The Strathcona Regional District board faces a dilemma: should it change its voting structure to downplay the influence City of Campbell River-based directors have on some issues and if so, change it to what?
On the surface it seems unfair. Votes by city directors on the regional board – which serves as a forum to manage mutual issues on a regional basis – carry more weight than rural directors’ votes. Our democratic system is based on one person, one vote. But the board gives more weight to the local government that pays the most into the operation of the regional district. Campbell River has the greatest population in the region, thus it has the most directors on the board (five) and holds 67 per cent of the weighted vote used mostly in finance-related issues. It leads to things like River directors winning votes on the basis of a 4-9, city/rural vote.
Sayward Mayor John MacDonald suggested the board accept a reduction in the weight Campbell River directors enjoy. There’s some merit to the idea but the practicality of doing that proved too much for the board to accomplish. Thank goodness our elected representatives have that ever-present fallback: send it to staff to come back with a report on the implications. We await their discoveries.