Trustees request Trust/RDN protocol meeting be held after elections

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Wednesday, October 3 2018

There is a protocol agreement in place to have Islands Trust staff and Gabriola Trustees meet with Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) staff and the Gabriola Director on a regular basis to discuss issues.

This past week, the Gabriola Local Trust Committee (LTC) received an invitation from the RDN to have a protocol meeting on Gabriola before the current term is completed.

Since the current term began in late 2014, there has been only one meeting, held in late 2015.

Trustees Melanie Mamoser and Heather O’Sullivan both said they have asked for protocol meetings to happen throughout the term, and are surprised the RDN is finally able to have one right before the local government election takes place.

Three items were proposed to be on the agenda for that meeting: Village Way Trail improvements; Affordable Housing; and Opportunities for Economic Development.

Being as both O’Sullivan and Mamoser are not running for re-election, whoever wins the local government election on October 20 will be new to representing Gabriola.

On the RDN side, the incumbent Director Howard Houle is running against Vanessa Craig.

The response from the LTC was that rather than having a meeting right before new Trustees are elected into office, they would ask the RDN Director to meet with the new Trustees after the election.

Mamoser said if the invitation for her and O’Sullivan were there to attend, she would, but “I’d want to hear from the new Trustees if they even want us to - it’s a new term, I don’t think it’s necessary that I be there.”

This past week, Islands Trust staff said the lack of a meeting has not been due to either the Trustees or the RDN Director not wanting to have those meetings.

According to Trust staff, they contacted the RDN in late summer of 2016 to arrange a protocol meeting in late 2016.  

At that time, the RDN staff indicated that they wanted a staff-to-staff meeting prior to a protocol meeting.

The staff-to-staff meeting was held in April 2017.

Following the April 2017 meeting, staff attempted to arrange a protocol meeting numerous times via phone and email.  

Trust staff say scheduling of protocol meetings with regional districts typically occur via email/phone because of complicated scheduling logistics. 

For a bigger regional district (such as Nanaimo) this can be challenging to coordinate, and it is not unusual for protocol meetings to not be held annually.  

Ann Kjerulf, Regional Planning Manager for the Islands Trust Northern Team, said, “We actually have six regional districts that we work with in the Northern Region and, of these six, have only had annual meetings with one (Comox Valley RD).”

She said the LTC has repeatedly asked for a protocol meeting and for items to be placed on the meeting agenda - but RDN Director Howard Houle may not have been aware of staff requests to schedule meetings if these requests were not conveyed to him, and no formal request was made - if “formal request” is defined as a written invitation from the Local Trust Committee to the RDN Board.

The rationale for the latter is that the arrangement of the annual meeting is to be coordinated by Islands Trust and RDN staff (specifically the CAOs), as per the Letter of Agreement between the RDN and Gabriola LTC.

She noted that there is a standing item on the regular LTC meeting agenda under “Reports” to receive reports from the RDN Director.