FYI re: FOI on RDN WtoE Notice

Ron Bolin: Feb. 1, 2014

On July 23, 2013, the Board of the Regional District of Nanaimo voted unanimously to to send to the Metro Vancouver Regional Board  the following motion with reference to their search for a location for an incinerator/Waste-to-Energy facility :

“That the Board Direct staff to advise Metro Vancouver that the RDN does not support a waste-to-energy facility within the boundaries of the RDN.”

On January 13, 2014, I sent an FOI request to the RDN for a copy of the document which was sent to Metro Vancouver as a result of this Board motion.

On Jan. 31, 2014, I received the following documents.

FOI – Bolin – Response with records jan 31 2014

It will be noted that the formal transmittal to the Metro Vancouver Board of the July 23, 2013 motion made by the RDN Board did not take place until at least Jan. 13, 2014, some six months later.  There seem to have been some unsubstantiated phone calls and discussion in the interim about this motion, but it is not at all clear whether the reported conversations constitute a formal and legal transmittal.  This is significant because it had been noted that no location would be considered which did not wish to be considered.  In November two sites in Nanaimo were shown as being under active consideration.  Could this be because the rejection was, for whatever reason, incorrectly conveyed?  Or is there some other explanation?  And if so, what is it?

This situation raises further concerns about the relation of Nanaimo’s City Council members sitting on the RDN Board and their position as members of Nanaimo’s City Council.  It has been reported that, like all other RDN Board Members, they voted unanimously to sent the above motion to Metro.  Soon after, they were apparently approached by the proponents of the Nanaimo locations (this again was supposed to be a no-no as I read the Metro documents) and some Council members apparently changed their minds and without further ado we find that Nanaimo is in the running with not one, but two, sites and no intervening public decision. How does this work?  Members ignore their own publicly made decision and do not even need to publicly acknowledge it?

Having the situation thus far documented, I will seek to determine the relation between the RDN and the City in a case like this where their overlapping memberships seem to be playing at sixes and sevens among themselves .  Is it legitimate for our representatives on both to flitter from pillar to post without publicly changing their actions under provincial legislation?  And if so, why bother paying them for both?

This will remain an ongoing topic for some time which I would like to see limned first for the rules of the governance game and then for the rules of science, health and finance.

What do you think?