RDN board moves two District 69 issues in-camera

Commissioners question motive behind the board’s decision to keep public out

The Regional District of Nanaimo board went in-camera to discuss two issues related to District 69 at its regular meeting on March 26.

And the move has some members of the District 69 Recreation Commission wondering why.

The first was a notice of motion made by Electoral Area E (Nanoose, Fairwinds and Red Gap) director Bob Rogers, that staff be directed to report on establishing a new Northern Communities Select Committee to replace the roles and responsibilities of the District 69 Community Justice Select Committee, the Northern Community Economic Development Select Committee and the District 69 Recreation Commission.

RELATED: RDN to form new group to replace Northern committees

The other item was the Oceanside Recreation and Sport Infrastructure Sub-Committee Report, asking the board to proceed with its recommendation without delay. That entails expansion of the Ravensong Aquatic Centre; review and consideration of a rubberized athletic track of up to eight lanes; and a centralized land acquisition strategy for a future indoor/outdoor sport and recreation complex.

The two issues were in the meeting’s agenda but were moved in-camera. RDN board chairman Ian Thorpe indicated they were going to bring back the two issues to be addressed in public following the in-camera sessions but were not able to as matters dragged on. As it was getting late, the board was not able to discus the issues at all, according to RDN staff and instead the board agreed to hold a special meeting on April 9.

District 69 Recreation Commissioners for Electoral Area F (Errington, Coombs and Hilliers) and G (San Pareil, French Creek and Dashwood), Reg Nosworthy and Randy White, respectively, questioned why the issue had to be discussed in-camera.

White was critical of the decision and he feels the board is scared of the public feeback it’s going to receive.

“It’s not an in-camera item,” said White. “It’s public as you can get.”

White said the plan to eliminate the District 69 Commission and also two other committees, and put only elected directors on it, is a process that will take time.

“That will take, to get that organized, what… six, eight months?” White said. “Then they’ll ask for public input on a pool, a multiplex and a track. Which they’ve had four times before and they still won’t make a decision. This is another case of deferral that’s all that is from people that are indecisive.”

Nosworth agreed with White.

“They don’t have the courage and do have a responsibility to be transparent and discuss this issue in public,” said Nosworthy, who has been involved with the commission for nearly 20 years. “Lately anything controversial about the RDN seems to move ‘in-camera.’”

Michael.Briones@pqbnews.com

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