What is a Minor Amendment and how does it differ from a regular amendment?
As a bylaw that must be adopted by the RDN Board, the Regional Growth Strategy can be amended in one of two ways, through a regular amendment process or through a minor amendment process. The regular amendment process is outlined in Part 25 of the Local Government Act and clearly outlines specific steps and timelines that must be followed. This is generally a lengthy process because of the legislative requirements. Unlike a regular amendment, the criteria for determining what qualifies as a minor amendment and the process for approving a minor amendment is set by the RDN. The minor amendment process is intended to be less onerous and quicker than the regular amendment process. The criteria and process for a minor amendment can be seen here - Section 1.5.1
Why does a change to the Minor Amendment criteria have to go through the regular RGS amendment process?
The Local Government Act specifically excludes certain types of amendments from being considered as minor amendments and this includes amendments to the process for minor amendments. Changing the criteria for a minor amendment requires the RDN to go through the regular RGS amendment process.
What qualifies as a minor amendment to the RGS?
There are only four types of amendments that can qualify as minor amendments:
- Amendments resulting from a full Electoral Area or Municipal Official Community Plan review process;
- Text and map amendments required to correct errors or as a result of more accurate information being received;
- Amendments to incorporate changes to tables, figures, grammar, or numbering that do not alter the intent of the Regional Growth Strategy; and
- Addition or deletion, or amendment to Section 5.4 Key Indicators.
Any other kind of amendment has to go through the regular amendment process.
Why is a change to the RGS Minor Amendment Criteria needed?
The minor amendment criteria are currently divided into two categories: types of amendments that are considered minor and types of amendments that are not considered minor. The RDN Board indicated that they had two concerns with interpreting the Criteria for Minor Amendments. The first concern of the Board was that it was not clear whether the types of amendments considered minor and the types of amendments that are not considered minor were meant to be considered together. The way in which the RGS was formatted left some uncertainty about amendments that included those situations that were listed as amendments not considered minor.
The main focus of the concern appeared to be over land in the Agricultural Land Reserve. One of the types of amendments not considered minor is "those that include land in the Agricultural Land Reserve or will negatively impact agricultural lands."
The second concern had to do with the meaning of "a full Electoral Area or Municipal Official Community Plan Review Process". This was a concern because of uncertainty over what is meant by a full OCP review process.
A change is needed to clarify that if a full OCP review process is completed then the criteria for the types of amendments not considered minor will not apply.
What is proposed to change?
The proposal is to change the text at the beginning of the list of criteria for what is not considered a minor amendment from:
Although not considered as an exhaustive list, the following types of amendments are not considered minor:
Although not considered as an exhaustive list, the following types of amendments are not considered minor unless they have been contemplated as part of a full official community plan review process:
A copy of the proposed change can be seen here
How does the proposed change provide clarity?
The proposed changes will help to clarify that the list of amendments not considered minor do not apply if a full OCP review process has been done and that each of the types of amendments has been contemplated as part of that OCP review process. The proposed change addresses both concerns as it clarifies that the criteria for what is considered minor and the criteria for what is not considered minor can be read separately and it provides a minimum set of items that must be considered for a full OCP review process. The proposed change makes it clear that as long as the five types of amendments not considered minor have been contemplated as part of a full OCP review process, then an OCP review would qualify as a minor amendment.
Why is the community not consulted before the RDN Board decided to proceed with the amendment?
The process to amend the RGS is outlined in the Local Government Act. The first step in the process to amend the RGS is for the RDN Board to adopt a resolution that it intends to consider a change to the RGS. If the RDN Board decides to consider a change to the RGS, as it did at the October, 2015 Board meeting, then the next step is for the RDN Board to adopt a consultation plan. A consultation plan was also adopted at the October 2015 Board meeting. The consultation plan must state how its citizens, affected local governments, first nations, school district boards, greater boards and improvement district boards, and the Provincial and federal governments and their agencies will be consulted. Community consultation follows adoption of the consultation plan.