Changing the way we are governed, the manner and form of how we choose and structure, how our tax dollars are marshalled and dispersed, is no easy matter.
First, the electorate has to decide it really wants and/or needs change. Fighting apathy can be the biggest obstacle to change.
Perhaps people are content with the fact a party (in terms of federal and provincial politics) can hold supreme power with much less than 50 per cent of the vote, which is the case in our parliamentary system.
Perhaps people are content with the fact there are multi layers of government at the local level, which is the case here with town or city regimes plus the Regional District of Nanaimo.
The federal-provincial electoral debate is ongoing and we may raise it here in the future. However, the local-level discussions seem to be heating up.
First we have regional district director Julian Fell, who believes the people of the Coombs-Errington area he was elected to represent on the RDN board would be better served as an independent municipality, ie. break away from the regional district and have their own form of governance (and all the revenue-expense responsibilities that go with it) like Qualicum Beach and Parksville.
Next up we have Qualicum Beach town council, which marches to the beat of its own drum most of the time regardless of the issue. Recently, led by the comments of Coun. Dave WIllie (who, incidentally, is the town’s representative on the RDN board), this council has been publicly questioning the land-use decisions of the RDN.
Most recently, Qualicum Beach town council put the brakes on what seemed like a housekeeping issue to align its OCP with the RDN’s Regional Growth Strategy. It seems this council believes it should look twice at its alignments with the RDN in terms of growth and development, going so far to say it doesn’t believe the RDN even follows its own guidelines.
Whether these are small blips in the relationship between local elected officials and the RDN, or a sign of big changes to come, is uncertain.
We believe the time is ripe for the discussion, at least, because we also believe less government is a good idea at all levels.
— Editorial by John Harding