The Regional District of Nanaimo does not have a policy on when it’s appropriate to display flags at half-mast or in any other way on special occasions.
The decision has always been at the discretion of the regional district’s chief administration officer.
General manager of corporate services, Delcy Wells, informed the RDN’s committee of the whole on Tuesday (Oct. 2), that requests to raise flags or fly them at half-mast have been coming from community and cultural groups and non-profit organizations. The only time the regional district would refuse is when it goes against the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and would not differentiate between any other group.
To ensure that all flags are flown and displayed consistently and are approriate, Wells said they recommend the RDN adopt a flag protocol.
A policy report was presented to committee. The report pointed out it is difficult for staff to make decisions without guiding principles, creating a risk of inconsistencies that may offend community members.
Staff researched the protocols of the provincial and federal governments and the draft policy incorporates some of their protocols where applicable to the RDN. The research also included the City of Nanaimo, the City of Parksville, the District of Lantzville and the Town of Qualicum Beach.
Nanaimo is the only community within the RDN to have any material regarding flying flags at half-mast.
Electoral Area F (Coombs, Hilliers, Errington) director Julian Fell said he supports the RDN’s policy of not supporting any flags of any organizations and groups. He asked Wells if that would still be the case.
“There won’t be any community flags or any other flags flown by the regional district,” said Wells. “That is addressed in the policy again for consistency so we treat all external requests similarly.”
The proposed flag policy will be presented to the RDN board for approval.