By Kelsey Verboom
One member of the Regional District of East Kootenay Board of Directors is about to stir the pot at the board’s next meeting on June 8th.
Area G Director Gerry Wilkie has confirmed that he plans to bring forward a motion to ask the government to repeal a motion approved by the Regional District Board of Directors in 2009.
The 2009 motion gave the provincial government decision-making powers with respect to the Jumbo Glacier Resort development, and supported the formation of a Mountain Resort Municipality as the preferred form of governance for the development.
Now, Director Wilkie plans to ask the board to consider reversing that decision, and ask the province to consult with and possibly return decision-making powers to local government — namely, the regional district and neighbouring municipalities.
Director Wilkie’s rumoured motion comes following amendments to the Local Government Act made during the most recent sitting in the Legislature. The tweaks to the act were passed as part of Bill 41.
The changes allow a Mountain Resort Municipality to be formed, with a government and council appointed by the province, even if no permanent population exists.
The amendments are consistent with existing government policy and merely clarify the current wording of the Local Government Act, Ida Chong, Minister for Community, Sport, and Cultural Development told The Pioneer during an interview last month.
Director Wilkie disagrees, and said the changes raise “serious questions about public accountability in governance and all other aspects of this development.”
As such, he plans to bring forward a motion and let the board decide whether or not to return the “power vested in the Regional District that was taken away.”
Director Wilkie’s planned motion is all about the democratic process, he said.
“We were denied that at the time of the August 2009 resolution. To me that was the real mistake I think the board made. Not necessarily a mistake, but it was a very difficult decision, and it denied people their rights under the Local Government Act.
“What I’m asking for, given the fact that they [the provincial government] have apparently decided on this somewhat precarious and draconian idea of setting up a municipality, is that they at least consult with people in the region about decisions that are going to be made.”
When asked whether raising a motion contrary to one that was already voted on and passed by the board was anti-democratic, he replied, “I guess it is a little retrospective in a way, but the important thing is it will involve the local people who live in the area, and that was denied.”
Director Wilkie’s motion will not be official until it is printed in the Regional District of East Kootenay agenda, which was expected to happen after press time.