Residents across the South Island will soon be able to subscribe to a monthly summary of progress on issues, activities and decision-making at the Capital Regional District.
CRD directors overwhelmingly approved a motion yesterday to create a handy ‘Highlights Report’ starting this fall and to review its success after two years.
“The CRD is reaching out to taxpayers and taxpayers will find it easier to reach into the CRD,” says Stan Bartlett, chair of Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria. “That’s critical given that communication is a two-way street.”
The decision is being viewed by Grumpy Taxpayer$ and others as a major step to improve transparency at the CRD, which delivers more than 200 service, finance and infrastructure agreements for 13 municipalities, three electoral areas and their 413,000 residents. The CRD also owns and operates the Capital Region Housing Corporation (CRHC), a nonprofit provider of 1,286 affordable rental units throughout the region, and administers the Capital Regional Hospital District (CRHD).
“The CRD is complex and dynamic, manages a huge budget, and has a major impact on our daily lives. It’s importance will only increase as the population continues to grow toward 500,000 residents,” Bartlett says.
The Highlights Report will bolster easy access to information, encourage more engagement of citizens, and assist the CRD in reaching its corporate goals, he says.
The Highlights Report will allow residents to get a quick overview of CRD activities and decisions. If they want more information, they can quickly got to links and drill down to minutes, reports and so on.
A Highlights Report has been used successfully by Metro Vancouver for some time, and by the City of Victoria since 2016.
Grumpy Taxpayer$ introduced the concept of a Highlights Report as part of its election platform during the municipal election last fall. Subsequently, CRD director Ben Issit and Coun. Jeremy Loveday of Victoria championed the so-called Transparency and Governance Initiatives.
The board also approved a motion to create a Rise and Report webpage on the CRD website for the disclosure of closed meeting resolutions that no longer need to be kept confidential. It will also identify the mover and seconder of the motion and the voting record.
- Regional Governance and Transparency Initiative, CRD, May 9, 2019.
- Battle for more transparency at CRD gaining momentum, Times Colonist, Nov. 15, 2018.
- Council Highlights Report, City of Victoria, 2016-19.