Regional districts: who is represented?

Who are regional directors supposed to represent?

In a general sense, a regional director represents their electoral area (in our case, Lasqueti).

But who specifically does that include?

The “electors” are people who can vote in a local government election for regional director (next election: Oct 2018). Part 3 (Electors and Elections) of the Local Government Act defines who can vote:

  1. Resident electors are people who are 18 years or older, Canadian citizens, residents of BC for at least the prior 6 months, and residents of Lasqueti for at least the prior 30 days.
  2. Non-resident property electors are people who are not resident electors, but are 18 years or older, Canadian citizens, residents of BC for at least the prior 6 months, and owners of property on Lasqueti for at least the prior 30 days. Plus: only one owner of a property can register as a non-resident property elector.

But who is represented? Whose interests are we talking about?

In a nutshell: every resident and landowner (not just electors/voters).

The Local Government Act and the “Regional District Tool Kit” make it clear that our regional director represents the “jurisdiction” (i.e. Lasqueti). Although not every resident and property owner can vote, all need and deserve representation, and all have interests in how regional services are established and run on Lasqueti. This includes minors, permanent residents, and citizens of other countries.

Every resident and property owner is free to voice their support, concerns or wishes by writing or speaking to their regional director, by writing to the regional Board, or by attending Board meetings.

PRRD staff undermined this representation when they declared our petition in 2015 to be “invalid”. Recall that the community sent a petition with over 100 signatures to our regional director, asking him to put forward a motion to rescind 3rd reading of the 911 and house numbering bylaws. This petition was open to any resident and property owner.

Instead of our director acting on the petition, PRRD staff declared that it was invalid using a formal “certification of insufficiency.”  However, this certification erroneously relied on the part of the Local Government Act regarding “petitions by property owners for a new service” (discussed in the note on regional service establishment). When I wrote to the PRRD CAO that our petition was not asking for a new service, his reply included that “the petition falls into a black hole.” In actuality, the petition was entirely valid, from the people who are supposed to be represented, and was improperly dismissed as invalid.

Whether or not you can vote, the regional director is supposed to represent all residents and property owners of Lasqueti.