Just over a year ago in this space, we wrote with optimism concerning the then-aspirational Local Community Commission (LCC).
We predicted that, despite our initial skepticism that the LCC could deliver little better than the status quo, its unique — and necessarily broad — perspective, spanning what were then multiple commissions, could pave a path to real action on Salt Spring issues by eliminating the “silos” inherent in separate commissions each having their own independent mandates.
It is premature to issue a “report card” on the new LCC after just three meetings, but we note with satisfaction those silos have seemingly vanished already, and our commissioners, speaking so far with unanimity, are certainly interested in action.
As examples, we watched the commission receive a report on improving active transportation, immediately moving to get balls rolling on the “to do” list it proposed. We listened as they considered the plan options presented for Portlock Park’s renovation, and approved putting them out for public consideration without sending them back for additional revision.
And we heard as they laid out plans to use whatever authority they may have to combat the affordable housing crisis, including putting pressure on the government of B.C. to include Salt Spring in its speculation and vacancy tax.
They’ve politely, but insistently, pressed for two monthly meetings instead of one. They’ve pressed to schedule one of those meetings in the evening, rather than always during the work day. They are seeking authority to re-design the agenda format to include a proper public comment period. And they’ve asked CRD staff to explore how the commission can expand its delegated authority to include services not thus far on the LCC’s administrative plate.
This new commission is acting its age, in all the best ways. Young things “ping” their surroundings, searching out — and pushing against — the boundaries of their worlds. It is, to extend the metaphor, developmentally appropriate for the LCC to seemingly test the patience of the broader district and indeed the province to whom it advocates on behalf of Salt Spring Island.
It would seem that our optimism has so far been well-placed. We look forward to seeing what these actions may deliver.