The annual Union of B.C. Municipalities convention is being held this week in Whistler and a contingent from the Cowichan Valley Regional District is there to give provincial ministry officials an earful about issues facing the region.
“This week-long event has become a critical place for us to gather with our fellow elected officials from across the province and learn from each other, as well as sit down for more formal face time with senior government staff and officials,” said CVRD board chair Jon Lefebure. “We have some serious issues currently facing our region, and this has always proven to be the perfect forum for local governments to address them and seek solutions in an open and constructive manner.”
CAO Brian Carruthers and seven electoral area directors will put forward two resolutions, the first stemming from issues in Shawnigan Lake. It’s a proposed amendment to the Environmental Management Act that would not allow for the permitting of landfills in reclaimed mines and quarries where there is reasonable potential for surface and groundwater contamination. The resolution was prompted by a long and costly legal battle over a contaminated soil site in Shawnigan Lake.
The second resolution is about the limitations of power and authority for regional districts to respond to growth and urbanization in electoral areas. The resolution asks for a comprehensive review of the Local Government Act to ensure regional districts like the CVRD have the capacity to address evolving community demands that would match those afforded to municipalities under the Community Charter.
“These two resolutions are directly related to challenges we’re facing in our communities, but also have the potential to benefit communities across the province through better protection of water resources and enhanced land use planning authority,” Carruthers said. “We look forward to engaging with the provincial government on these and other issues this week in an effort to further improve the quality of life across our region.”
CVRD officials are also scheduled to connect with the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure to talk about Approving Officer authority for the CVRD and roadside pathway standards for regional districts.