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Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities to vote on 46 resolutions

·3 min read

Local governments regularly lobby provincial and federal governments to address local and regional issues. Rather than go it alone, municipalities and regional districts often build support through representative bodies like the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) who then call for higher levels of government to take action.

For coastal communities, the 53-member-strong Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) is the step before UBCM to consider and vote on resolutions.

Vanessa Craig, Regional District of Nanaimo Director for Electoral Area B, has sat on the AVICC’s executive council as electoral area representative since December 2018, and will be re-elected by acclamation this year.

Craig doesn’t sit on the council as a representative of the RDN – “my role is to bring forward the view of electoral areas.” Still, some issues are Gabriola-relevant, like potable water.

“I was able to accompany the [RDN] CAO and chair and senior staff and met with Minister [of Health Adrian] Dix at UBCM where we spoke about rainwater as a potable water source for commercial/multi-family dwellings, and I was able to provide information on the importance of developing guidelines for island communities such as ours,” Craig told the Sounder.

At this year’s convention on May 28, AVICC members will vote on 46 resolutions covering topics from medical cannabis production sites and community climate action plans, to a moratorium on recreational wolf hunting.

The RDN submitted two resolutions focused on illegal dumping and tree management in electoral areas, the latter calling for regional districts to be granted the same authority municipalities have.

Islands Trust submitted one resolution that calls for notice of temporary use permits and public hearings to be provided electronically. Currently, the Local Government Act requires notice to be included in a newspaper, defined by the province as a printed publication in sheet form published at least once a week. Peter Luckham, chair of the executive committee, said the resolution was motivated by members of the public saying they weren’t aware of notices.

In the area Luckham represents, Thetis Island, for example, there is no newspaper that fits the province’s definition.

“We’re just looking for support from the province for more easily accessible mediums for the public to access those public notices.”

Craig wants to explore what it would take for AVICC to have a greater advocacy role, more than letter writing and committee appointments, something that members are calling for and will be discussed at the convention.

“We currently have a solid waste management committee and were the initial incubator for the coastal social procurement initiative, which has not developed into a separate group,” Craig said. “We also have representatives to various federal government advisory groups.” Craig represents AVICC on the Southern Resident killer whale Indigenous & Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group, which gives input on federal management measures.

“The primary issue is capacity – we have one part-time staff person and she doesn’t have the capacity to take on advocacy work” for issues identified as high priority by the membership, like climate change, Craig explained.

Luckham is in favour of AVICC endeavouring “to better represent the interests of coastal communities.

“If they feel there is a further mechanism to advocate, then I certainly would be in support of it. The more we can get our collective voice out there the better.”

Rachelle Stein-Wotten, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Gabriola Sounder

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