The regional district committee of the whole referred Tuesday recommendations to approve a five-year financial plan for the Regional Growth Strategy bylaw, and to undertake a five-year review of the document that addresses land use in the Valley.
The RGS bylaw is 95 per cent complete. It has so far received two readings. A pair of public hearings were held in the summer, followed by referrals to local governments for acceptance in November.
Consensus on the amendment required to accept the bylaw was secured by way of non-binding resolution.
There will be a second referral for acceptance before the bylaw comes back before the board for third and final reading, which is anticipated for the end of March. Once adopted, the focus will be to implement, monitor and report on the bylaw and prepare for the five-year RGS review in 2015-2016, as stated in a report from CVRD chief administrative officer Debra Oakman.
The district suggests retaining a consultant to prepare a monitoring program, to undertake a review of relevant data and to produce an annual report on the performance of the RGS. Forty thousand dollars has been budgeted in the financial plan for the 2011-2015 period to support this work.
Courtenay Coun. Murray Presley called it “an exercise in spending money.”
“Let’s keep the costs down,” he said.
Comox Mayor Paul Ives said it would be a shame to see the work of the technical advisory committee go by the wayside.
“It’s work that has to be done,” he said.
The plan sees the budget reduced to reflect costs, forecasted to be in the range of $110,000 to $115,000 for monitoring and reporting purposes.
“From a budget perspective, provisions must be made to plan for and undertake the first five-year review of the RGS in 2015-2016,” Oakman states.
Presley again stated his objections to the RGS at a board meeting, also held Tuesday. He is particularly concerned that not all proposals at Mt. Washington will be approved.
“I think all projects should be looked at on their own merits,” he said.
The government-mandated RGS process was initiated in the fall of 2008. A process manager and consulting team were selected to undertake the project, which has been guided by a steering committee comprised of four chief administrative officers and an advisory committee comprised of four planning managers from the CVRD local governments.