EDITORIAL: Rural divide

RDN director says rural residents are treated as minor children by those who represent larger muncipalities

The issues have changed but the debate has continued for more than 100 years as people in this country left the farms and congregated in the cities.

Not everyone left the countryside, thank goodness. And most, if not all of them have access to the same information — newspapers, Internet, etc. — that those in the big cities enjoy.

Julian Fell is one of those people who doesn’t live in a big city. He lives in Coombs/Errington and represents that area on the board of directors of the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN).

Fell has never been shy about expressing his opinion and for that we are thankful.

Recently, we were cc’d in an e-mail exchange involving Fell and another of these non-city dwellers from this region. Fell was using his official RDN e-mail account to send the comments, so we don’t feel too much like we’ve opened someone else’s mail to share with everyone.

“The biggest flaw in the regional district system used in B.C. (which is actually otherwise one of the best regional governance systems in North America), is the lack of democracy for rural residents,” Fell wrote.

“This topic comes up for discussion routinely at Electoral Area discussion groups at UBCM, et al. With 76 per cent of the population (and MLAs) living in municipalities, the rural areas are treated as minor children by the municipalities who consider themselves to be the rightful, informed and benign rulers of the rural folks.”

Rural residents experience a lack of democracy and are treated as minor children by the municipalities? Say what you like about Fell, but he doesn’t pull any punches and communicates his opinions clearly, which is something we can’t say about all politicians.

We are willing to believe mayors Gregor Robertson (Vancouver), Lisa Helps (Victoria) and Colin Basran (Kelowna) have a good grasp of the issues facing their communities. We’d also bet money they have no idea where Grafton Road or the Meadowood store are located.

Short of joining larger municipalities, what are the solutions for rural residents in the Parksville Qualicum Beach region to this “lack of democracy” cited by director Fell? We’re not certain, but we do get the impression this will come to a head in the RDN within the next 10 years as these rural areas continue to grow in population and the stress on their infrastructure deepens.

— Editorial by John Harding

Just Posted

CRIME: Thefts of vehicles, TVs, $300 in meat in Parksville QB area

Pair of prawn traps also stolen from Nanoose Bay

Prolific Parksville graffiti tagger gets 1 year of probation

Man was in breach of previous court conditions when arrested again

Qualicum Beach gaming company awarded virtual reality game of the year

Cloudhead Games lauded as it teases new project with ‘industry giant’

Outgoing RDN directors honoured

Politicians recognized for years of service

Parksville martial arts student earns first international gold

Training pays off for Cascadia Martial Arts pupil Gucela

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

2018 municipal election: Few surprises on Vancouver Island

16 incumbent mayors will continue in their positions for four more years

Prank pizzas delivered to B.C. mayor on election night

The fake orders happened throughout Victoria mayor’s re-election campaign

MLA to become Nanaimo’s next mayor, could weaken NDP’s grasp on power

Leonard Krog’s win will trigger a byelection when he gives up his provincial seat

Horvat nets OT winner as Canucks beat Bruins 2-1

Young Vancouver star had spirited scrap earlier in contest

Team Canada gold medal winners for first time in world curling championship

Team Canada earned gold in Kelowna at the 2018 Winn Rentals World Mixed Curling Championship

B.C. passenger caught smoking weed in a car issued $230 fine

Saanich police did a field sobriety test on the driver and deemed it safe for him to drive

Payette invites critics to ‘come and spend a few days’ with her

Governor General Julie Payette made her first official to B.C. back in March

More pot stores expected in B.C. in coming ‘weeks and months’: attorney general

Attorney General David Eby and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth visited the new BC Cannabis Store in the province’s Interior

Most Read