Regional district board refuses to accommodate a director’s request

Strathcona Regional District directors exchanged disappointment in one another last week after the board refused to accommodate one director’s request.

At the board’s inaugural meeting last Thursday, Quadra Island Director Jim Abram noticed a conflict as the board was set to approve the board’s meeting schedule for 2016.

Abram asked directors to approve changing a meeting slated for April 13 so that he can attend a Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) executive meeting scheduled for the same day in Victoria.

Abram asked if directors would mind rescheduling the board meeting to April 12.

Director Larry Samson said he wouldn’t support the change.

“As directors we all have alternates and I appreciate Director Abram going down and acting on our behalf (but) I think the way (the schedule) is set up, it’s very straightforward and it follows a pattern,” Samson said, noting meetings are scheduled roughly every second week, alternating between a Wednesday and a Thursday afternoon.

Director Andy Adams said he normally wouldn’t have a problem with accommodating another director’s schedule, but in this case regional district staff worked hard with City of Campbell River and Comox Valley staff to come up with a schedule that doesn’t conflict with other council, committee of the whole, solid waste, or hospital board meetings.

Campbell River Director Charlie Cornfield said he was surprised Abram didn’t trust being absent from one meeting.

“I’m a little disappointed,” Cornfield said.

“There’s times I can’t make meetings and at which time I have complete confidence in this board to the right thing with the items on the agenda.”

Abram said part of the problem is his alternate will be out of the country at the time, otherwise he would not have a problem asking him to fill in.

Abram said he was disappointed the board wouldn’t accommodate his request and said it appeared the board wasn’t supporting him.

“I’m just asking your support…one day out of 365 to change a date and there doesn’t seem to be any conflicts, there just seems to be some reluctance and I’m not sure why,” Abram said.

“I’d really like to see our local government supporting their UBCM representative like every other local government supports their UBCM representative. I’ve never once asked you to do anything for UBCM purposes and now the first time I ask you, it’s ‘no, we don’t think so’ yet  we don’t really have a good reason.

“So I’m disappointed that this is even a discussion.”

Abram said it was a good opportunity for the board to seize, having him at the UBCM meetings.

“If you want me to advocate on our behalf at the ministerial level – it’s one time a year – the only chance UBCM gets to go to Victoria and meet with actual (provincial) ministers,” Abram said. “It just seems like a no-brainer to me but it’s up to the board.”

The board, in the end, rejected a motion by Abram to change the regional district meeting date after a tie vote. Campbell River Directors Adams, Michele Babchuk, Cornfield, Ron Kerr, Samson and Gold River Director Brad Unger were all opposed to rescheduling the meeting.


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