Cowichan Valley Regional District opposing new download scheme

The Cowichan Valley Regional District is balking at the possibility of having the provincial government download new fire inspection requirements onto their shoulders, at what would be a considerable extra cost.

The issue came to the board’s attention at their May meeting when a report from a recent meeting of regional district chairs and chief administrative officers sounded the alarm about the province moving to require regional districts to begin to enforce the Fire Services Act and its regulations in unincorporated areas, including the obligation to provide a regular system of inspection for hotels and public buildings.

The CVRD has nine unincorporated areas that range from Mill Bay to Youbou to North Oyster.

Currently, there is no system in place to do any such thing, and to put one in place would mean manpower and bureaucracy.

"It is an additional cost," said Duncan Mayor Phil Kent.

"It was collectively agreed on that the scale and scope of downloading onto local governments from the provincial governments far outweighs a regional district’s capacity to support such a significant undertaking," the report to the board said.

"Transfer of responsibilities without funding or revenue streams to local governments, along with growth and urbanization, are the main drivers of increased local government expenditures," it continued. "To exacerbate things further, underinvestment in infrastructure and pressures associated with climate change are likely to worsen this problem, unless local governments are provided with more resources or revenue generating capacity by senior levels of government. The CVRD simply does not have the capacity to take on this provincial responsibility."

The board agreed to send a resolution to the Union of British Columbia Municipalities opposing the downloading.