Parksville city council has voted against a motion questioning the feasibility of expanding the city’s boundaries.
Mayor Ed Mayne initially brought forward the motion, asking staff to consider the possibility of expanding Parksville’s municipal boundaries, which he called “very inefficient.” It was suggested that up to $200,000 go toward the 2020-21 budget for background studies and professional help in considering the practicality of a change.
Mayne started off the regular meeting on Monday, Oct. 7 by saying he wanted to “clear up the misinformation” surrounding the boundary expansion. He emphasized that neither he or the other city councillors “have any preconceived notions about the outcome of the process.” He emphasized “is not a tax grab” and that much has changed in the 24 years since the city last looked at the possibility of a boundary expansion, and he felt it was time to revisit the idea.
Mayne said the city is running out of industrial and residential land. He added people living on the outskirts of Parksville take advantage of amenities within the city limits, but do not pay for their maintenance through taxes.
Mayne ended the initial discussion by stating a third party report would need to be completed before any decisions would be made and that a “civil conversation” could happen once that occurs.
Later in the meeting, Coun. Doug O’Brien voiced various concerns around the expansion — he said the council has too much to do, and a project like this isn’t practical for a variety of reasons.
“Parksville policy 4.2 states that boundary extensions will not be undertaken unless a petition has been received by the proposed annexed district. To that policy itself we have received no such petitions advising that they wish to become part of Parksville or to be annexed,” he said, to applause from the gathered audience.
O’Brien said council has in fact heard the opposite from surrounding districts, who said they don’t want to be part of Parksville.
“They have no desire to be part of the city of Parksville, with our higher taxes and overabundance of rules and regulations,” O’Brien said. “Their comments, not mine.”
He added he encourages non-residents of Parksville to use city infrastructure, which he said will only contribute to local businesses.
“I will not be supporting this motion,” O’Brien said.
Coun. Mark Chandler followed, saying he’s concerned about the cost surrounding a plan like this and stated, “I probably won’t support the motion.”
Coun. Adam Fras voted to support the motion. Coun. Al Greir agreed, and said “we have to wait and see what the feasibility study is all about, but I’m certainly in favour of going that far.”
Coun. Marilyn Wilson voted against the motion, while Coun. Teresa Patterson echoed concerns from both sides, but chose to vote against the motion.
“I look at some of the areas in our community — Martindale, where one side of the street is the city of Parksville and the other is RDN,” she said. “Those are the questions, those are the areas that need to seriously be looked at.”
She said she doesn’t think council is ready at this point, and that there’s already too much on council’s plate to consider taking on a project of this size.
Ultimately, council voted 4-3 against the motion, to more applause from the audience.