Vancouver Island Regional Library budget debated

One local politician says taxpayers can't stomach the increases

The Vancouver Island Regional Library has tastes that might run a bit too rich, suggests one director with the Regional District of Nanaimo.

Qualicum Beach director Dave Willie said Tuesday that he doesn’t like recent cost hikes at the institution.

“I’m disappointed that the library board is presenting a close to seven per cent operating increase for next year,” Willie said. “We’re looking at doubling operating costs every 10 years. That’s not something that taxpayers can stomach.”

Willie said he was also disappointed with the result of the vote, when only two of the 40 board members voted against the hike.

“I take exception to it,” he said. “I don’t think taxpayers have any appetite for that and I want our board to put pressure on that board to look at their costs.”

Other items discussed at the recent board of doriectors meting of the Regional District of Nanaimno:

• When mayors, councillors and regional district directors converged on Vancouver for the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities meeting, Joe Stanhope came away happy.

That’s because the chair of the Regional District of Nanaimo said he sees significant progress towards what he called a postage stamp rate for natural gas.

“I had a meeting with the premier and ministers Bennet and Coleman and they were very receptive when I said I want to reduce carbon gases and we are looking for postage stamp rates for natural gas across Canada,” Stanhope said. “This is a big thing. It means about $250,000 to the City of Nanaimo.”

Postage stamp rates essentially means all prices are the same, regardless of where you live in Canada — similar to postage stamps.

“The premier was most receptive and we can be assured this is going to come down in the near future.”

• A homeowner in the Bowser-Deep Bay district has been ordered to clean up his property or the Regional District of Nanaimo will do it for him.

At the regular RDN meeting a report by bylaw enforcement officer Jack Eubank detailed how the 3.2 hectare property at 351 Oakdowne Road is littered with derelict vehicles, automotive parts, scrap metal, machinery, discarded building materials and derelict boats.

The board agreed with the staff recommendation to order a cleanup.