Oak Bay refrains from CRD mediation melee

Province grants non-binding dispute resolution on Regional Growth Strategy

Oak Bay will stay out of impending mediation at the Capital Regional District.

With the region at odds over the Regional Growth Strategy, the province agreed to a non-binding dispute resolution process to start by June 14.

“We’ve allowed the CRD carry the ball … I suggest we at this point receive the information,” said Mayor Nils Jensen.

The CRD Board and each rejecting municipality – Central Saanich, Colwood, Esquimalt, Highlands, North Saanich, Saanich and View Royal – needs to agree to a mediator and a process. The accepting municipalities of Langford, Oak Bay, Metchosin, Sidney, Sooke and Victoria are affected so have the option to participate. Those wishing to participate, share in the costs of dispute resolution, though all wind up paying through the regional district.

The current total mediation cost estimate is $30,000 said Warren Jones, Oak Bay director of corporate services.

That cost is shared between the objectors to the Regional Growth Strategy and the CRD and others who want to participate in mediation. If everyone chooses to participant the Oak Bay’s cost would be $2,300. Costs are depending on not participate, would be less, dependent on how many others do not participate

“Each member municipality that chooses to participate will lower the cost of the rest of the CRD cost. The maximum we would pay would be $2,300,” Jones said. “At the end of the day we will pay something because the CRD will pay to participate in the process.”

Council agreed with the mayor’s assessment, opting out of active participation after a short explanation from staff.

The goal is to determine whether negotiations can result in adoption of the RGS. In the absence of such agreement, the minister would direct binding arbitration.

“We will be watching from the sidelines and wish them well,” Jensen.

cvanreeuwyk@oakbaynews.com

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