Nebbeling outlines Liberal plans to SLRD 

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"Then hopefully we will have a new Municipal Act, or Community Charter that will allow communities throughout British Columbia to do what the City of Vancouver has been able to do for many years," noted Nebbeling. "Vancouver has the city charter which they have been able to use to get away from many hindrances."

Nebbeling said the charter moves away for the traditional one-size-fits-all approach to local government and communities will be able to capitalize on their individual unique traits.

Still being written for the community charter is a new land use and zoning act. This should be ready by April or May, noted Nebbeling. The Liberals are also working on a financial strategy for local governments that will be included in the charter. "We want to give communities a whole array of choices in how they can raise funds."

Nebbeling said, however, the outstanding component is how to deal with regional governments.

He said regional districts are more complicated than municipalities. He noted that the Liberals have received good input from municipalities on the charter but they haven’t yet got that kind of feedback from regional governments. "That is why we intend to spend six months on the road, meet with all the boards and find out where things are problematic and see if we can find ways to make regional boards work."

Nebbeling was due to leave for Fort Murray and Fort St. James after the SLRD meeting. He said once data has been collected from the trips, a regional district charter will be introduced. He said the uniqueness of communities will also be recognized under this new legislation.

"This is very important to me. It will stop dividing communities as we have seen recently all over the province… regional boards are really in a bind. They have been asked to take on certain responsibilities by the provincial government, often without compensation." He said some regions just can’t afford the extra responsibility.

He said the Fraser district, including Chilliwack and Abbottsford, is an example of a region divided. "They are having a hell of a time getting a growth strategy going. Not unlike this area."

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