The Regional District of Nanaimo board welcomed two new directors at its inaugural meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 14.
One was Nanaimo councillor Diane Brennan and the other was Parksville councillor Mary Beil, who attended as the alternate for councillor Kirk Oates, who is currently on holiday.
The board now has 19 directors, with Nanaimo having the most representation with eight. Parksville now has two directors at the table, and Qualicum Beach has one representative.
The two additions were required by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, following population increases in Nanaimo and Parksville that were reflected in the 2016 census.
However, the two new directors might be temporary, as the board has a pending request to the MMAH for amendment to the RDN’s Letters Patent to change the voting unit of the RDN to 2,750 from 2,500.
The ministry has reviewed the RDN’s request but raised some concerns in a written reply to the RDN board. Minister Selena Robinson wants the RDN to explain the reason it wants to retain the board size at just 17 directors.
“While I appreciate the view that the request is not inconsistent with the status quo, this change to the voting unit would significantly affect the important principle of representation by population underlying the composition and operation of regional districts in British Columbia,” Robinson wrote in her letter to the board.
“Before considering the request more fully, I first need to understand some of the rationale for the conclusion that total board size is more significant than responsiveness to population change.”
Robinson added that, “it would be particularly helpful to hear more about the factors or impacts considered and to understand how leaving the voting unit at 2,500 or increasing it to 2,750 would affect the operational and governance processes of the regional district.”
The board endorsed a motion to refer the matter to staff.