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Nohr: Annual coastal networking meeting well worth it

Nohr: Annual coastal networking meeting well worth it

ColumnHead-GarryNohrSeveral Sunshine Coast elected officials attended the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) conference in Campbell River, April 7–9. This was an opportunity to network with other elected officials from Vancouver Island and to tour facilities in the host community that might give them ideas to take back to their own communities. There was an opportunity for rural area directors to meet as a group and exchange views on mutual concerns. It seems that each of the rural areas on Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast have been working on the same problems, such as: maintaining forest jobs, paving and snow removal on rural roads, control of watersheds, trail use, and access on Crown and private forest lands. A resolution came out of this meeting to request that the provincial government form a MOTI advisory group made up of representatives from each regional district to have input into any new road maintenance contracts.

There were workshops on possible new marijuana rules, support for provincial funding for removal and disposal of invasive plants, and discussions on next steps regarding derelict vessel legislation at the federal government level. The AVICC members unanimously passed a resolution to support a motion by a Member of Parliament from Nanaimo to be presented in Ottawa to deal with derelict vessels.

SCRD board members put a resolution on the convention floor to have the Agriculture Land Commission change one of the rules for breweries that currently requires that 50 per cent of their product be grown on their land. The change suggests that the quota required must be grown in BC. This change would help local establishments here on the Coast. The next step is to get support at Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) this fall.

The assembly also passed a resolution that the provincial government return to funding 20 per cent of library budgets, instead of the current  five per cent.

UBCM staff presented a report about creating the position of Integrity Commissioner, an official that would be responsible for helping local governments maintain democratic governance. People from different Vancouver Island communities spoke on the poor behaviour of some elected officials in their areas, and how this is affecting their council meetings. If implemented, this Integrity Commissioner proposal could change elected official rules in 2018. One of the suggestions is to require newly elected officials to attend an orientation program covering the rules and requirements of holding office. Each councillor/director would have to sign and obey a code of conduct. Disruptive behaviour is not the way of elected officials here on the Coast, but is a real problem in some other areas of the province.

Please contact me at 604-741-2427 or e-mail me at garry.nohr@scrd.ca if you wish to discuss SCRD programs or plans.

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