Wednesday, November 30, 2022
November 30, 2022

Local community commission referendum: a plethora of opinions

Below are letters to the editor and longer opinion submissions to recent Driftwood publications on the topic of the Salt Spring Local Community Commission.

LCC concept supported

By DARLENE GAGE

I want to add my support for the local community commission (LCC) proposal, which Salt Springers will be able to vote on during the referendum at the upcoming October elections.

As someone who is often trying to organize community projects, I’ve seen first-hand what our siloed governance system can do to a good idea. While I don’t think any government system is perfect, I do believe that having diverse voices elected to represent a variety of viewpoints, cultures, ages, economic classes and genders produces more complex thinking and decisions. Something our community and our planet desperately need right now.

I also think an LCC gets us closer to what many of us would like to see on Salt Spring — more truly “local” decisions and priorities. Diverse representation on an LCC means we’ll have more people to talk to about our needs and concerns, which then translates to direct influence on the outcomes. Is this a perfect solution? Likely not. Is it good enough for now, and safe enough to try? I say yes.

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New governance decision should not be rushed

By CHRIS DIXON

We’re being asked to consider establishing a local community commission (LCC) for Salt Spring Island, and to vote for or against the idea in October.  There’s a hitch, of course.

In the same way that voting for a new fire hall also meant quietly giving our old fire hall to the CRD, this current question isn’t just about whether we want an LCC; it is about deciding whether we want an LCC that is managed by an unelected, unaccountable CRD in Victoria. 

For me personally, the question is whether an LCC that is administered by the CRD is something I truly want. As a former CRD commissioner, I will vote no.

A recent paper authored by Linda Adams, Richard Kerr and Brian Webster suggests that we could benefit from establishing an LCC; that four locally elected CRD commissioners could deliver an enhanced level of participation in decisions that are currently made in Victoria. 

Words like “more democratic, more accessible, more streamlined, more transparent and accountable” appear early in the document, but these theoretical benefits are conditional; the issue being one of delegated authority. Success hinges on whether the CRD will actually allow people they don’t control to make decisions for themselves. How the CRD treats its commissioners is an important question.

In response to a recent governance study of the North Salt Spring Waterworks District (NSSWD), the CRD indicates that they are not prepared to delegate authority to elected local representatives of NSSWD ratepayers. How is an elected local community commission different?

The LCC report makes the distinction that LCC commissioners will be elected rather than appointed. It casts shade on appointed commissioners, (page 12), suggesting that they might “lack the time, experience or knowledge to contribute effectively to decision-making.” Really? Would the four elected LCC commissioners be drawn from a different gene pool?

At any given time, Salt Spring Island has 30 or 40 CRD commissioners; over the years, we have likely had a few hundred citizens serve our community as commissioners. This large, diverse and committed group of individuals represents a wealth of hands-on experience in dealing with the CRD.  

Hearing their opinion of the CRD would elevate today’s LCC conversation from the hypothetical to the factual. It concerns me that their voice has not been heard.

I would like to see every current and past CRD commissioner on Salt Spring formally interviewed by an intelligent, independent local person, who would then report on the issues and concerns that our CRD commissioners face. We should all have this information before we’re asked to vote.

The CRD argues that it is too expensive to have a separate referendum on the LCC idea. Based on their $7-million annual requisition spread over 50 five-day weeks, the CRD costs us something like $28,000 per day, and establishing a CRD/LCC is a decision we’ll only make once.

If a CRD/LCC is a good idea today, it will still be a good idea in three months, or six months or a year from now. Rushing to include the LCC in this next round of voting is a mistake. 

Islanders are not well served by rushing a decision of this magnitude. The LCC question should be removed from the ballot until we have good factual information to support our decision. The urgency of the current process reflects poorly on its proponents.

The writer is a former member of the CRD’s Cedar Lane Water Service Commission and a current NSSWD trustee.

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LCC too expensive

By BOB MOFFATT

One major item missing (understandably) from the recent 2023 CRD provisional budget is the cost of a local community commission (LCC).

Costs of an LCC were also missing from the discussion paper prepared by three local authors for the CRD director. Additionally, there has been no information on costs in the numerous opinion pieces appearing frequently in the Driftwood. What has been advanced is that costs will be minimal, or close to “cost neutral.”

The LCC cost details were finally outlined in a July 13, 2022 supplementary document prepared by CRD staff for the Electoral Area Services Committee during consideration of bylaws 4507 and 4508.

The preliminary estimate for additional staffing, elections, remuneration, equipment, software and reserves is the equivalent of over $14,000 a month, not including one-time costs of $60,000 for the subsequent election (if the referendum is successful). If the preliminary amount in the staff report is followed, the total amount over the first four-year term will reach close to $750,000.

This is a shocking amount for an experimental CRD commission with marginal utility and no exclusive legislative or budgetary authority while the head office of the CRD remains in Victoria.

Instead of saving or at least neutralizing costs for hard-hit taxpayers as originally proposed, an LCC could increase them significantly. There are many reasons why an LCC should be rejected, but the excessive cost to taxpayers is certainly a key one.

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Letter overstated LCC cost

By GARY HOLMAN

Recent statements regarding the taxpayer cost of an elected CRD Local Community Commission (LCC) are greatly exaggerated. Beside the one time cost of an election in 2023 (thereafter held as part of local government elections), each of the four commissioners would receive modest stipends of $10,000/year. This is justified because these commissioners will oversee 14 local CRD services, including those now administered by four appointed CRD commissions, to be dissolved. This compares to salaries of $15-$17,000 for councillors in municipalities with similar populations as Salt Spring, but who are also responsible for land use, roads and policing.

There will be some minor annual costs for commissioner laptops and software, but these costs can be largely offset by a $5,000/yr provincial grant for LCCs, and current surpluses in the CRD Director’s budget. It is premature to speculate about any additional staff support for the LCC before it is even created, particularly given staff time savings resulting from dissolving four existing CRD commissions. Finally, it is elected officials who make such decisions, and I’ve repeatedly stated I won’t support additional admin staff for the LCC.

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Ample time

By GARY HOLMAN

In his submission to the Driftwood last week, Chris Dixon urges delaying until next term the already organized referendum on an elected local community commission (LCC), despite additional taxpayer costs of $60,000. He complains we’re rushing voters, even though I announced the referendum in early January, and several published studies, including a detailed LCC discussion paper I commissioned, are publicly available.

I also formed an LCC Advisory Committee in March to consider community input and make recommendations to CRD (also publicly released) regarding the LCC. CRD published the LCC bylaws in early July, meaning that by Oct. 15, voters will have had three months to review the bylaws, and vote on them after nine months of studies, dozens of town halls/articles/editorials and lively social media and election debates.

Mr. Dixon won’t discuss the merits of an elected LCC, like increasing elected CRD representation and accountability, he’s just stalling. For the record, the CRD is proposing the same delegated authority to the LCC as for the North Salt Spring Waterworks District, but this time voters will actually get to decide.

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LCC misrepresented in Moffatt letter

By BRIAN WEBSTER

Bob Moffatt’s latest anti-LCC letter (Sept. 21 Driftwood) shows that he has run short on points to criticize the proposed Salt Spring Local Community Commission.

In March, Mr. Moffatt wrote that an LCC would be another layer of government. Untrue, as the proposal calls for it to replace four existing commissions. He suggested the CRD would never delegate significant authority to an LCC. Wrong, as the bylaws call for full administrative authority over 11 local government services (plus oversight of three others) to pass from the CRD Board to the Salt Spring LCC.

Mr. Moffatt claimed that each LCC commissioner would be paid “as much as $40,000 a year.” Nope. It’s about a quarter of that.

He said this kind of delegation was untested. Oops . . . no. The CRD has long had five other commissions with similarly delegated powers.

He even expressed concern on social media that LCC commissioners would need the same qualifications to run as an electoral area director (you need to be Canadian, at least 18, a B.C. resident for six months and not prohibited due to being in prison or other reasons). Umm . . . almost all Salt Springers meet those qualifications.

Now Mr. Moffatt has “exposed” a staff report (it’s been publicly available for more than two months) estimating costs for staff support to the LCC. That report was speculative and didn’t include savings from eliminating four current commissions. More importantly, by creating a single, elected local council with the power to set budget proposals at open public meetings (that’s what an LCC is), our community will be able to make tough budget choices out in the open, potentially generating savings far in excess of the costs estimated in the staff report.

The bottom line is that fixed costs for the LCC will include the stipend for LCC commissioners (estimated at a total of $40,000 for four local commissioners) and approximately $15,000 per year set aside to cover an election in the event of a resignation. With the $5,000 per year from the province, the total annual fixed costs of an LCC will be $50,000.

Any additional costs will need to be approved in open public meetings by the elected LCC. If commissioners don’t manage taxpayer dollars frugally, they can be tossed out of office at the next election. That’s how democracy works.

Clearly, Mr. Moffatt will find fault with any proposal other than municipal incorporation and prefers to stick with our current flawed system while waiting for another incorporation referendum.

I think most Salt Springers don’t want to wait any longer. They want to act now to bring more voices to local government decision-making, improve coordination of services and enhance local control. All of which we will get if we vote yes to a Salt Spring LCC.

The writer is a Salt Spring farmer, business owner and former PARC commissioner who helped develop the LCC discussion paper.

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Sensible choice

By DAVID BORROWMAN

I very much hope that voters will approve the proposed bylaw to establish a local community commission for Salt Spring when we go to the polls on Oct. 15.

When the Trust was created in 1974, a kind of bargain was struck between the province and southern Gulf Islands. Environmentally mandated local government would be established in the region and the islands would be separated from the standard form of municipal local government. The latter, for good or for ill, presumes endless development as the principal funder of local government. I have previously called this the municipal treadmill. Typically, local planning takes a poor back seat to economic development. The Trust area got a reprieve from that model in the Trust legislation.  But the bargain came at a cost: local government would be very narrow in scope and limited in powers. Hence the understandable wish for the additional authority, and risks and costs, which come with municipal government, from islanders who would not necessarily like to see runaway development, but would like to see greater local authority, and a wider range of locally elected representatives. We of course all know that the municipal model has been defeated at referendum, twice, most recently in 2017. 

The LCC, using existing legislation, is a sensible and logical addition of  local authority and elected representation, while keeping government small and proportional to the island.  In addition to the list of authorities it would manage, it would mean a five member panel of elected folks, who would earn the confidence of the voters and carry considerable heft within the CRD, by far our largest local government presence.

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More info wanted

By CHRIS DIXON

Gary Holman is clearly confused by my Sept. 14 opinion piece which asks for a second opinion on how a CRD/LCC might function.

I expressed no opinion on the merits of an LCC. I suggest that there is a large and experienced group of people on this island today who have insights, based on personal experience, that could clarify the relationship between CRD Victoria and commissioners on Salt Spring Island. I have asked for more information than we get from the pro-LCC cheerleaders. It would take some time and a certain integrity to collect and present this information. It might cost some money to make our LCC decision based on a broader range of facts, but it would inevitably be a better decision.

You’d think a CRD director would welcome and support a process that delivers a balanced picture of the CRD/commissioner relationship; indeed the CRD might learn as much as the electors.

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CRD needs to answer outstanding LCC questions

By CURT FIRESTONE

Everybody believes that a democratically elected government is better than an appointed government. Equally, we all know that a government without proper resources or with overly restrictive regulations has trouble truly being democratic.

The CRD’s proposed local community commission (LCC) is a new government structure for a community of over 12,000 without a municipal government. Yet, we are missing many “nuts and bolts” as we are asked to decide if the referendum fits Salt Spring Island. The proposed LCC leaves the details concerning resources and regulations for future CRD development.

Incumbent CRD director Gary Holman on several occasions said that our community would have plenty of opportunities to discuss the CRD referendum after it was adopted by the CRD Board on July 13. Now, we are one week before the advance polls open without a CRD-hosted public forum open to all residents. Therefore I have decided to ask my 10 questions in the Driftwood and I am asking the CRD to respond in next week’s Driftwood.

Karla Campbell, Salt Spring Island CRD manager, told the CRD Board that there will be one-time costs of $70,000 and on-going expenses of $168,600/year for an LCC. The two largest costs would be $106,110 for 48 hours of staff time per week and $40,000 for paying the four commissioners.

1. Will the 48 hours of available staff time come from existing Salt Spring Island staff or will the LCC commissioners be able to hire new employees to meet its staff requirements?

2. What are the five-year projections for annual fiscal increases and contingencies?

The proposed bylaw states that “The LCC shall hold a regular meeting once per month.” If so, that means the LCC will meet less often than the current four advisory commissions.

3. How can the LCC do the work of the four current commissions plus all the other newly assigned requirements with only one meeting per month?

4. Will the LCC meet at a time and place when most working members of the public may participate?

5. What happens when the LCC and staff have differing positions on an issue? Will the LCC, as elected representatives, always prevail or is the matter referred to the full CRD Board for a decision?

6. If there is an LCC vacancy, what is the provision for electing a replacement?

7. Four advisory commissions will be terminated, if we create a LCC. They consist of many volunteer commissioners with valuable expertise. May the LCC have committees, CRD staffed, whose membership includes community volunteers?

9. Gary Holman has stated that if we need addendums to the LCC bylaws, we will have another referendum for that purpose. Karla Campbell has recommended $60,000 for an election expense. Is the decision to send changes by referendum to the voters made by the CRD Board in Victoria?

10. MLA Adam Olsen announced at the Sept. 2 ASK Salt Spring gathering that he has been working with the Minister of Municipal Affairs on a “process that could honestly look at what is working on Salt Spring, what is not, and what governance solutions are possible. An outcome for Adam would be a structure in which Salt Springers align on values and priorities and have the local resources to implement many of them.”

Should our community set aside the LCC until we learn what develops from Adam’s effort assisting us in finding an improved governance structure?

I hope that Gary Holman or CRD staff will reply to these 10 questions. Those answers could help voters to better understand the nuts and bolts of the LCC referendum proposal before they vote either yes or no.

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Reasons to vote yes for a Salt Spring Local Community Commission

By RICHARD KERR

Voting “yes” to create an elected local community commission (LCC) would open the door to significant improvements in control and delivery of local government services.

If we vote for an LCC, it will have administrative authority over almost all island-wide CRD services, including parks and recreation, transit and transportation, liquid waste disposal, economic development and grants-in-aid. The existing appointed commissions for these services are advisory only. They would be replaced by an elected LCC with real decision-making powers.

The LCC would initially have authority over services with operating costs of $4.7 million and capital expenditures of $3.8 million in 2022.

The LCC would also oversee property tax amounts for the library, search and rescue, ArtSpring, and Salt Spring Arts — more than $800,000 in 2022.

The establishment bylaw would allow our CRD director to consult the LCC on any local matters, including all undelegated services.

Some current members of existing advisory commissions may run to become elected LCC commissioners. If elected, they would bring their expertise and experience. The LCC could also use the expertise of former advisory commission members and others by creating specific advisory groups. The LCC would also get advice directly from the public at regular open meetings. Such input could be encouraged by providing timely information on forthcoming decisions. An LCC could thus provide broader, locally elected decision-making informed by continued community input.

LCC commissioners could take on “portfolios” and develop expertise in specific areas (transportation, parks and recreation etc.). The LCC could assign commissioners to liaise with other organizations whose work affects its responsibilities, e.g. Islands Trust, SSI Fire-Rescue, North Salt Spring Waterworks, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and its local roads contractor, the RCMP, etc. This knowledge would be shared with fellow commissioners to guide collective decision-making in the areas of delegated authority.

The four elected LCC commissioners would each receive an annual stipend of $10,000. This $40,000 cost would be a tiny fraction of the operating and capital budgets overseen by the LCC.

Four elected LCC commissioners and our CRD director should be able to scrutinize proposed expenditures more effectively than in the past and prune lower-priority spending. With a five-member elected LCC, budgets for our CRD services will reflect broader community perspectives than having the CRD director alone making these decisions.

Consolidation of existing island-wide advisory commissions should provide significant efficiencies. Together with potential reallocation of local CRD resources, this could help offset additional administrative expenses. The province provides LCCs with $5,000 annually toward costs. Our LCC could seek a grant increase in line with its responsibilities – which would be much greater than in the smaller communities that receive such grants.

Once the LCC has proved successful in administering the initially-delegated services, it could ask the CRD Board to delegate more responsibilities. Voter approval would be required for any new services – a degree of voter control that does not exist in municipalities.

Currently, two of our most successful CRD-funded services (library and recycling) are delivered under contract with local non-profits. Under an LCC, this approach could potentially allow fire and water improvement districts to be restructured as non-profits delivering services under contract to the LCC. This would retain on-island decision-making while providing eligibility for federal and provincial grants (for which improvement districts are not eligible). Any such changes would require voter approval.

The LCC’s delegated authority should be expanded as soon as possible to include the allocation of federal gas tax funding, $1.2 million in 2021. This allocation is now effectively decided by the Salt Spring CRD director alone.

In recent decades, Salt Spring has had two referenda on municipal incorporation and both times this option was rejected. The province is unlikely to consider this again in the foreseeable future. Regardless of our views on municipal incorporation, many Salt Springers have expressed dissatisfaction with what is seen as a confusing, fragmented and sometimes inefficient delivery of local government services, combined with a lack of accessible, democratic decision-making and local control. An LCC could help address some of the current weaknesses, while avoiding concerns about municipal incorporation: excessive roads and policing costs and potential over-development.

The demands on Salt Spring’s CRD director have grown beyond the capabilities of even the most hard-working and competent individual. By sharing this load, an LCC could help us have much more effective, representative, and electorally accountable local governance. Let’s give it a try! The risks are low and the potential benefits are great.

The writer is an economist who has served on two CRD advisory commissions and as alternate electoral area director. He was also on the 1999-2002 Salt Spring Island Local Government Restructure Study Committee and was a co-author of the 2022 LCC Options and Recommendations report.

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LCC proposal should be rejected

By BOB MOFFATT

The CRD director and a few colleagues have touted the benefits of an impractical device called a local community commission (LCC). Interestingly, but not surprisingly, there has been virtually no interest from the public. 

This has led to the process resulting in the CRD’s recent approval of a referendum on Oct. 15. The process has fallen short of what might be expected of a local government undertaking. Instead of engaging an experienced third-party professional to undertake an unbiased review of an LCC, for example, three local LCC supporters were ironically given the task.

The paper omitted items that would allow residents to understand the full picture. There were no details on the costs to implement and operate an LCC. There was also no explanation on the status and functionality of the handful of LCCs in existence. And, in particular, there were no details regarding the legal relationship with their respective regional districts. 

It was also disconcerting to learn that the general public would be barred from attending or observing meetings between the advisory committee and the CRD. This was egregious and undemocratic. The public were also left in the dark about the committee’s role as there were no published terms of reference or job description. 

The facts are that residents learned what an LCC actually was on July 8, two business days before it was voted on (July 13) by the CRD board. Until then, the LCC was largely a fictional creation similar to the example in the discussion paper. 

Residents were given no notice or time to consider whether the LCC warranted a referendum or not. The enabling and delegation bylaws were rammed through the CRD board in the interests of expediency rather than respect for the interests of islanders. It was neither fair nor democratic.

The LCC is an expensive structure for what it’s supposed to be and do. It’s a commission after all, with no similarity to a municipal council as proponents frequently mention. It has no regulatory or exclusive legal authority to create bylaws for example, the most common way a municipal council is able to legislate policy to get things done. 

It also has no staff or employees or independent control over human resources such as hiring or firing. These and overall financial accountability rest with the CRD board through the chief administrative officer, not the members of the LCC. The island will continue to have one individual (the CRD director) who will remain our sole electoral representative on the 24 member CRD board.

The island is facing many complex, critical issues that will continue to escalate and impact island life and taxpayers’ pocket books. The LCC will have no hands-on control over most of these areas including the new firehall and fire/rescue services, North Salt Spring Waterworks District and associated water systems, housing, the Ganges village plans, the official community plan and of course roads, policing and land use, all the responsibility of other agencies. 

The CRD has offloaded many functional activities staff would typically be responsible for in a normal jurisdiction and that infrequently come to the attention of a governing council. Additionally, among other things, the CRD has thrown in miscellaneous functions like street lighting and determination of compensation for livestock injury by dogs. 

It makes no sense to elect four new commissioners along with the excessive costs to perform the same tasks that dozens of experienced volunteer commissioners are managing perfectly well at virtually no cost. An LCC will not save taxpayers a dime or deliver services more effectively than they are now. 

An LCC has very little to do with the critical features of island governance and will end up serving as a sandbox for a handful of elected officials to play at governance. It’s an amateurish, costly distraction not fit for purpose for a large electoral area with 12,000 residents. I urge residents to reject it on Oct. 15. 

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An important island decision

By MARY RICHARDSON

How very fortunate I feel to have the chance to say my two cents about the upcoming Salt Spring election on Oct. 15. Many of you will have heard about the new option for governance we have: a local community commission. For what it’s worth, I think it’s the right choice for our island.

After five years as chair of the CRD Liquid Waste Commission (LWC), and a couple of years as alternate director for Gary Holman, I think an LCC could go a long way toward helping manage how we govern.

Perhaps the biggest advantage I see is the wider perspective that the five commissioners will have. As chair of the LWC, I had no idea what the other commissions were doing, or how much work the staff had on their plates related to the other commissions. This meant that I didn’t know what was fair to expect the staff to do and what sort of timeline made sense.

Most people don’t realize that LWC commissioners are trying to implement a way to save hundreds of thousands of dollars yearly by treating or dewatering our septic sludge rather than shipping it all off island. Our commission obviously thinks this should be a priority, but we aren’t aware of all the other issues that need to be dealt with. Because the LCC will be on top of ALL the projects on Salt Spring, they can view the larger picture and decide the priorities for staff to implement.

Another advantage will be the chance for more public input. For example, our LWC only meets twice a year, and rarely does the public attend. With the LCC meeting monthly and discussing lots of issues, hopefully the public will be more interested in participating. If more taxpayers attend the monthly meetings there can be greater involvement at the citizen level.

Please become informed and add your vote on Oct. 15.

The writer is alternate CRD director and chair of the SSI Liquid Waste Commission.

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Former CRD manager voting yes

By KEES RUURS

As a former senior employee of the Capital Regional District, I am well aware of the shortcomings of the current governance system of the CRD.

As the residents of Salt Spring Island have recently twice rejected an incorporation referendum, becoming a municipality will not be an option for years to come. I believe that a local community commission is the next best thing and certainly an improvement over the current system.

I will be voting “yes” on the LCC referendum question in the local election this week.

The writer is the former senior manager for the CRD on Salt Spring.


We can do better

By WAYNE GLOVER

From the time of the governance working group established four years ago, I have watched as the concept of a local community commission (LCC) for Salt Spring has been developed, improved and adapted for use here. This is a genuine opportunity for Salt Springers to make a significant improvement to the way that services are provided and in how we are governed.

A large portion of our tax dollars goes to the CRD for the provision of services on Salt Spring. It does not make sense to me that decisions about the expenditure of millions of taxpayer dollars are largely overseen by one individual — our CRD director — with many of these decisions made out of the eye of the community. A Salt Spring LCC will expand that decision-making base to five fully elected members (a CRD director and four local commissioners) where these decisions will be made in open meetings. Decisions will be made by consensus or majority vote. There is no veto power in the model that Salt Spring is being asked to support.

One thing that Salt Springers can agree on is that the current system is very flawed. There are priorities that are not within the scope of the existing volunteer commissions. Too many important projects — like the long-stalled harbour walk — simply fall through the cracks of the current siloed system. An LCC will collaboratively make island-wide action priorities in open meetings that will welcome Islanders’ input as it is overseeing expenditures.

It is time to bring decision making about local Salt Spring services into the open. It is time for all Salt Springers to have more of a say in the priorities here in our community. As I work in my volunteer capacities with various organizations on island, I will know where to go to have my issues addressed. It is a step in the right direction to fixing what is currently wrong.

If you are happy with the status quo, then a no vote is the choice you will make. If you think that we can do better in addressing our own issues, you really have to vote YES to the LCC.

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Flaws can be fixed

By DARRYL MARTIN

During the years I served as alternate to CRD director Wayne McIntyre I gained some insight into how the current CRD system works, and saw some major flaws. I strongly support the coming referendum for a local community commission (LCC) as it would help fix those flaws.

One flaw is that the numerous separate commissions can make recommendations for action, but local CRD staff, led by someone who lives elsewhere, set priorities. That is, they make the decision on which actions will get done in a particular year and which won’t. The LCC would have the power to set priorities for the staff, a huge improvement.

Another flaw is that with only one elected position available it is impossible to have both a man and a woman making the decision; or a north-ender and a south-ender. A five-person LCC would make it possible to fix that, and elect a more diverse group.

The third flaw is that the single director is not allowed to have any help reporting to him/her directly, so when the interest of staff and the interest of islanders diverge, it is one individual up against a large well-funded bureaucracy. The LCC would make a dent in that problem by providing four elected people to help research and think through the myriad of issues that we face.

One other point: I am confident that the newly LCC commissioners would recognize the value of the expertise of our volunteers. They would quickly set up informal groups to retain their incredible knowledge without the encumbrances and costs of the current staff-supported commission system.

The writer is former alternate CRD director and past chair of the CRD economic development commission.

1 COMMENT

  1. Darlene Gage, why go halfway? You are right it is difficult to get things done when work is done is siloes.
    A super committee with CRD staff being the ultimate bosses is a lame bandaid. Why waste money on CRD when the commissions it replaces simply ups the local tax bill and gets nowhere near the consolidation required to reverse the silo dysfunction.
    Chris Dixon’s opinion is bang on…more overlord control, increased taxes and lack of community input and information.
    Bob Moffatt opinion the voice of reason.
    Gary Holman opinions are tired and rooted in the past. Still unable to grasp that local control of roads is better waiting for emergency repairs and at half the cost the fire tax req. it is not dire as he bemoans, repeatedly.
    Trying to pretend that inner LCC cadre is broad engagement.
    Brian Webster opinion as the author of this weak bandaid solution is tiresome as well. Unable to grasp that choice is always best, appealing to all Salt Springers for their opinion is democratic.
    David Borrowman opinion rooted in the trust rhetoric. Unable to grasp the trust needs restructure too…it is inefficient and unable to even write a bloody policy statement that stays in its actual lane.
    Another Gary opinion playing with words, listening but clearly not hearing.
    Kurt Firestone opinion asks good questions but is unable to tie the pieces together. Restructure, it is time all of our silos are failing us.
    Richard Kerr opinion our senior tired politician needs help, why not try a bandaid. lol
    Thankfully another voice of reason by Bob Moffatt.

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