Electoral Area F - Leanne Salter
Coombs, Hilliers, Errington, Whiskey Creek, Meadowood
Director Leanne Salter
leanne.salter [at] rdn.bc.ca
Electoral Area Governance and Restructure Study Update
February 8, 2022
The Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) has received approval from the Province of British Columbia’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs to undertake a Governance and Services Study for Electoral Area F (Area F). A request to undertake the study was submitted to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs by the RDN Board in November 2020. The purpose of this study is to gather information about current governance and service delivery in Area F, to get feedback from the community about their interests, priorities and challenges, and to identify opportunities for improvement. The Province has provided a grant of $60,000 towards the cost of the study.
The study will encompass 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 will be appointed by the RDN in the spring of 2022.
For information about the study, engagement process timeline and how to submit an application for a committee member position, visit getinvolved.rdn.ca/eaf-gsstudy. Additional resources will be added once the study is underway in the spring of 2022. Area F residents are encouraged to register and subscribe to the Governance and Services Study Get Involved project page to receive project updates.
Click here to read the news release.
Click below for additional background information.
- Latest Updates
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 Nov 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.
- General Information on Governance and Restructure 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 (also known as a Restructure 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.