Breti was elected to speak on behalf of the community, who discussed the new bylaw at two meetings earlier this spring, which drew 50 and 100 residents respectively. What came out of those meetings is clear: they want the PRRD to rescind Bylaw 1996, 2011 in its entirety, and reinstate the previous Bylaw No. 1189, 1999.
“In order to be effective, the Regional District needs to earn the trust of the very suspicious rural constituents before asking them to buy into proponent’s schemes and new bylaws,” he told the Board Directors. “Making the trust of all the stakeholders before bombarding them with bright ideas should be a priority.”
The new bylaw requiring building permits for construction in all areas of the Regional District came into effect March 18, 2013, but has been met with opposition from many rural residents. There had been talk about creating another new bylaw along the lines of the former one, but a motion of that nature was defeated at the June 13th meeting.
Breti also suggested revisiting Building Bylaw No. 400, 1984, which the two most recent bylaws were founded on.
“Do not discount it, or allow it to pass you by. Embrace it. Use it as an opportunity to turn this mess around. Use it to regain the trust that the electorship deserves,” he pleaded. “You can no longer implement radical new programs by passing the cost to future generations. We have come to the end of that road.”
Board Chair Karen Goodings explained that the decision not to rescind the bylaw yet came from a desire to better consult with the public before making any changes.
“We want to hear what you don’t like about the bylaw,” she says. “Nothing is written in stone; it’s written on paper. Unless the B.C. Building Code or the Home Owners Protection Act, which are outside of our jurisdiction, anything else we can look at changing.”
The PRRD has now committed to at least 20 town hall meetings in rural areas across the regional district, to discuss the bylaw, along with other matters of interest. Specific dates have not yet been set, but meetings will be held in the following communities: Chetwynd, McLeod, Tupper, Dawson Creek, Upper Cutbank, Farmington, Rolla, TowerLake, Charlie Lake, Baldonnel, Buick, Pink Mountain, Wonowon, Halfway Graham, Montney, Prespatou, Rose Prairie, Cecil Lake, Clearview and Hudson’s Hope.