Margo Wagner. (100 Mile Free Press photo)

Margo Wagner. (100 Mile Free Press photo)

Code of conduct for local government on CRD’s radar

This comes as part of the Municipal Affairs Statutes Amendments Act

Streamlined development approval processes, modernized public notice requirements and the implementation of codes of conduct are among the proposed changes being considered by the province for local governments.

Highlights of the proposed Municipal Affairs Statutes Amendments Act were released by the provincial government last month in response to requests from municipalities.

Margo Wagner, chair of the Cariboo Regional District board and area director for Forest Grove-Canim Lake, said the implementation of a code of conduct is one of the bigger issues on the CRD’s radar.

According to a release from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, the requirement would be a means of accountability for elected officials and “a tool to strengthen local government.”

“This is something we’ve been asking for for a long time at the (Union of British Columbia Municipalities),” Wagner said. “It’s a good first step, although it’s not mandatory for people to sign it and I think it should be.”

The proposal to streamline development approvals, if adopted, would remove the requirement for local governments to hold public hearings for zoning bylaw amendments that are consistent with the Official Community Plan. Additionally, the change would allow municipalities and regional districts to delegate minor development variance permit decisions to staff.

“This would help us to get through the red tape quicker,” Wagner said.

In terms of modernizing the local government public notice requirement, that change could see municipalities and regional districts no longer required to advertise public hearings and notices in local newspapers.

The proposed changes have not yet been reviewed by the District of 100 Mile House, according to Chief Administrative Officer Roy Scott who said they would likely not come into effect until sometime in 2022, should they be approved.

“Due diligence would prescribe administration to advise council of the legislative changes and provide options for consideration, along with recommendations from the admin side of the equation, at such time as the legislation becomes a reality,” Scott said via email. “There is no mad rush to change how business is conducted today.”

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Cariboo Regional District