The North Coast Regional District board of directors are feeling a little bit like a group of Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeers.
Sure, they’re very similar to the rest of the regional districts in the North Central Local Government Association (NCLGA), which include the Regional District of the Cariboo, the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako, the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George and the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine, but none of them are the same as they are.
“I know for many of us that have gone to the NCLGA over the years, it’s been interesting and it’s been informative, but in many cases the rest of the region really doesn’t understand us,” said director Des Nobels. “We are sort of an odd little piece in this mosaic that really doesn’t encompass a lot of the issues that we deal with.”
Nobels put forward the motion for staff to explore the possibilities and ramifications of joining another association, specifically affiliating themselves with the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC).
“The issues that we deal with are on a north-south range … Most of what we deal with is coastal in nature, and the rest of the regional districts that we deal with that are part of the NCLGA, they don’t have any linkage to us whatsoever,” added Nobels.
“I know many times when we’ve gone with issues, we’ve received blank stares … and it’s interesting informing them about what’s going on, but really there’s absolutely no connection, no camaraderie and group effort.”
The director alluded to issues with the BC Ferries system as a north-south conundrum that the rest of the NCLGA doesn’t share.
Director Greg Martin seconded the motion, saying that whenever he has travelled to Vancouver Island, he has found other members with very similar issues along the central and southern coasts, and has even joined the Vancouver Island Regional Library – something he encouraged fellow director Lee Brain to look into joining with the City of Prince Rupert.
Martin also said that in years past, the director has taken Haida Gwaii anti-oil based proposed legislation to the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) instead of the NCLGA, because he knew it would get no support from directors from the oil patch in the interior.
Brain added that it may be possible to be affiliated with both the NCLGA and AVICC, as he doesn’t want to lose the relationship with NCLGA.
“With the port activity along the line, our economies are quite linked, and they’re still trying to build business opportunities along the rail access line. So I still see us as a port town having relevancy with the NCLGA … It would be good to know if we can exist in two places at once,” he said. NCRD chief administrative officer Doug Chapman added that staff can look at changing affiliations, but that the NCRD will always be affiliated with the North West Regional Hospital District.