Editorial: AAP process undemocratic

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The Capital Regional District’s attempt to create a “safety service” for Salt Spring has garnered lots of negative attention in recent weeks, and for good reason.

The process has been flawed on many levels.

While the desire to help solve a community problem might be admirable, and the amount of money proposed to be spent in the first year will not break anyone’s bank, adding to the CRD bureaucracy and using an alternative approval process (AAP) to fund a new service was not the way to go.

Some of the money will reportedly be used to pay for CRD staff to attend and take minutes at one or more meetings. Those staff are already being paid by Salt Spring Island taxpayers. The CRD should not have to charge another CRD service — in this case the new Community Safety Service — for its staff to do jobs that islanders are already paying them to do.

Unbelievably, Ganges CRD office staff have been instructed to not give more than one copy of the Elector Response Form to an individual for distribution to other electors. That policy makes no sense since the verification of a voter’s qualifications must still be done by matching the name to a residential address or a piece of property owned by a non-resident elector. (You don’t have to be property owner to protest this bylaw; just a “qualified” voter like in any other regular election.)

The form states that it must be returned to the Victoria CRD office (the Ganges office is also fine) and that the bylaw must be attached. Neither instruction is accurate. Another serious flaw. 

We encourage island voters to either print off forms for themselves, their friends and family members from the CRD’s website or to get one from the CRD office and photocopy it.

While it is natural to feel intimidated by having government employees know one’s feeling about an issue, people should buck that fear and drop off the form at the Ganges CRD office at #108-121 McPhillips Ave. by 4 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 9. Or hurry and pop it into the mail to the CRD Victoria office on Fisgard Street, or drop it off there in person. 

Even if forms are not returned by the required 910 electors — 10 per cent of registered Salt Spring voters — if enough people do the deed, it might at least make the CRD think twice about using an AAP the next time it is looking to expand its reach and extract more money from island taxpayers to pay for it.

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