Haida Gwaii regional district unlikely to materialize

Although finding support from some members of the board, the idea of a regional district for Haida Gwaii is unlikely to come to fruition.

Although finding support from some members of the board, the idea of a regional district specifically for Haida Gwaii is unlikely to come to fruition.

Coun. Anna Ashley, who sits on the board of the regional district, brought the idea forward for discussion at Prince Rupert council on April 14.

“There has been talks about seeing if Haida Gwaii wanted to go on its own as a regional district, and that has been fought at the provincial level,” said Ashley,.

“That is something I think everyone on the regional district would like to see, simply for efficiency, but unfortunately until they are willing to change the legislation that is unlikely to happen.”

Prince Rupert Mayor Jack Mussallem also voiced support for the idea, saying it just makes economic sense.

“Because of the physical location, it’s very simple: You take a map and look at how far Vancouver Island is off of the Lower Mainland and how far Haida Gwaii is and it is not very efficient when it comes to travel and being held over due to weather conditions,” he said

Regional district boundaries were based on school district boundaries when they were incorporated in the 1960s, but were later balanced out to consider geography and financial strength, said Alec Tully, spokesperson for the Ministry of Community, Sports and Cultural Development. Given that, the ministry said the regional district encompassing the North Coast is sized appropriately.

“The Skeena — Queen Charlotte Regional District is one of the smallest regional districts in terms of area and population,” he said.