Electoral Area F - Leanne Salter

Electoral Area F - Leanne Salter

Coombs, Hilliers, Errington, Whiskey Creek, Meadowood

 
Leanne Salter
Director Leanne Salter
Phone: 250-248-8097
leanne.salter [at] rdn.bc.ca (leanne[dot]salter[at]rdn[dot]bc[dot]ca)
Electoral Area F
Cathedral Grove

Electoral Area Governance and Services Study Update

May 2023

On May 9, 2023, the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) Board passed three motions in support of the Electoral Area F Governance and Services Study Committee's recommendation:

"1. That the Board receive the Electoral Area F Governance and Services Study Final Report, dated April 2023.

2. That the Board endorse the Electoral Area F Study Committee's recommendation to proceed with an incorporation study.

3. That the Board submit a request to the Minister of Municipal Affairs for approval and funding of an incorporation study for Electoral Area F."

A request to undertake the Electoral Area F Governance and Services Study was submitted to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs by the RDN Board in November 2020. The purpose of this study was to gather information about current governance and service deliver in Area F, to get feedback from the community about their interests, priorities, and challenges, and to identify opportunities for improvement. The Province provided a grant of $60,000 towards the cost of the study.

The study encompassed all of Area F which includes the communities of Coombs, Hilliers, Errington, Whiskey Creek, and Meadowood and surrounding areas. A local governance and services study committee was appointed by the RDN in the spring of 2022, consisting of nine Electoral Area F residents and the Electoral Area Director as an ex officio, non-voting member.

For information about the study, engagement process timeline and findings, visit getinvolved.rdn.ca/eaf-gsstudy. Additional resources will be added as information becomes available. Area F residents are encouraged to register and subscribe to the Governance and Services Study Get Involved project page to receive future project updates.

Click here to read the news release.

Click below for additional background information.

Chronology

On October 27, 2020, the Regional District of Nanaimo Board passed the following resolution:

"That the Regional District of Nanaimo Board supports the Electoral Area F desire to have a Governance and Services Study completed in respect of the Electoral Area and requests that the Province of BC assist with funding the study and provide support developing the terms of reference; and

That staff be directed to forward correspondence to the Governance and Structure Branch of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing communicating the Board’s support for a Governance and Services Study in Electoral Area F and the request for funding / provincial resourcing for the study."

On November 3, 2020, the RDN Chair wrote to the Governance and Structure Branch of the Province of B.C.’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs outlining the RDN Board’s request.

On March 18, 2021, the Electoral Area F Director and Alternate Director, together with RDN staff, met virtually with provincial Ministry of Municipal Affairs staff to share information and discuss next steps.

On March 31, 2021, further details were provided to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, as requested by the Ministry. The RDN has since responded to subsequent Ministry requests for more information as this file is prepared for Ministerial review.

On May 18, 2022, the Electoral Area F Governance and Services Study Committee held its first meeting. At this Inaugural meeting, committee members selected a Chair and Vice Chair and were introduced to the Study consultants Allan Neilson and Sherry Hurst, in addition to learning about the purpose and process of the Governance and Services Study now underway.

Public engagement took place between November 2022 and January 2023. Community engagement materials were created and mailed to every Electoral Area F resident. Area residents has the opportunity to provide feedback through surveys and by attendance at public open houses hosted throughout the various community centers throughout Electoral Area F.

On April 26, 2023, the Study consultants presented their findings through the Regional District of Nanaimo Electoral Area F Governance and Services Study Final Report. At the final meeting of the Study Committee, members reviewed the final report, considered options, and decided on a recommendation to the RDN Board.

On May 9, 2023, the Study Committee Chair and Study consultants presented their findings and the final report to the RDN Board for consideration. At the meeting, the Board passed the following three motions in support of the Electoral Area F Governance and Services Study Committee's recommendation:

"1. That the Board receive the Electoral Area F Governance and Services Study Final Report, dated April 2023.

2. That the Board endorse the Electoral Area F Study Committee's recommendation to proceed with an incorporation study.

3. That the Board submit a request to the Minister of Municipal Affairs for approval and funding of an incorporation study for Electoral Area F."

On May 30, 2023, the RDN's Chief Administrative Officer sent a letter to the Minister of Municipal Affairs, requesting the Minister's approval and funding for an in-depth study of the feasibility of incorporation for Electoral Area F, and its potential cost to the taxpayer. The results of the study would provide residents with the information needed to make a fully informed decision about the future governance structure in Area F.

General Information on Governance and Services Studies, Incorporation Studies and Boundary Reviews

The approach of the Province of BC's Ministry of Municipal Affairs to local government structure changes is guided by the principles of inter-jurisdictional collaboration and broad consultation. Incorporation is significant, costly and time-consuming and provincial funding for such initiatives is limited. Click on the steps below to learn more about the incorporation study process, as set out by the provincial Ministry of Municipal Affairs. More information is also available on the Province's website.

Governance and Services Study

While processes may vary in each case, the first step of the formal process is usually a Governance and Services Study which provides a preliminary analysis of governance systems, services, and community issues. This study seeks to identify clearly what the community wants in terms of structure change.

Typically, an Electoral Area Director and community discuss the possibility of having a Governance and Services Study, engaging neighbouring municipalities and First Nations. This can include public meetings and community engagement. Regional Districts are encouraged to present a well-developed proposal to the provincial Ministry of Municipal Affairs showing why it is important to study governance and possible incorporation.

Once approved and underway, a Governance and Services Study can take a year or more. An external consultant would be retained to conduct the study, supported by a local committee of residents and Regional District staff. In some circumstances, lengthy communication may take place between a local government and the Minister of Municipal Affairs as a proposal is developed. If the Minister approves, the cost of such a study may be shared between the Regional District and the Province. The funding decision rests with the Minister.

Incorporation Study

If a Governance and Services Study indicates that incorporation may be an appropriate way to address local issues, and the Electoral Area Director, Regional District Board, municipalities and community are in support, the next step is an Incorporation Study.

This study examines the taxation, revenue, infrastructure and service implications of incorporation. A key purpose is to understand the cost impact on local taxpayers and to provide residents with a clear understanding of the implications of incorporating. There must be a broad base of resident support demonstrated through surveys and community forums before the Province will commit to funding an Incorporation Study.

If approved, it can take a year or two to complete this phase of the process. The final decision to incorporate is made by Cabinet on the recommendation of the Minister, and only if voters in the area indicate that they are in favour by means of a referendum.

Boundary Changes

A request for a boundary change requires a detailed proposal, demonstrating the rationale, broad inter-jurisdictional consultation and First Nations engagement, as well as clear evidence of resident support. Land use processes are considered in developing the rationale for a boundary change.

Sharing Your Views

If a Governance and Services Study is approved by the provincial Ministry of Municipal Affair, residents will have many opportunities to provide feedback through the various consultation processes that will be put in place.

At this time, no study has commenced. Should a study be approved, the RDN will set up a portal on its website through which people will be able to provide written submissions and have their views and voices heard.  Anyone may call or write to the provincial Ministry of Municipal Affairs at any time to provide their feedback.

Services currently provided within Electoral Area F Services currently provided within Electoral Area F
Services currently provided within Electoral Area F
  • Administration & Board Support
  • Animal Control
  • Building Inspection
  • Bylaw Enforcement
  • Community Parks
  • D69 Community Justice
  • D69 Emergency 911
  • D69 Multiplex Arena
  • Drinking Water/Watershed Protection
  • Electoral Area Administration
  • Electoral Area Planning
  • Emergency Planning
  • Fire Protection
  • General Grants-in-Aid
  • House Numbering
  • Liquid Waste Management Planning
  • Northern Community Economic Development
  • Northern Community Recreation
  • Northern Community Wastewater
  • Pump & Haul
  • Ravensong Aquatic Centre
  • Recycling & Garbage Collection
  • Regional Growth Management
  • Regional Library
  • Regional Parks
  • Solid Waste Management
  • Streetlighting
  • Water Utility