A large number of words castigating the Capital Regional District have been in the media recently. In my opinion the CRD, for the most part, works reasonably well. It is when the people we elect as mayors and councillors take the position “we can’t do anything about it” on CRD decisions that things go in the tank.
The simple fact of the matter is that the CRD is a bureaucracy, not a local government, with the exception of unorganized areas, otherwise called electoral areas.The CRD has no power to speak of within a municipality, unless the municipality voluntarily gives that power to the CRD by subscribing to a service.
If we don’t like the service, we are perfectly free to opt out, using the statutory service review mechanism of the Local Government Act. In fact, if anything, the Community Charter has tightened the leash on regional districts by determinatively putting power with the municipalities. That leash can be further tightened any time we want. We simply stop paying and let the CRD bureaucrats figure out where the real priorities lie when the money dries up.
The Regional Growth Strategy is currently under review. The environmental extremists clustered around the regional parks bureaucracy moved strategically out ahead of the RGS review and have positioned the Regional Parks Master Plan as the top level RGS document dictating their priorities and values on everything else.
The Regional Parks/CRD slogan is “Nature (meaning them) Gets Half!”
The solution? Axe the municipal enrollment in the regional parks service. They can live on their half of nothing, and we can put our money into maintaining the parks demanded as amenity contributions from developers.
The immediate benefit? Lower taxes.
Longer term, on the money we don’t hand the CRD we can re-establish access to Sheilds Lake, have Ed Macgregor Park landscaped, and bring back the water play area at Broomhill Park.