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Questioning SCRD representation

Questioning SCRD representation

Sechelt Councillor Matt McLean was unsuccessful in his call to review how regional board directors from the municipality are selected. At a council meeting on Dec. 3, McLean introduced a motion that asked for a staff report on the feasibility of including a “double direct election” survey on the 2022 municipal election ballot.
A double direct election is one in which an individual is elected to two political offices in one electoral event. The change would require those running for elected office in the District of Sechelt to consider whether they also want to be on the SCRD board when they put their name forward as a candidate. Currently, the mayor appoints Sechelt’s two regional board representatives, with the endorsement of council.
McLean said he felt that a review was warranted, as “Sechelt citizens deserve a more direct avenue of appointing representatives to the SCRD board.” He noted that the regional board makes decisions on key issues, including water, recreation, solid waste and transit for Sechelt and the entire Coast. He stated that the City of Victoria and the District of Saanich provide their citizens with the opportunity to vote for both municipal and regional representatives. “The proposed change would make appointments of SCRD reps more accountable to citizens,” said McLean.
In debating McLean’s motion, Councillor Tom Lamb said he did not think the proposal was a good idea. Lamb said that he felt that the timing was not right for this initiative and that he was “struggling” with the amount of work that council was directing to staff. Councillor Alton Toth expressed concern about the need to “move something off” staff work plans to have the report on this issue completed.
Councillor Eric Scott was also opposed, stating, “I’m not a keener on this one.” In his view, requiring Sechelt council candidates to declare if they were also willing to serve on the SCRD board might deter people from running for office.
The discussion prompted Councillor Lamb to express his support for moving to a single local government for the Coast. He suggested that having one government on the Coast with the District of Sechelt having two seats on the elected board was a “yahoo” moment for him.
McLean was undaunted when his motion was defeated, stating that the discussion was “an important part of democracy.” Connie Jordison

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