North Cowichan council abuses democratic process with RCMP station AAP

Council bypasses the real referendum process to implement its plans without real public input.

North Cowichan council abuses democratic process with RCMP station AAP

Democracy in local government is under assault yet again by our North Cowichan council. The use of the Alternative Approval Process (AAP) to get public approval for the new police station construction illustrates how council bypasses the real referendum process to implement its plans without real public input. Everyone on council knows that virtually no one in the public understands the AAP. The AAP has become council’s favorite tool in the tool box to hood-wink the public.

Local governments in general, have succeeded in stripping the public from decision making. At one time local elections were held every two years, now they are every four years. At one time all major capital expenditures like a police station had to go to referendum, now they don’t. When the AAP was first initiated, only five per cent of the public had to object, now it is 10 per cent of the public. All of these things occurred, not for the benefit of the public, but for the benefit of the self-serving councillors.

The AAP, in the past, has been used for both discretionary wants of council and true municipal needs. In 2011, just months before the MNC civic elections, the AAP was used to get three projects passed by council even though they could easily been put to referendum, in the civic election, in a matter of less than three months. The three projects were: new dikes along Beverly and the TCH, an expansion to the muni hall, and the purchase of the curling club. One has to question the need for a muni hall expansion and a curling club without the use of a referendum; yet these two projects passed due to the public’s unawareness that they had been sneaked through using the AAP.

Perhaps the police station should go ahead, however a referendum should be held so that more of the public understand why it is required and how much your taxes will go up to fund it. The main reason cited for not using the referendum is the cost. I would like to point out that our council has no concept of proportionality. They balk at the additional cost of $58K for a referendum over the AAP option, but they do not think spending all of that money studying the muni forest reserve to be prohibitive. The forest reserve contributes virtually no cash benefit to the muni, yet council is prepared to spend untold amounts of our taxes on studies for the forest reserve. The police station will cost $40 million and the muni does not want to spend $58K for public input. Simply incredible!

Don Swiatlowski

North Cowichan

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Climbers compete for Choc and Chalk

Annual competition attracts more than 100

Cowichan resident with dementia breaks silence on stigma in Alzheimer Society campaign

“I don’t think I’ve encountered stigma as much as I’ve encountered a lack of understanding”

Cowichan’s Achurch named all-star MVP

LMG goalie and teammate Scott help VISL beat FVSL

Indian Day School survivors can now submit claims for $10K-$200K in compensation

Anyone who is part of the class action is being encouraged to start the process now

Kids across Canada more at risk of hospitalization from flu this season: doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam said influenza B does not usually peak until February or later

BC Ferries hybrid ships arrive in Victoria on Saturday

The battery-operated vessels will take over smaller routes

Theft victim confronts suspects with baseball bat on Vancouver Island

RCMP in Nanaimo seek to identify of two people alleged to have used a stolen credit card

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Good Samaritan pays part of rent for B.C. woman facing eviction in can-collecting dispute

Zora Hlevnjak, 76, supplements her pension by collecting cans and receiving public donations

Kelowna’s ‘Baby Mary’ finds biological parents after more than 30 years

Geneologist and DNA test helped her connect with her biological parents

Kelowna hotel to award couples for baby-making with Nooner deal

The deal includes a free stay every Valentine’s Day for the next 18 years

Clerk bruised, traumatized after armed robbery at Nanaimo liquor store

Few details on male suspect in Wednesday incident, says Nanaimo RCMP

One last blast of winter tonight for parts of the Island before temperatures on the rise

A snowfall warning is in effect Friday including east Vancouver Island.

Most Read