Will the Regional District of Nanaimo Devolve?

Will the Regional District of Nanaimo Devolve? RDN stands for Regional District of Nanaimo. It covers a huge area from Deep Bay and Qualicum Beach to the north all the way down to Cedar and Cassidy to the South and Gabriola Island and Mudge Islands to the East.

The three myths of the RDN:

  • RDN doesn’t include cities such as Nanaimo or Parksville
  • RDN board members meet once a year
  • RDN will soon be renamed Regional District of Mid Vanisle

The RDN does collect taxes which are going up again. There are four municipalities in the RDN – Nanaimo, Lantzville, Parksville, and Qualicum Beach. Each receives a variety of services from the RDN and is represented on the Regional Board. Eight of the seventeen RDN board members are from the City of Nanaimo (hence the name “Regional District of Nanaimo”). The RDN board meets twice a month.

New RDN Chair

For the first time in 13 years, the board has elected a new chair. In a secret-ballot vote at a meeting in December 2015 Area H director Bill Veenhof defeated Joe Stanhope for the board Chair position.  Mr. Stanhope was the Chair of the RDN board since 2002.

Bill Veenhof is the RDN Board Chair and Colin Haime, District of Lantzville Mayor, is the Deputy RDN Board Chair.

RDN Tax increases

The RDN board is expected to finalize the 2016 budget recommendations at its February 23, 2016 regular meeting. This will see the following tax increases:

  • City of Nanaimo will see property tax increase to $98 per $100,000 in 2016 from $96 per in 2015.
  • Gabriola Island (Area B) property tax is expected to rise to $98 per $100,000 of assessed value in 2016. It was $91 per $100,000 in 2015.
  • In Area C (Extension, East Wellington and Pleasant Valley), property tax will remain steady at $141 per $100,000 of assessed value.
  • Area A (Cedar, Yellowpoint and Cassidy) could see property tax at $154 per $100,000 in 2016, which is a decrease from $155 per year in 2015.

RDN Regional Growth Strategy

The RDN is in the process of changing its Regional Growth Strategy.

Why the change? Will the urban planners consider climate change in their decisions. Will they curb the sprawl of one level strip malls? You have until February 23, 2016 to give your feedback.

Regional District of Nanaimo - covers mid Vancouver Island
RDN – Regional District of Nanaimo

Swallowing Area G

Area G includes French Creek, Dashwood, and Englishman River.

Could Area G be taken over by the municipalities of Parksville and Qualicum Beach? If they did would that mean a 30% tax increase for the residents? Will that region outgrow the regional district governance model?

Water is a big issue. Currently, thousands of RDN residents are being supplied by a private system owned through a company called Epcor run by the City of Edmonton.

New Community Plan for Area H

People living in Qualicum Bay, Bowser, Deep Bay, Dunsmuir, Horne Lake and Spider Lake are getting a new Official Community Plan. What does this mean? The OCP is the road map for how the communities will grow and connect.

Some changes that have already taken place are the expansion of Deep Bay Harbour,  allowance for secondary suites, and introduction of building inspection.

Homelessness a serious problem

According to the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD), estimates of people in the Valley who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless range from several hundred to more than 2,000.

Nanaimo, Parksville and Qualicum Beach are also facing serious issues with homelessness.

No live streaming of RDN Board meetings

Unfortunately, there is still no live streaming of the RDN board meetings. Every small community is providing this public service. Why not the RDN? If you would like to see the RDN live stream their board meetings let them know. It is good to know where and how your tax dollars are being spent.