2013 Budget and Financial Plan

2013 Budget and Financial Plan

An Update on the Regional District of Nanaimo 2013 Budget and Financial Plan

Local governments in BC are required to prepare budget forecasts covering a five-year horizon. This newsletter provides an overview of the Regional District of Nanaimo’s 2013 proposed budget, the first year of the 2013-2017 financial plan. Operating costs, services, and projects in the budget reflect the RDN Board of Directors’ commitment to its 2013-2015 Board Strategic Plan, Working Together for a Resilient Future.

Get Informed

The RDN Board has reviewed the proposed financial plan, and will introduce a bylaw to adopt the plan at the Committee of the Whole meeting on March 12, 2013.

Adoption of the plan is scheduled for March 26, 2013, at the RDN Board Meeting. Both of these meetings are open to the public.

Next Steps

March 12 - 7pm
Committee of the Whole Meeting

March 26 - 7pm
Regional Board Adopts the Plan

Regional District of Nanaimo Board Chambers
6300 Hammond Bay Road, Nanaimo

More Information

Strategic Plan Highlights – Budget Priorities

The Regional District of Nanaimo’s 2013-2015 Board Strategic Plan contains four priorities: Self Sufficiency, Economic Viability, Regional Collaboration, and Monitoring and Communication. In addition to these priorities, the Board Strategic Plan includes a set of values intended to ensure a consistent and objective approach to decision making.

A Board Value in the 2013-2015 Strategic Plan is Show Fiscal Restraint. This means that through the annual budget cycle, Directors will ensure prudent use of taxpayer dollars, focusing on delivering the services expected by residents as efficiently as possible.

By dedicating its efforts and financial planning to these four priority areas, and maintaining a commitment to its core values, the Board is building a diverse, resilient region where all residents can access nature, find comfort and pursue opportunity. Following is a summary of goals

The Regional Federation

The Regional Federation The Regional District of Nanaimo is a federation of four municipalities and seven electoral areas working together on key issues. The success of this collaborative regional approach is evident in the operation of the region’s public transit system, wastewater treatment and solid waste management facilities, recreation and regional parks services and regional growth management initiatives. To guide these services the RDN has adopted master planning documents including a Corporate Climate Change Plan, a Regional Growth Strategy, Liquid and Solid Waste Management Plans and a Drinking Water/Watershed Protection Action Plan.

The RDN Board’s strategic priorities for 2013-2015 reflect an evolution from a focus on sustainability to one of regional resilience. Integral to these strategic priorities are the concepts of taking responsibility for our own success, adapting to change, planning to meet long-term needs, and monitoring our progress as we strive to reach our goals. Key to this are continued support for our two new Economic Development functions (one funded in the North and one funded in the South) and the participation of Nanaimo, Parksville, Qualicum Beach and Lantzville in the Drinking Water/Watershed Protection (DWWP) function.

Municipal participation in DWWP strengthens this service which plays an increasingly important role in the areas of research and awareness about water resources in the Regional District. As signatories to the Climate Action Charter, the RDN and all member municipalities committed to achieving carbon neutral operations for 2012 and beyond.

Since 2011, the RDN and the member municipalities have successfully implemented region-wide curbside collection and diversion of household organic waste. Working together, this program has kept almost 10,000 tonnes of food waste out of the regional landfill, eliminating thousands of tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

As a result, the commitment to achieve carbon neutral operations has been met for the RDN, the District of Lantzville, the City of Parksville and the Town of Qualicum Beach. The City of Nanaimo has also made considerable progress, neutralizing over 3,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

Strategic and Community Development

Strategic and Community Development In 2012, the RDN completed and adopted its first-ever region-wide Agricultural Area Plan. Members of the public are encouraged to visit www.growingourfuture.ca to view the Plan and to access additional background information and documentary videos. The RDN will be working through 2013 to prioritize Agricultural Area Plan implementation actions.

A first draft of the Cedar Main Street Village Plan is now complete and available for public review. This Draft Plan is a work in progress and is based on the results of the community design charrette held in 2012. Community consultation for this important Village Plan will continue throughout 2013. Residents of the area are encouraged to watch for upcoming meeting dates and other opportunities to participate in the planning process, and/or to review the draft and submit comments by email to cedarmainstreet@rdn.bc.ca.

Work is continuing on the Affordable Housing Action Plan. Meeting regional housing needs requires an integrated and collaborative approach including other levels of government (Federal, Provincial and First Nations) and the numerous non-profits currently working to address housing issues in the RDN. As part of this process, we have updated the Affordable Housing section of the RDN website to make it easier for those seeking suitable housing to find the resources they need. To view this section of the website, visit www.rdnhousing.ca. The web pages are a work in progress and will be updated as new ideas and information are brought forward.

Another key Strategic and Community Development initiative is the Alternative Forms of Rural Development project. A study completed in 2012 provides a selection of options for rural residential development for the RDN’s electoral area communities to consider. These options, if implemented, will provide land owners and developers with more choices for rural residential development that is intended to result in less rural sprawl, reduce fragmentation of ecological systems and maintain important rural viewscapes. The options from the Alternative Forms of Rural Development project will now be used to inform future changes to official community plans to support alternate approaches to development.

Transportation and Solid Waste

Transportation and Solid Waste Transportation and Solid Waste Services play a key role in the Strategic Plan vision, and progress in both areas will be highly visible this year. The Regional Transit System currently reaches from Cedar in the south to Bowser in the north. Supported by Provincial cost sharing, an additional 5,000 hours of service will be added to the schedule at the beginning of March. There will be significant improvements to frequency and connections between Parksville, Qualicum Beach and the City of Nanaimo.

The Regional District is proud to have completed its second year of food waste collection in the region’s Electoral Areas and the municipalities of Lantzville, Parksville and Qualicum Beach. Collection of food waste is helping the Regional District of Nanaimo meet its target of 70 per cent diversion of waste from the Regional Landfill. This year the department will expand the commercial food waste ban to include front-of-operation food waste collection systems at fast food restaurants and cafeterias.

The oldest part of the Regional Landfill will eventually become a public nature park, the first of its kind on a working landfill in BC. The first phase is scheduled for construction this year and is expected to be complete in the fall of 2013.

Regional and Community Utilities

Regional and Community Utilities The RDN’s Observation Well Network Expansion initiative under the Drinking Water and Watershed Protection program received $221,625 in grant funding from the Towns for Tomorrow program in 2011. The objective of this project is to drill additional monitoring wells in the RDN to add to the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operation (MFLNRO) observation well network. The well drilling was broken into three phases. The first phase was completed in 2011, adding three wells to the network. The second phase was completed in January 2013, adding three more wells. The third phase will add four final wells and will be completed by March 2013.

The Nanoose Bay peninsula and French Creek portions of the Regional District share in the costs of developing a bulk water system. The City of Parksville, Town of Qualicum Beach, the Nanoose Bay peninsula and French Creek cost-shared in the construction of a dam on Mt. Arrowsmith in the late 1990’s. In 2011 the Englishman River Water Service (ERWS) joint venture was established between the City of Parksville and the Regional District areas. The costs of building a new water intake and bulk water treatment plant on the Englishman River will be shared, with Parksville contributing 74 per cent and the RDN contributing 26 per cent. The joint venture recently received an Innovations Gas Tax program grant to provide $1.3 million to help with the costs of detailed design work on an aquifer storage and recovery system.

If successful the underground storage of river water during high winter flow periods will reduce the size of the future treatment plant and provide further stability to flows for fisheries on the Englishman River. The estimated cost of the intake, water treatment plant and aquifer storage project in today’s dollars is $37.5 million with a projected completion date of 2016.

Important changes occurred this year in the Drinking Water & Watershed Protection service. The service was established in 2008 and received funding from the Region’s seven Electoral Areas. In 2012 the City of Nanaimo, District of Lantzville, City of Parksville and the Town of Qualicum Beach also began to contribute to the service. Over time, parcel tax rates for all areas will level out at $8 per property.

An update of the Liquid Waste Management Plan will be completed in 2013. In this master document the Nanaimo wastewater treatment plant is scheduled for upgrading to secondary treatment as mandated by the Province commencing in 2016. The project is estimated at $61 million and will be financed by a combination of development cost charges and long term debt.

Recreation and Parks

Recreation and Parks The guiding principles for the Recreation and Parks Department are to continue to focus on offering a wide range of parks and outdoor recreation opportunities, conservation and wildlife protection, and providing facilities to meet the physical, social, cultural and health needs of residents.

The Regional District’s two recreation facilities, Oceanside Place Multiplex/Arena in Parksville and the Ravensong Aquatic Centre in Qualicum Beach are well used by residents in District 69. There were 21,000 admissions to skating sessions at Oceanside Place in 2012 in addition to ice and dry floor rentals, while Ravensong Aquatic Centre welcomed almost 90,000 members of the public to swim sessions and achieved very healthy enrolment in the many swimming lessons and programs at the facility.

A milestone is approaching with the 10-year Anniversary of Oceanside Place this Fall. Watch for special events and programs in celebration of this community facility.

In 2013 the Department will continue to work on integrated health initiatives in District 69 with the Vancouver Island Health Authority. Also in District 69 the implementation of recommendations from the Youth Strategic Plan (2011-2015) will continue, including the creation of a new interactive youth social media website which will be youth-friendly in design and application.

The RDN manages a total of 12 regional parks covering 2,061 hectares, as well as 180 Electoral Area Community Parks covering 589 hectares. In January 2013 the RDN Board approved Regional Park Management Plans for Moorecroft Regional Park and Little Qualicum River Regional Park. In 2013 the focus at Moorecroft will be to remove the remaining unsafe buildings at the site, begin upgrades to Kennedy Hall and remove invasive plant species from the park.

Park plans underway for 2013 include the Community Parks and Trails Strategy for Electoral Areas E,F, G and H and the development of a management plan for Benson Creek Falls Regional Park, home of the popular Ammonite Falls.

In the Electoral Area Community Park System, three comprehensive park developments are underway this year, improvements to Henry Morgan Community Park near Bowser in Electoral Area H, improvements to Meadowood Way Community Park in Electoral Area F and construction of the Cedar Skateboard and Bike Park in Electoral Area A, adjacent to Cedar Secondary Community School.