Chairperson, Regional District of Nanaimo
A look back at the past three years
With the 2002 Local Government Elections on the way, this will be my final column until after the November 16th vote. I would like to thank the newspapers and the readers for providing me with the opportunity to talk about the Regional District of Nanaimo, its services and the background to the decisions of your regional board.
Thanks to the efforts and support of the residents of the region and the cooperation of the RDN's member municipalities and our eight electoral areas we've accomplished a lot over the past three years.
Soon the RDN Board will be considering the adoption of an updated Regional Growth Management Plan. This project involved almost two years of public input, studies and review by all levels of government. The result is a revised Regional Growth Strategy that is easier to understand and that provides certainty about where future development will occur while protecting the characteristics people like about the region.
We can all be proud of how we've expanded the legacy of our Regional Parks and Regional Trails System and committed to new recreation facilities for present and future generations to enjoy.
Over the past three years we've created the Nanaimo River, Descanso Bay, and Horne Lake Regional Parks, opened the Lighthouse Community Trail, and Fern Woods Road Trail, and completed trail system bridges over French Creek, McBey Creek, and Haslam Creek. In the northern part of the Regional District, residents approved the funding for a new arena multiplex at the Wembley Mall in Parksville. This new facility with its twin ice sheets and a leisure ice surface will provide access to ice sports for all ages, attract major skating and hockey competitions and bring concerts, trade shows and other events to the community.
In the area of fiscal management, the Regional District has made progress in several areas. We reviewed regional services and reached agreement with our municipal and electoral area partners on a new funding model for transit, parks, trails, recreation, and septage treatment. We've kept increases for assessment-based property tax revenues for existing services under the cost of living. Finally, our Regional Transit system has led the province in ridership growth and operating efficiency in its Tier One category.
The Regional District's leadership in the area of environmental services and development of a local government Website has been recognized by our peers. In 2001, the RDN received the Union of BC Municipalities Award for best local government Website for a
medium size municipality. This past April, the RDN received an environmental/public health award for its Liquid Waste Management Plan and work on regional and provincial stormwater management planning. More recently, the Regional District's leadership in implementing a Zero Waste program to reduce the amount of garbage that must be landfilled was recognized by the Recycling Council of BC.
Once the local government elections are over I'm sure the new Regional Board will set new priorities for what will no doubt be another exciting and challenging three years. In the meantime I encourage everyone in the region who is qualified, to vote on November 16th.