The Community Conversations Meetings (nine meetings between July 23–Aug.15, 2013) dealing with the controversial building by-law 1996 2011 has generated a common theme—the question of democratic representation and how our elected rural directors on the board of the Peace River Regional District will represent us given that the outcome of all the meetings are overwhelmingly negative towards the by-law. To date, the response from our rural Directors goes something like this: “We’re listening and taking notes” OR a blank look with no answer at all. The meetings are generating anger, distrust, skepticism and a rule of order for meetings that would have made General Henry Robert (author of Robert’s Rules Of Order) role over in his grave. By the way, you do not want to voice your displeasure too loudly as you may be asked to leave the room.
I personally feel that these meetings are nothing more than an unregulated dog and pony show, the end result of which may very well be an attempt to ignore the objections of the majority.
At the Golata Creek meeting the Chairperson of the Regional District was asked that should a new by-law be created as a result of the Conversation Meetings, would the Chairperson consider allowing to provide a counter petition opportunity. I was a bit amazed to witness her puzzlement, and had to inform her that this provision was to be found in the NEW LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT.
For those folk who do not stay up at nights reading Government Acts allow me to quote from the above mentioned: “In some circumstances, regional districts must receive public input and approval before taking action. For example, the public must approve most long term financial liabilities either by counter petition or through vote. Counter petitions are generally used as a litmus test of public opinion. Under a counter petition, the local government may proceed with an action UNLESS FIVE PERCENT OF THE ELECTORS PETITION AGAINST IT WITHIN A SET DEADLINE. If more than five percent petition against, the local government cannot proceed with the action until it has received elector approval through a vote.
Did I witness puzzlement on behalf of the chairperson or did I introduce just a little too much democracy. Remember that democracy has become troublesome for a good number of regional district directors made even worse by a dysfunctional regime.
The Chairperson knows only too well what the outcome of a democratic vote would be. And I have a feeling that if we were to have an election tomorrow – The only rural incumbent left standing would be in the North Peace and HE would find himself serving with three brand new directors.
This letter presents to the Rural Peoples of the Peace River Country more information than the Regional District has come up with in the past 14 years. To our Rural Regional Directors of the P.R.R.D. I can only suggest that you research this paper and you’ll find that I have plagiarized most of the H.P.O. Informational literature. So study it, to prevent appearing like a deer caught in the headlights when asked questions about this program at the next Conversation Meeting.
Joe Breti, Farmington