Campbell River councillors concerned membership has a price

Directors debated a regional membership to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities

The Strathcona Regional District (SRD) is considering a membership model to a municipal advocacy group that some councillors are concerned could cost the city its independence.

At the regional district’s Feb. 27 board meeting, directors debated a regional membership to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM).

Under a regional model, all of the Strathcona Regional District’s electoral areas and municipalities would be covered under one membership. Currently, only the four electoral areas are under the Strathcona Regional District’s membership while its five municipalities each have their own.

Russ Hotsenpiller, chief administrative officer for the regional district, said moving to a regional version would save money.

“Based on information received from the FCM, there would be a collective savings of just over $700 in 2014 for all of the municipalities and electoral areas within the region if their current memberships were to be renewed through the Strathcona Regional District,” Hotsenpiller said. “The savings would be realized primarily through the elimination of annual base fees that form a part of each current membership.”

But director and Coun. Claire Moglove said she doesn’t believe the price is worth possibly sacrificing the city of Campbell River’s independence.

“I’m not convinced we’d retain our total autonomy,” Moglove said. “As a representative of Campbell River, I want the city of Campbell River to retain its autonomy.

“So I’m strongly opposed to this regional (model). For $20 I don’t really want to take a chance that we’d lose our autonomy.”

Moglove said she would prefer to use the Union of British Columbia Municipalities model where municipalities are independent and approach the FCM with their own issues. The board voted to defer the matter until Hotsenpiller can meet with the chief administrative officers of the regional district’s five municipalities to discuss whether moving to a regional model would affect the ability of each municipality to participate independently.