- Good afternoon. It is an honour and a personal pleasure to welcome you to the first Capital Regional District Board meeting of 2014.
- Thank you for re-electing Denise Blackwell as Vice Chair, and myself as Board Chair.
- We are both humbled by and grateful for the trust you have once again placed in us.
- To our returning Directors, I thank you for your hard work over the last year, and for your commitment to tackle the opportunities and the challenges in the year that lies ahead.
- I would also like to commend the staff of the CRD on the implementation of many key initiatives.
- The Board values everyone’s contributions and collective wisdom.
- I look forward to working with all of you as a team that pulls towards one goal – making the CRD an even more vibrant and livable region than it already is.
- As a Board, we acknowledge that the CRD exists within the traditional territories of a number of First Nations.
- I’ll speak a little later about the importance of our resolve to pro-actively build on and enhance First Nations relationships.
- Beginning a new year, we must continue to ask ourselves…
- What is important today to residents of the region?
- What are the key issues facing us regionally?
- And finally, we need to strategically nail down:
- What are our priorities in tackling these areas?
- In planning our way forward, it’s helpful to take a glance back.
- Our strategic plan has provided us with a road map and a clear focus, beginning in 2012 and taking us forward into 2014.
- The year 2013 was one of impressive accomplishment. As an organization we excelled in many areas.
- The list is long and the achievements are many.
- A comprehensive overview of what we achieved in 2013 -- aligned with our strategic priorities -- is included in your Board package, and posted on our website.
- Certainly when looking at significant achievements and at important targets, one initiative ranks high in both areas -- our Board’s stated commitment to develop stronger relationships with First Nations in the CRD.
- As a Board, we are committed to respectfully and appropriately engaging First Nations communities in regional strategies and shared interests.
- We have established a framework that will help us improve communications with First Nations to better navigate the development of protocols and engagement practices.
- It also will give us a more consistent approach to formulating agreements and contracts.
- These improvements will expand our service relationships.
- Importantly, the creation of the Aboriginal Initiatives division is a clear commitment to First Nations whose traditional territories include a portion of the CRD.
- It is a concrete step demonstrating that government-to-government relationship-building is a priority focus of the Board.
- Now let’s take a quick look at some other important targets, aligned with our six Strategic Plan priorities …
- As your Chair for 2014, I will continue to work towards implementing the priorities identified in our 2012-2014 Strategic Plan.
Regarding: Regional Transportation and Planning:
- The adoption of the Regional Transportation plan will allow us to assess the feasibility of a new role for the region in regional transportation governance, planning and funding.
- It will also allow us to better integrate regional transportation planning and land use.
Regarding: Regional Infrastructure:
- We’re making significant progress on the creation of new infrastructure such as:
- awarding work on the sewage treatment plant
- completing more work on the E&N rail trail
- constructing new local fire halls on North Galiano and in East Sooke
- and a new local services building for Juan de Fuca.
- All of these will contribute to healthier and safer communities and a more sustainable region.
Regarding our Healthy Region Strategic priority:
- Our targets to support a healthy region include:
- implementation of changes to the Clean Air Bylaw to reduce the risk of second-hand smoke
- Implementing a landmark agreement with Island Health to renew senior’s residential care by replacing the Oak Bay Lodge and Mt. Tolmie Hospital facilities.
Regarding Regional Housing:
- Informing the Regional Housing Affordability Strategy and the future role of the Capital Region Housing Corporation based on input at the Forum of Councils on affordable housing…
- … and expanded funding and participation in the Regional Housing Trust Fund
- … will facilitate the delivery of beneficial regional housing solutions and help to end homelessness.
With respect to Regional Environmental Stewardship:
- Moving towards a ban on kitchen scrap disposal at the landfill by January 2015 will help save space at the landfill and move us towards our goal of a 70 per cent diversion rate.
Finally, but certainly no less important in my opinion Regional Cooperation:
- Significant regional priorities that affect us all highlight the need for an increased level of cooperative work by the Board …
- We see this on initiatives such as an implementation strategy for unified 911.
- We see it too in addressing treatment of our wastewater and how we collect and process our compost materials.
- As we have in the past, in the coming year our Board will continue to face challenges in finding common ground between regional needs while respecting local interests.
- Balancing our responsibilities with the local impact of Board decisions remains a key undertaking.
- As your Chair, I urge Board members to join me in aiming for the highest level of cooperation we can achieve in our thoughtful deliberations.
- Regional cooperation is one of our overarching key strategic priorities, and I look forward to working towards it with you in this term.
- As Chair of the CRD, I would like to take a moment to highlight the value our organization adds to our region.
- The CRD contributes much to our region’s economic growth and future prosperity, and this is sometimes overlooked.
- We provide services and solutions to 360,000 people in the region.
- Our organization is an economic driver of the region, with large investments in infrastructure that inject cash and create jobs for the local economy.
- Approximately $350 million of fiscal expenditures are proposed for 2014, of which $115 million will be invested in capital investments for new infrastructure this year.
- Our capital expenditures will continue to grow over the next few years.
- However, we have successfully leveraged a significant number of grants and funding commitments from the Provincial and Federal Governments.
- The funding agreements with senior government on the sewage treatment project, residential care and hospital projects, housing and transportation projects are significant, and represent hundreds of millions of dollars of investment.
- Our projects and initiatives stimulate our region’s economy while efficiently providing key services whether they are regional, sub-regional or local.
- And equally importantly, our activities support a good quality of life within this local economy.
- Committee work is essential to carrying out the many activities we undertake, and I’m pleased to announce the chairs for each committee.
- A handout is available detailing the full committee membership.
- It is very much a status quo year, with membership and Chairs of the Committees almost the same.
- Committee chairs are as follows:
- I have asked Director Leonard to continue to Chair the Finance Committee.
- The Transportation Select Committee will be Chaired by Director Fortin.
- Planning, Transportation and Protective Services will be Chaired by Director Desjardins.
- Continuing his long service to the region, I have asked Director Young to Chair the Core Area Liquid Waste Management Committee.
- I would also like to thank Director Blackwell for her work in leading this committee through a very busy period.
- The Environmental Services Committee will be chaired by Director Jensen.
- Director Brice will Chair the Regional Parks Committee.
- Alternate Director Screech will Chair the Arts Committee.
- The Electoral Area Services Committee will be Chaired by Director Hicks.
- And I will Chair the Governance Committee
- As is our normal practise, there are some other committees that will choose their own Chair, such as the Regional Water Commission.
- As Chair of the Board, I am looking forward to the year that lies before us.
- I am confident that it will bring many successes.
- The CRD will continue to provide responsible, sustainable stewardship of this region.
- As the Board Chair, I’ll help ensure that our focus will stay on being innovative in addressing challenges, and energetically engaging and serving our communities.
- I know that every one of us around this Board table is determined to make a positive difference.
- Thank you for joining me in rolling up our sleeves and working together to move forward.
- Thank you.