Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Regional District's Strategic Plan update among themes from December meeting

Regional District met a the Coastal Business Centre on December 8th,
as Prince Rupert played host to the December meeting
for the regional government body.

The North Coast Regional District met earlier this month, hosting their final Board meeting for 2017 and as is the case at this time of the year, they took some time to review the latest notes when it comes to their Strategic Planning, with the District providing a look to the results from the 2015-2018 planning document to this point.

For Prince Rupert and Port Edward residents there were a few items of note from the review which were relayed through four categories:

Organizational Development, consideration is being given to the hiring of a full time planner, once the need for capacity building has been identified, with the Regional District also seeking to keep to current staffing levels and where possible to hire locally.

They will continue to put a focus on increasing and diversifying the Regional District's revenues, through the Northwest Resource Benefits Alliance in hopes of negotiating a revenue sharing agreement with the province. The NCRD also plans to continue to seek out conditional grant funding through other agencies in order to minimize the total project costs to local tax payers.

The Regional District Board is also continuing on with their plans to find a permanent location for the NCRD administration office, that process is currently awaiting additional funding towards project costs.

And the rebrand of Regional District from Skeena-Queen Charlotte to it's new name of North Coast Regional District will move forward in the new year with the launch of a new website and marketing  measures.

The Regional District will also look towards improving the enforcement of its bylaws in 2018.

Integrated Regional Planning, efforts towards a regional plan for the mainland portion of Regional District saw two initiatives continue through 2017. The first was the hiring of a facilitator to assist Prince Rupert and Port Edward with the development of a taxation sharing agreement and to examine further how to share resources for municipal operations, including regional planning and a regional growth strategy.

Making use of the Community to Community forum, Regional District staff have been working on the development of an emergency response Memorandum of Understanding between mainland communities of the District, with the District finding recent success in engaging with the Prince Rupert Port Authority to coordinate emergency planning, that initiative will continue into 2018.

Regional Collaboration, four areas were identified for work on regional issues again for 2018.

Staff continue to work on issues that were raised at the February Community to Community forum with attention directed towards Emergency Response issues and the desire for a North Coast Treatment Facility. Funding intakes for the program are not currently being accepted, but Regional District will follow up in 2018.

Regional District will continue to engage with the First Nations governments in the region, making note of the agreements that the NCRD has with both Metlakatla and Lax Kw'alaams related to recycling programs in the region.

The Board also took note of the recent cancellation of both the Pacific Northwest LNG and Aurora LNG projects and how the Regional District participation  in those EAO processes was now at an end. For 2018, Regional District will continue to participate with the Northwest Resource Benefits Alliance to secure a revenue sharing agreement with the Province related to any major development projects in the area.

Regional District will also look to continue with their engagement with the Port of Prince Rupert when it comes to emergency planning initiatives in the region.

Regional Leadership and Advocacy items that were reviewed included a number of note for Prince Rupert among those were:

The Board outlined its plans to re-establish affordable ferry rates and scheduling issues, as well as to reinforce the understanding that BC Ferries is an extension of the provincial highway system.

Towards that Haida Gwaii residents completed a survey related to BC Ferries service, the results of which were forwarded to BC Ferries executives. Regional District members noted that additional sailings have been added to Route 11 and that discussions continue when it comes to Route 26.

The Board re-committed to maintain and enhance health service levels in the region, with the NCRD paying particular attention to the call from the Community to Community forum for the establishment of a North Coast Treatment Facility.

When it comes to air travel in and out of Prince Rupert, the board reviewed how the objective of improvement of airport access was considered more or less complete by the City of Prince Rupert. They also took note that new members for the Airport Authority Board had been recruited in 2017 and that there have been many, positive changes at the airport over the last two years, with the Board observing that there is a reduction in visitor travel time.

Regional District will continue to work with the NWRBA to achieve a fair and equitable distribution of wealth for the resources taken from the region, towards that goal they noted they had developed a business case for revenue sharing to be discussed with the Deputy Minister of Finance, those talks were to begin late in 2017.

The Board also outlined their recent move to join the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal communities, with funding to be budgeted for participation of Directors at the 2018 AVICC Annual General meeting.

The full overview of the Strategic plan is available from pages 69 to 78  of the Agenda for the December 8th session.

As for other business from their December session, the Board appointed Directors to various external agencies requesting representation from the NCRD for 2018.

They forwarded a correspondence to the BC Passenger Transportation Board to reiterate its opposition to the proposed Greyhound route cancellations for service affecting travel between Prince Rupert and Prince George.

Members made note of a correspondence from the UBCM with respect to the issuance of the North Coast Regional District's semi-annual Community Works Fund payment in the amount of $101,655.

The Board adopted its 2018 interim meeting schedule, with the next regular meeting taking place in Prince Rupert on January 26th.

Regional District members also resolved to provide a letter of support to the Community Energy Association for its application to the Municipalities' Climate Innovation program and will revisit project funding contributions during their 2018 budget discussions.

The overview of the Regional District notes from the December 8th session can be reviewed here.

You can review some of our past items of note from Regional District from our archive page here.

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