Regional District of Nanaimo board not answering ministry survey

Questionnaires forwarded to RDN on roles of alternate electoral area directors

The Regional District of Nanaimo board is not going to respond to a survey on the role and function of alternate electoral area directors to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

The ministry has launched a feedback form to gather information about practical concerns and opportunities regarding the role of alternate electoral area directors.

The survey was initiated based on the 2019 UBCM ad-hoc committee’s discussion paper ‘Role and Implications of Alternate Unelected Electoral Area Directors.’ The paper examined the role of alternate directors and situations where the regular directors are absent for an extended period.

The ministry is undertaking further work to gain a comprehensive understanding of the operational nature of the alternate electoral area director role and function within regional districts.

The RDN board, at its committee of the whole meeting on Jan. 14, were informed by staff that directors have the option to individually respond to the ministry questionnaires or approve a staff generated response that was prepared on behalf of the board.

Some of the directors feel they don’t need to respond to the survey. They feel the regional district’s policy on alternate electoral area directors is working just fine.

“It’s not broken,” said Leanne Salter, Electoral Area (Coombs, Hilliers, Errington, Whiskey Creek, Meadowood) director. “We should not be tweaking it at this point because there’s nothing wrong.”

Electoral Area E (Nanoose Bay) director Bob Rogers said if there is a response, it should come from individual directors.

“While I recognize staff’s efforts, I don’t think it’s appropriate for a staff-generated response to the views of the board,” said Rogers. “And when we look at each of those questionnaires, I don’t think anybody but myself and my director know how much discussion and interaction my alternate has with the community, how much interaction and participation in meetings that I hold with the community.”

The board unanimously voted against responding to the survey and would leave individual directors to do so on their own.

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