2014 Budget and Financial Plan

2014 Budget and Financial Plan

An Update on the Regional District of Nanaimo 2014 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 2014 proposed budget, the first year of the 2014-2018 financial plan. Operating costs, services, and projects in the budget reflect the RDN Board of Directors' commitment to its 2013 to 2015 Board Strategic Plan, Working Together for a Resilient Future.

Get Informed

The RDN Board has reviewed the proposed financial plan, and will make recommendations regarding a bylaw to adopt the plan at the Committee of the Whole meeting on March 11, 2014.

Adoption of the plan is scheduled for March 25, 2014, at the RDN Board Meeting. Both of these meetings are open to the public.

Next Steps

March 11th at 7pm
Committee of the Whole Meeting

March 25th at 7pm
Regional District of Nanaimo 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 Board's 2013 – 2015 Strategic Plan outlines four strategic priorities to guide the organization: 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.

Following is a summary of goals that the Board has already attained or will continue to work towards in 2014.

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 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 to 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. In 2014, our Economic Development services will continue to provide funds to support efforts across the region to emphasize our community's attractiveness to all types of commercial enterprises. Electoral Areas A, B and C will continue to contribute to the City of Nanaimo's Economic Development Corporation, while in District 69, distribution of funds are overseen by a Board committee comprised of the representatives for Parksville, Qualicum Beach and Electoral Areas E, F, G and H.

Strategic and Community Development

Strategic and Community Development Implementation of the Regional Growth Strategy continued in 2013 with a number of projects being initiated and/or completed. To ensure that each of the RDN's member municipalities' official community plans is consistent with the Regional Growth Strategy, municipalities are required to submit a Regional Context Statement for acceptance by the RDN Board. All were accepted by January of 2014.

Two major studies were completed in 2013, a study on the viability of the RDN's Rural Village Centres and an Industrial Land Supply and Demand Study. Work was also initiated on a RGS Monitoring project that involves the setting of targets and identification of indicators. Monitoring progress is part of being “accountable for our decisions and actions”, one of the sustainability principles that the RGS is founded on. The Board has approved a Terms of Reference for the project which for 2014 will include confirmation of proposed targets and indicators before finalizing the monitoring program.

With assistance from the Agricultural Advisory Committee, Planning staff conducted an assessment of the Agricultural Area Plan to identify which of the dozens of recommendations could be implemented within the next few years. In 2014 Planning staff will be focusing on education and awareness activities, an assessment of RDN bylaws and policies, and other actions that may arise out of meetings with stakeholders.

Following a comprehensive community engagement process, the Regional District of Nanaimo Board adopted the Cedar Main Street Village Plan at its regular meeting held September 24, 2013. The Plan includes policies and guidelines applicable to land use, community design, transportation and mobility, parks and recreation, and servicing. It also identifies desirable improvements within the community.

Following the completion of a background study on secondary suites as a form of housing in the RDN's Electoral Areas A, C, E, F, G and H, the RDN Board approved a Secondary Suites Consultation Plan at its May 28th, 2013 meeting. Bylaw amendments were drafted and are now available for community comment. Please see www.rdnsecondarysuites.ca for more information and upcoming events.

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.

With BC Transit support, the Regional District is adding 25 brand new Compressed Natural Gas buses to its fleet in the beginning of March. These buses use a cheaper fuel source, reduce greenhouse gas production, and will reduce overall noise caused by transit throughout the region.

The Regional District is proud to have completed its third 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 Regional Solid Waste Management Plan Phase 1, a review of the current waste management system, was completed in 2013. The first quarter of 2014 will see initiation of Phases 2 and 3 of the Waste Management Plan update which is a selection of the preferred waste management options and defining an implementation schedule for the service. The Regional Solid Waste Advisory Committee will play a key role in the process and will ensure that public consultation is adequate.

Regional and Community Utilities

Regional and Community Utilities In 2011 the Englishman River Water Service joint venture was established between the Regional District and the City of Parksville. The ERWS joint venture will meet the additional water capacity and improved surface water treatment required in Parksville and Nanoose Bay. The costs of building a new water intake and bulk water treatment plant on the Englishman River will be shared under the terms of the ERWS, with Parksville contributing 74 per cent and the RDN contributing 26 per cent. The joint venture was the recipient of 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 provide an alternate water supply source, reduce the size of the future treatment plant and provide further stability to flows for fisheries values on the Englishman River. The joint venture was also a recipient of a Regionally Significant Program Grant under the Gas Tax program of $400,000 towards the design of the new water intake and treatment facilities.

The estimated costs 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. A comprehensive public engagement process will be carried out in 2014 leading up to a referendum on the project in the fall.

An amendment to the RDN Liquid Waste Management Plan will be submitted to the Environment Minister for approval in 2014. In the amended Plan, the RDN proposes to upgrade the Greater Nanaimo Pollution Control Centre to secondary treatment by 2018 at a cost of $61 million, and the Nanoose Bay Pollution Control Centre to secondary treatment by 2023 at a cost of $4.1 million. The RDN is also undertaking an $18 million replacement of the marine outfall for completion by 2015. The capital projects will be financed by a combination of development cost charges, general reserves and long term debt.

The RDN pursues grant funding when grant programs are available. To date, the RDN has received $2 million in funding under the Gas Tax program towards replacement of the outfall. The RDN will continue to pursue federal and provincial grant options to fund capital projects.

Recreation and Parks

Recreation and Parks The Recreation and Parks Department continues to focus on offering a wide range of parks and outdoor recreation opportunities, conservation and wildlife protection, and providing facilities, programs and initiatives 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 Ravensong Aquatic Centre in Qualicum Beach are well used by residents in District 69. In 2013 there were 22,000 admissions to skating sessions at Oceanside Place in addition to 5,000 hours of ice and dry floor rentals. Ravensong Aquatic Centre welcomed close to 89,000 members of the public to swim sessions, and over 2,600 registrants enrolled in swimming lessons and programs at the facility. Over 4,600 participants registered for programs such as summer camps, afterschool programs, adult fit programs and skating lessons. This activity level translates to close to 58,000 visits by residents.

In 2014 the Department will continue to work on integrated health initiatives and the creation and promotion of programs and events that align with Active Aging, Canadian Physical Activity and Sport 4 Life guidelines and community needs/ interests. Initiatives in asset management and recreation facility sustainability will be a focus in 2014 as well. The 2014 Spring/Summer Active Living Guide will be out in March.

The RDN manages a total of 12 regional parks covering 2,082 hectares, as well as 185 Electoral Area Community Parks covering over 600 hectares.

In January 2013 the RDN Board approved a Regional Park Management Plan for Moorecroft Regional Park, and removed 19 unsafe buildings. The sites were restored with over 1,000 native plants, with help from volunteers. Park plans that were under development in 2013 included the Community Parks and Trails Strategy for Electoral Areas E, F, G and H and a management plan for Benson Creek Falls Regional Park, home of the popular Ammonite Falls.

On the Regional Trail front, great strides will be made in the development of the E&N Rail Trail. Thanks to $2.6 million from the federal Gas Tax Fund, design and engineering work will commence in 2014 for 10 kilometres of trail that will link Parksville to French Creek on the Victoria Line, and Parksville to Coombs on the Alberni Line.

In the Electoral Area Community Park System, Henry Morgan Community Park in Electoral Area H officially opened in the Fall of 2013, and the Cedar Skatepark in Electoral Area A opened for use in February with the official opening ceremony to take place this spring. In 2014 the development of Meadowood Community Park in Electoral Area F will take place, and, through Community Works funding, the detailed design of roadside trails in Electoral Area B, C and G will begin.