The Left Side

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CVRD Directors Must Stand Up And Represent The Residents Who They Are Elected To Serve

Richard 'Hub' HughesIt looks as if the CVRD, and some of our politicians, are rolling over again.

This time we face a proposed LNG facility in Saanich Inlet and unelected Planning Manager Ross Blackwell has reportedly been telling the public and our elected representatives that they must not take sides but remain neutral or face legal action.

What drivel!

CVRD Logo2We are being poorly served and that is putting it mildly. If the politicians, in this case Mill Bay-Malahat Director Kerry Davis, are to be misled around by the nose, why pray do we needed elected representatives at all.

A disturbing pattern is emerging through the Cowichan Valley government bodies where ‘Weak as Water’ politicians are both inviting and allowing senior staff to  interfere in the political process.

Who will stand up for the residents concerns? Why do we elect Directors if they will not look out for the communities needs and interests? Stay tuned. There are more shoes to drop. Many more.

There are more shoes to drop


18 comments to CVRD Directors Must Stand Up And Represent The Residents Who They Are Elected To Serve

  • john howe

    the people need to take charge of the cvrd. start by voting in directors that will dismantle the autocratic base upstairs and bring back basic logical government.start by cutting managements salaries in half.getting rid of bc transit service here in the valley, get rid of the pool tax if you want to swim pay for it your self, scrap the sportsplex tax, if you want exercise go chop firewood, and heat the public buildings with it.put an end to linear parks, what a waste for taxpayers money. with the savings hire specialized doctors to help the poor citizens that are waiting for help here in cowichan.

  • Jack Peake

    I agree with Carl perspective on things. The other matter that the CVRD has to deal with and change is AAPs. We have already gone through one set of AAP’s resulting in tax increases to cover airy “fairy” stuff like Arts and Culture to add to all the other “airy fairy” things being funded under Grants in Aid. We will likely be seeing another of these AAPs soon to try and steal more tax dollars from us to “Raise the Weir” in Lake Cowichan. A weir owned by Catalyst, for their benefit. It DOES NOT need to be raised and even if it did, we the overtaxed taxpayers should not be paying the bill. Just one more example of “Pull the Wool” over the taxpayers eyes and keep adding. The empire building attitude of the CVRD has to stop RIGHT NOW!!!

    • carl schmidt

      This is all getting out of control. Shawnigan is a political disaster and no staff member at the CVRD can stop it. It keeps getting worse and land values are dropping. Tens of thousands of dollars in the courtroon and no end in site. A terrible relationship with the province which is evidenced by the gas tax grant being turned down ( for the weir) Look, if you are blaming the province for your troubles(Shawnigan Lake) then the province will assert itself. There really is no level of sophisticated engagement practice at the CVRD? Is it staff or the Directors?

      Now we hear that the planning manager is trying to quash Director’s voices by advising them to be silent or be sued -and they are listening to him? Really?

      This isnt democracy!

      • Of course no staff member can stop it. The past Board and Shawnigan Director might as well have just driven the permits over to SIA and handed them over on a silver platter. The same know nothing – do nothing approach is being embraced once again over the Steelhead LNG proposals, well underway.

        What the CAO Brian Carruthers should be doing, if he has not already, is calling his senior staff in to tell them in the strongest possible language to stay out of the political arena. They seem to be burdened with control issues and their interfering advice has had the effect of eclipsing the elected Directors on too many issues.

    • Oh, the AAP Card designed for abuse and practiced as such.

  • carl schmidt

    The CVRD , not that long ago, was a failing regime – a cull occurred and a new group of managers were hired to fill the void. It was done expeditiously. Its true they inherited the Shawnigan Lake fiasco – but this is common and the new crew were put into the trenches. Theres no treaty in site and the new crew find themselves struggling to deal with polarizing issues while creating their own set. The result , unfortunately remains anything but crystal clear. In fact, the waters are getting muddier.

    There is a grandiose sense of entitlement with this crew – a Mother knows best attitude – and they are having an impact on our elected representatives who seem to be sinking more than swimming. The electorate stands by, dumbfounded by the arrogance.

    If the shoes keep dropping we all will be in bare feet, wading through the muddied waters of this new regime.

  • Jack Peake

    I too am very concerned about the weak representatives we have at the Regional District. The issue of Sunfest rezoning in the Cowichan Lake Area is another example of elected officials not doing their homework. All of the concerns expressed by those of us who will be severely affected were brushed off as no consequence. The Director of Area I, who spoke in glowing terms about the benefits of Sunfest has recently printed in the Youbou Community Association of having to deal with problems such as traffic and noise after the fact. This was such a fast tracked rezoning one has to seriously wonder what kind of control the proponent had over the local politicians. This seems to be a trend and it has to stop. And stop fast.

    *** ed. note Jack Peake was a former Councillor and Mayor of Lake Cowichan and also a former Chair of the CVRD

  • Carl Schmidt

    What is going on at the CVRD?!

    Private discussions between senior staff end elected representatives breaks the cardinal rule of our democratic process. It is highly unprofessional to say the least, that a private discussion on a subject of this magnitude has taken place!

    Senior staff can discuss issues of importance (with elected representatives) but advice given behind closed doors is contrary to the Committee and Board process.

    This is the canary in the coal mine.

  • Loren Duncan

    First off, an elected Director needs to know that they work for those they represent…and that is not the CVRD. Second, by inferred guilt the Corporate modeled CVRD demands that Directors be “team players” following their Captain, the Chair of the Board, and listening to the wisdom of the team Coach(CAO), above all other. For a Director to not know their inferred place and to not follow the Corporate order of things diligently and faithfully will result in severe censure and attempts at guilt and shaming. This sense of correct purpose becomes a personal test of conviction, faith, and character. Some fail here sometimes, some more often, becoming lost as to which master to serve, which is part the point of the original article. As a Past Director(15 years), I recall a mentor, when first elected telling me, “when it all gets confusing, beyond any clarity””, “when the pressure is on”, when “debate is going every which way”, ask where is the “public interest”, and go there, anchor there.
    That simple wisdom never failed me, ever.
    Never failed the public, either.
    I still thank that mentor, and you all know him well.

    ***Lorne Duncan was a long-serving CVRD Director for Glenora-Sahtlam-Cowichan Station

  • Anne Bomford

    Richard, I so agree with you. That Director Kerry Davis would allow himself to be influenced by Ross Blackwell, scaring him with the talk of law suits is disturbing. It sounds like Mr. Blackwell gave his opinion freely, he was not asked for it by the CVRD Board. And why would the Board ask him for such advice, he is not a lawyer. The CVRD has an in house legal team that they should be asking legal advice from. We are all paying for it.
    In service. Anne Bomford, Former Director, Mill Bay/Malahat

  • Lavonne Huneck

    This isn’t rocket science. We are paying CVRD senior staff six figures for their expertise. They are being paid for their knowledge of how, when and why various governmental acts impact the regional district. They are being paid to ADVISE our elected representatives. They are being paid to consult with lawyers when necessary. When private citizens launch law suits against the CVRD this is a failure of the senior staff to do the job they are hired to do. That the CVRD goes into court and loses the case is pathetic. Senior staff has failed to inform, elected representatives have failed to understand and the public – in service- pays and pays.

    In service,
    L. Huneck

  • Dara Quast


    I think it is very kind of you to refer to these Directors as only “Weak as Water”. I can think of some more descriptive terms for their lack of comprehension and transparent behaviour.

    To be fair to Director Davis, he is not the only lack luster Director sitting at our CVRD Board table. He is just this week’s shining example of a lost and confused Director who doesn’t get what his job is.

    I am sure that the power hungry, politically motivated senior staff and the savvy developers just love our easily guided Directors. Who wouldn’t?

    In service,
    Dara Quast – former believer in the integrity of local government

    • ron koruk


      I think its too early to start blaming our Directors. They have many responsibilities. Senior staff are not to blame either – they are experts and it is important for them to advise the politicians. I see no harm in that.

      • Dara Quast

        Ron, maybe you are unaware that there are 3 former Directors commenting on this post that was written by a fourth former Director and they certainly are not echoing your position.

        I would like to thank you, Rick, Carl, Jonathan and the rest of your unidentifiable gang for providing the opportunity to address your obvious pandering to Directors.

        I am wondering what vote you are trying to get passed that warrants this kind of cheerleading. Knowing our Directors I am confident that you will be rewarded for your valiant efforts.

        I and others on this comment thread make our statements under our own names. Can you (and Carl) say that?

        • carl schmidt


          Im not sure how I am pandering to Directors, I’m not sure if you are reading my posts? I am very concerned about staff interfering with the political process, I thought I made myself clear.

          There is dissidence everywhere, in these forums, on the street in the Boardroom. people are getting arrested, ignored and bullied.

          I have already stated that staff at the CVRD seem to have an incredibly arrogant attitiude towards anyone that seems to even mildly oppose them. Here is where it becomes dysfunctional – when positions on issues ( held by our Directors) seem to be coming from senior managers.

          • Dara Quast

            I have read your posts and I fully understand your position. You made it very clear.

            I am very sorry if my communication skills are so poor that you can’t see the difference between what you are saying and what I am saying. I will try to do better in the future.

  • Carl Schmidt

    It is clearly obvious that the CVRD’s senior managers are having a difficult time dealing with controversial issues. In my experience, polarizing issues held by stakeholders require more dialogue.

    The Shawnigan Lake fiasco is an example of staffs inability to properly engage with the stakeholders. Instead, the CVRD takes the issue to court spending tens of thousands of our dollars with no end in site. Speaks to an inability to engage.

    A true leader uses his/her position to engage with stakeholders. Leadership styles of command and control only further polarize the issue. We need staff who are diplomatic not command and control.

    Elected representatives were hired to lead us. From what I have seen, there is no expertise within senior staff to properly engage with the public. That is clearly obvious. So why would elected representatives take advice from staff who have no expertise in diplomacy?

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