The issue of unelected CRD alternates taking part in North Cariboo Joint Planning Committee meetings came to a head at last night’s City Council meeting in Quesnel.

Quesnel City Council has provided notice to the Cariboo Regional District that, effective immediately, Council will not take part in Joint Planning meetings that include alternate Directors acting on behalf of elected Northern Directors.

Mayor Bob Simpson…

“This is a long standing issue that we have had where alternates who are unelected, can actually be privy to potentially at times very sensitive information in camera, with no accountability mechanisms associated with that, that are normally assigned to elected officials. And also these are individuals who may or may not even really be conscious of the day to day operations that they are managing along with other things. So Council has made the decision that, while Cariboo Regional District Directors are compelled under the law to appoint an alternate, they are not compelled under any law to use an alternate, and so therefore we do not have to meet with alternates, we will only meet with the elected officials.”

Councillor Mitch Vik also expressed his concerns…

“I am very much in favour of this resolution. I think it’s very important, especially for new Councillors who are coming around for the first time here. The process whereby we became elected here I think is sacred and very important and I know personally I had some issue with having to make important decisions at Joint Planning with ones that were not elected, and this certainly satisfies my concerns.”

The motion, to perhaps soften the blow, also talked about how Council values the collegial relationship which developed over the previous term between the Council and the Northern Directors of the Cariboo Regional District.

It also talked about the option for Northern CRD Directors to take part in a meeting electronically if they can’t make it in person.

The vote, originally taken in-camera during strategic planning back on February 12th, was unanimous.

Simpson says the CRD Chair and the CEO of the CRD, as well as the co-chair of the Joint Planning Committee, were informed of the outcome prior to last night’s meeting.