What is the great furor about the CVRD using the Alternative Approval Process? Do we really want to bear the cost of a referendum for every new initiative? That is the only alternative left to the regional district under the law.
The opponents of the alternate process claim it is undemocratic, but cannot logically support the argument. Under the process the public can stop a project if 10 per cent of the electors register an objection. Then the CVRD board must either drop the initiative or submit it to a vote. How hard is that? Only 10 per cent? For a bad idea this should be easy, and if that low threshold cannot be reached why should the taxpayer be required to foot the cost of a referendum?
I suspect that much of the opposition to AAPs is from people opposed to the actual initiatives who prefer to attack the process rather than admit they oppose flood control or arts funding. Some at the public meeting seemed to oppose the initiative based on anger and frustration with government in general, and a few from personal animosity for elected representatives. For the purpose of this discussion, however, let us assume they are being perfectly truthful. Why then are they abusing the CVRD board and staff?
The provincial government, in its infinite wisdom, created regional districts to bring the benefits of bureaucracy to the unregulated hinterlands. They wrote the rules and only they can change them. Those rules allow only two methods for regional governments to create new services, direct referendum or the alternative approval process. The former has a significant cost. A district wide vote could cost $100,000.
The alternative process requires only public notice of intent on the part of the board and allows reasonable means for effective public opposition. Whether we approve or not these are the rules of the game the CVRD board must play. If a citizen does not like it the proper method of objection should be to lobby the provincial government to change the appropriate act.
Abusing our elected representatives for obeying the law is simply not fair.
For the record, I do not care for the alternative approval process. Municipalities are not forced to jump through this kind of hoop and regional districts should not either. The people we elect to make decisions don’t need to be micromanaged. If we don’t like the job they have done the appropriate time to tell them so is the next election, and if you feel those do not come soon enough you might mention that to the provincial government when you call about the AAPs. They make the rules.