Wednesday November 10, 2021 | GREATER VICTORIA, BC
by Mary P Brooke, Editor | Island Social Trends
Today the Capital Regional District (CRD) board held an election around their board table, to choose a board chair and vice-chair in this last year ahead of the current set of directors who will serve their fourth and final year on this 24-member board.
Less than a year from now — on October 15, 2022 there will be a province-wide election for new municipal and electoral area directors in BC, as well as school board trustees. [See General Local Elections on the Elections BC website.]
Re-elected as board chair today is Colin Plant, who is a director on the District of Saanich municipal council; this is his fourth year in the top spot. Elected as vice-chair is Rebecca Mersereau, also a director with the District of Saanich.
Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor had also addressed the board with an election pitch to be the chair for the fourth year of this board. In his brief remarks he noted highlights of leadership by various members of the board.
Chair Colin Plant’s remarks:
Colin Plant is the CRD board chair (and Rebecca Mersereau is vice-chair). Here are Chair Plant’s remarks from today:
“Our commitment to climate action is one we cannot stop advancing. Our future depends on it. I continue to ask for your to be champions of this work when it comes to your local table.
We also will begin to look at next steps for our solid and liquid waste. While we have adopted a new Solid Waste Management Plan we all know that we have to look at our solid waste as a resource and not something to just bury.
Our commitment to a more integrated and climate-friendly regional transportation system cannot waiver. In the last 12 months we have moved from a place of aspirations and goals to one of advocacy and coordination. I believe we must continue to make progress on transportation and set the table for the next board to continue this work when the board changes.
Our country’s need to have Truth and Reconciliation with First Nations should resonate in this room. I believe we are on the right path and need to continue to develop relationships with the First Nations in the region that are based on mutual respect and mutual advancement. This is an endeavour we must all support.”
Hospitals and housing:
Two other boards of the Capital Regional District, i.e. one for hospitals and one for housing, also elected their leadership for the final year of this term.
Langford Councillor Denise Blackwell was re-elected as the Capital Regional Hospital Board (nominated by Saanich Councillor Susan Brice), with Rebecca Mersereau as acting chair. Blackwell said it was good to have chair continuity for three years. The CRHD, a corporation of the CRD, partners with Island Health and community stakeholder agencies to develop and improve health-care facilities in the region and provide capital funding for infrastructure such as acute care, residential care and hospital equipment.
Victoria Councillor Jeremy Loveday was elected as the Capital Regional Housing Corporation, with Town of View Royal Mayor David Screech re-elected as vice-chair. CRD says affordable housing is key to a strong economy and healthy region. Since 2019, the CRD through the CRHC, has added over 700 new affordable dwellings and; CRD says it will work toward adding another 1,500 affordable dwellings for a potential combined portfolio of more than 3,500 units by 2025.
Today’s business – transportation:
Today the CRD board discussed the concept of inclusion in the region’s transportation network; a committee will dig deeper into an advocacy role in that regard, to make sure (among other things) that all areas of the region are suitably served with transportation access.
A motion brought forward by Victoria Councillor Jeremy Loveday was passed to move that forward.
Today’s business – cruise ships:
Today the CRD board discussed sending a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to essentially prioritize the impact of USA decision-making that impacts the cruise ship industry (with tourism and ship-building jobs looped into that) which is a strong economic driver in the Greater Victoria area.
A motion as brought forward by Saanich Councillor Susan Brice was passed; Brice also chairs the Victoria Regional Transit Commission. Brice said that the BC Premier and government are fully behind the thrust of the letter.
About the CRD Board:
The CRD Board is comprised of one or more elected officials from each of the 13 municipalities and three electoral areas within the CRD’s boundaries. Each municipality has one director for every 25,000 people (or portion thereof) and each electoral area is represented by one director. The Chair establishes standing committees, formalizes committee structures, and appoints committee chairs and vice-chairs as part of its governance structure.
As the regional government serving over 425,500 people (a population that has grown steadily since the 1990s), the CRD plays a key role in providing services that can be delivered efficiently and effectively through region-wide or shared service delivery models. These include the regional water supply, solid waste, wastewater treatment, regional parks, housing, 911 call answer and recreation facilities.
The CRD, CRHD and CRHC Boards combine to lead decision-making on regional priorities and initiatives and provide oversight on a wide range of regional, sub-regional and local services. The CRD Board Priorities were developed at the start of the Board term in 2019 and formed the basis of the CRD’s 2019-2022 Corporate Plan. The CRD’s Corporate Plan outlines actions to deliver on the CRD Board’s Priorities, approved plans and ongoing service commitments.