Failed Regional Growth Strategy cost $1.8-million to date, completion cost could escalate to $3-million

First the CRD had a prolonged wrangle over regional sewer treatment, then it was lack of agreement over a regional transportation approach, and now, it’s wide division over updating the Regional Growth Strategy (RGS).

After spending about $1.8-million, the CRD said recently that after five years of efforts they had failed to come up with the Regional Growth Strategy – seven of 13 municipalities voted against the final document – and that they may need to go to non-binding mediation.

“It’s the moment for the 13 municipal councils to demand better from the CRD,” says John Treleaven, 1st vice-president of Grumpy Taxpayer$.

“After 50 years of operating as an organization and after an exercise of this expense and time, it is more than disappointing the CRD has produced no vision for this community, says Treleaven.

The RGS is a framework for the future of the capital region, guiding decisions on regional issues such as transportation, population growth, environmental protection and settlement patterns. But provincial legislation requires unanimous municipal approval, more stringent than requirements to amend the Canadian constitution.

An estimated $1.8-million has been spent to date including funding for this year, according to CRD financials. Annual costs have escalated during that six-year period to almost $400,000 annually (Budget Line Item 1.330).

Even if it gets punted to non-binding mediation, there are no assurances that a divided CRD will agree on the strategic plan. The estimate for that process is $780,000. It’s not clear if this includes $400,000 more to continue drafting the growth strategy in 2018.

So in total, after all and said is done, taxpayers may be on the hook for as much as $3-million, maybe more, to end this saga. All figures exclude unknown costs for staff time.

Heck, this latest saga again confirms our belief that the CRD is chronically divided and dysfunctional, trying to operate under a failed governance structure – all at the expense of the taxpayer.

It remains to be seen if the province has any chops to resolve some of the governance issues by updating the underlying legislation, the Community Charter and Local Government Act.

The Capital Integration Services and Governance Initiative, which was established last summer by the province to review the CRD, has yet to table a report of its findings.

BACKGROUND

Regional Growth Strategy, CRD

https://www.crd.bc.ca/project/regional-growth-strategy