Did anybody notice that the Regional District is conducting an Alternative Approval Process with regard to borrowing $52 million to “replace and upgrade” sewage pipes and related pump stations.
Because the notice was placed at the bottom left-hand page of a two-page ad in the June 9 edition of the Record titled Unified Alternative Approval Process.
It is lumped under notices of three AAPs for area roadside garbage pick up, two AAPs for area community hall services and one AAP for an area mosquito management bylaw.
So, what exactly is an alternative approval process?
It is a process, whereby, instead of holding a referendum (now called “assent voting”), people who are opposed to the process can exercise their opposition by submitting an Electoral Response Form.
According to the ad, you can get a form from the CVRD office (during regular office hours) or “online at comoxvalleyrd.ca/”
I looked up the Alternative Approval Process Guide put out by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs.
Here are some of what the ministry suggests should be considered before engaging in an AAP.
1. Scale: The Ministry Guide asks, “would (the matter) be viewed as significant or “sizable” in cost, scale or scope….” $52 million is clearly a sizable cost and the work being done for that kind of money would be significant in scope.
2. Public Expectations: The Guide says “(w)hen the public has been actively engaged and there are reasonable indications that citizens are in favour, the proposal may lend itself better to an AAP rather than to assent voting.” I think the public has very little knowledge that this is going on.
3.Timing: The Guide says that “(t)iming can have a direct impact on the outcome of an AAP.” This is a very bad time. COVID restrictions, summer coming up, regional board meetings being held on-line. There will not be a proper response to this process.
Sneaking in this bylaw in this manner is disgraceful. If the directors want to find out the wish of the electors, on an issue this big, they should really hold a referendum. They should, at the very least, send an Electoral Response Form to every eligible elector, along with an explanation as to what it is all about.
Anything less is an affront to the democratic process.