategic plan before approving the 2016 budget and supporting five year financial plan.

The board approved the motion.

“The strategic plan should define the budget,” said Veenhof. “The core question is who gets to set the agenda?”

Veenhof explains the RDN board is currently working under a strategic plan approved by the previous board in 2012.

“I think the agenda should be set by the serving board and constituents who elected them,” he said. “Things change — and the priorities of the directors and constituents who elected them also change. We don’t live in a static environment. We are either spectators of it all, or we seize it and deal with it. The strategic plan is the right place to do that.”

Veenhof defines the strategic plan as “the overarching document where directors direct activities to staff … one would hope that direction reflects what the constituents want.”

Municipal budgets are approved in spring, and Veenhof is hoping to have the strategic plan in front of the board before that time.

“For me, the timeline is April 31 to have a strategic plan that reflects the budget,” he said. “I think that’s reasonable.”

However, director Howard Houle who represents Gabriola Island voiced opposition.

“I don’t see what the hurry is to get the strategic plan done,” he said. “If we try to push this forward we will be overloaded with meetings and discussing the budget at the same time.”

The motion will need to be ratified at the next regular RDN meeting slated for Oct.27.