Monday, March 4, 2024
March 4, 2024

Viewpoint: CRD bylaw process flawed


Many thanks to all those people who’ve been writing in the past few weeks, attempting to alert islanders to this vague CRD Bylaw 4325 being promoted by Gary Holman and friends in Ganges.

The law’s preamble states:

A.) Under the Local Government Act a regional district may operate any service the regional board considers necessary and desirable.

B.) The Capital Regional District may provide assistance for the purpose of benefitting the community or any aspect of the community.

The bylaw goes on to give the CRD the authority to largely duplicate services we’re already paying other levels of government to provide. It also opens the door to many ill-defined other services/needs which can be included later in this vaguely worded document.

Somehow I don’t see this tax bite being held at the cup of coffee levels as promoters have suggested.

Some of you may have noticed that on Salt Spring many of our existing laws are completely ignored with impunity by officials when it suits them. Or that our laws can be easily amended later without requiring a public vote.

I recently attended the CRD office to get a few copies of the bylaw for my household and was refused. CRD staff has been instructed to only give out one copy per person.

That’s a nice way to keep the numbers down. Screw the shut-ins, non-computer friendly residents and those who are absent or don’t read the Driftwood. They have no idea this process is even happening.

Those of you like myself who aren’t up to speed should know this Bylaw 4325 has already received three readings. All that is required for passage is your inattention.

In my opinion, this law is just the tip of a very big wedge. The CRD and friends have written themselves a blank cheque and signed your name to it. They are now standing at the teller’s wicket hoping you’ll be too uninformed, busy or distracted to act.

Don’t think because you’re a renter you’ll exempt from these costs. Some of the unacknowledged factors making housing unaffordable are the local government’s imposed services, fees and taxes.

Another concern I have is that even if you do vote, your response will be taken off Island to be controlled by the CRD, who have created and stand to profit from this law. How would we know if their count is even legitimate? 

Your vote — the elector response form — has to be in the CRD office in Victoria by Dec. 9, according to the law. It can also be returned to the CRD office on McPhillips Avenue in Ganges.

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  1. My concern is that every vote is tied to a legal name and Salt Spring Island address. Granted, those collecting votes have to know who’s sending theirs in, but to have the vote AND identity together every submitted form subverts the secret-ballot norm of democratic voting.

    There should be two documents to submit: a ballot, with no identifying information, and the ID page. They could be linked by a shared number, if need be, but no one counting votes should see any names.

  2. Politicians use these Alternative Approval Processes as handy little gateway tax increase tools and they essentially work because a No vote requires more voter effort than normal and the Yes vote is presumed based on the erroneous notion that 100% turned out to vote and they certainty NEVER do. I think of them as “Apathy Approved Processes” which are often incideously floated during months when many people affected have left the island. Make the effort if you can, on principle if not the issue, the threshold to defeat an AAP is 10% of a purely hypothetical 100% participation… 900 No votes?


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