The Comox Valley Regional District board deferred a proposed amendment to a remuneration/expenses bylaw for further study.
A recent review included an assessment of ways elected officials can be attracted to run for office, such as non-monetary action to support child care, and maintaining a healthy work/life balance.
The board chair made $29,319 in 2021 while this year’s rate is $30,280. The recommended fixed rate for 2023 is $36,000 — based on historic Consumer Price Index increases — with a $1,000 yearly increase until 2026. The recommended rate for an electoral area director is $38,000 in 2023, with a $1,000 yearly increase until 2026. For municipal directors, suggested remuneration is $15,000 for 2023, $16,000 for 2024, $16,500 for 2025 and $17,000 for 2026.
Area A representative Daniel Arbour believes directors should be paid based on the number of services in which their jurisdictions participate.
Area C director Edwin Grieve suggests bringing back extended health benefits for people over the age of 69. He urged board members to not vote in favour of the recommendations because the fixed rates will tie the hands of future board members.
“We’re assuming, based on what has transpired in the last 10 years, that this is going to be reasonable,” Grieve said at the April 12 meeting. “It’s not going to be reasonable. We’re living in a totally new age here.”
He suggested deferring the item until a new board is elected and trends can be determined.
“I don’t think you should be cut off (from extended health benefits) according to age, especially when you have longtime service for the regional district,” Grieve said.
Area B director Arzeena Hamir also favoured a deferral to allow time to consider ways to reduce barriers to those considering running for office, such as non-monetary compensations around child care.
The item will be referred to a consultant for further study around extended health benefits, family care, parental leave, RSP match, and review of transit/recreation benefits.
Public hearing cancelled
Directors agreed to cancel an April 27 public hearing abut a campsite application at Saratoga Speedway.
The proposal from track owner Rob Leighton drew a great deal of pushback from part of the community. Members of the Saratoga Speedway Concerned Citizens said that adding 168 RV sites would exacerbate noise, and adversely affect traffic and the environment.
“I’m a bit disappointed we’re not going to public hearing because it’s always good to hear both sides,” Grieve said. “There’s a split in the community, and a lack of accurate information, I think. It fell on the applicant that this wasn’t good for the community, and it wasn’t good for his family.”
Because the track is a legal non-conforming use, Grieve said there is no impetus for Leighton to follow through on concessions such as race-free Sundays or voluntary sound mitigation.
The board approved the following recreation grants:
•CV United Soccer Club, $6,000;
•CV Cycling Coalition, $2,000 to help update cycling maps;
•CV Therapeutic Riding Society, $2,500 for operation of equine-related therapies;
•CV Exhibition Association, $10,000;
•Hornby Island Athletics Association, Hornby Island Eagles, $3,500 for fencing/field repairs to Joe King Park;
•CV Minor Hockey Association, $20,000 for uniform changes to move away from Chiefs branding.