Regional district cancels next meeting due to conflicts

Strathcona Regional District directors have cancelled their next board meeting

Strathcona Regional District directors have cancelled their next board meeting – a meeting that directors refused to reschedule back in December.

Directors agreed to cancel the Feb. 23 regional board meeting after Board Chair John MacDonald raised the issue of possibly rescheduling the meeting due to prior engagements required of some directors.

The board meeting, if it were to be held, would have conflicted with the 2017 Chief Administrators Forum and the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) Mayors’ Caucus, both of which are taking place in Victoria.

As the regional district’s board of directors includes four municipal mayors, that would mean either alternates would be required to attend the Feb. 23 meeting or else there would be empty seats at the table.

The regional district’s chief administrative officer, Dave Leitch, would also not be available to attend the board meeting.

So, instead of rescheduling the meeting in a busy month where directors already have prior commitments, the board made the decision to cancel the meeting, although directors Noba Anderson, Charlie Cornfield, Brenda Leigh and Gerald Whalley were opposed to that.

The Feb. 23 meeting was previously a contentious issue in December when the regional district issued its 2017 meeting schedule.

Area C Director Jim Abram had asked the board if it could either reschedule or cancel that meeting as it conflicted with a UBCM executive meeting in Victoria that Abram is attending.

At the time, Abram asked if the regional board meeting could be rescheduled for one week prior but the board rejected that, saying it was too difficult to change meetings around to accommodate one person.

“We all as directors have other duties,” Director Larry Samson said at the time.

“Staff has said this is as good as it gets. We all have alternates, we all have other choices. We have to prioritize.”

Leigh expressed the same sentiments.

“In years past, the chair would issue the schedule and that would be it,” she said.

“And if you can’t make it, well that’s just too bad and there was no operational interference from the board about changing the dates or anything like that.

“The chair should issue the schedule for the year and that should be the schedule and you work around the schedule.”

In the end, however, the board agreed it was easier to simply cancel the upcoming board meeting instead of having so many elected directors not in attendance.

That decision means the regional board’s meeting last Wednesday is the only time the board will meet during the entire month of February.

The board will meet again on Wednesday, March 8  starting at 12:30 p.m.