AAP should not be used to decide new function
The majority of voters with whom I have spoken have no idea what the controversial Alternative Approval Process (AAP) is and I feel certain that those of you who have spoken with others about this ill-thought-out and flawed procedure have heard the same thing.
With an AAP the CVRD can move any proposed bylaw forward with minimal effort and can direct the ensuing taxpayer funds towards organizations of their choosing unless citizens gather petition signatures from at least 10 per cent of the residents, which in our case would be in excess of 6,500 signatures. The onus is on the citizens to garner those signatures through their own efforts in 80 days. If that threshold is not reached, it is a done deal and the CVRD board will complete their stated goal. If it does reach the 10 per cent level then the CVRD directors must withdraw a proposed bylaw and discontinue this effort or put the question to voters through a referendum.
The process plays on the lack of community participation for or against a bylaw in order to achieve the board’s objective to get something passed with minimal effort. Local area directors are being pressured towards conducting this process in the recently proposed Financial Contribution Service bylaw 4201, which aims to impose an additional tax in order to raise a perpetual annual spend total of $768,000 to give an organization which has no proven record of providing anything to those who need it. By their own admission, $268,000 per year will go to staff and reports and will not reach the needy.
Given this information, it is shamefully disrespectful of the electorate (us taxpayers) for the board to be using the AAP when there is a fall election and there may already be other different referendum items planned to be included on the ballots.
What are they afraid of? Maybe the board does not believe they will have the numbers for this to succeed in a referendum. If this is true, and not the often quoted cost factor, then the use of the AAP in this case is opposed to its proper purpose under the Local Government Act, which requires the board to have elector assent to establish a new function. Why? Because even with its imperfections, it is there to protect against profligate spending.
I encourage taxpayers to attend the Wednesday, June 13, 6:30 p.m. board meeting at the CVRD offices if at all possible and to concisely state your position regarding the AAP and Bylaw 4201. Only a total of 15 minutes are allowed for all speakers at the public input period.
Let’s see if the board members will take notice or show beyond all doubt that public opinion counts for nothing.