System’s broken, new model needed: Director Putterill

  • Apr. 13, 2012 6:00 p.m.

The regional district system is not working for the islands, says Sandspit director Evan Putterill. Mr. Putterill told members of the Moresby Island Management Committee Thursday (April 12) that after a couple of years on the regional district board, he’s become convinced that the system is broken, and wants to find a more effective way to deliver local government services on Haida Gwaii. The Skeena-Queen Charlotte regional district covers Prince Rupert, Port Edward, Haida Gwaii and some outlying areas. The board collects property taxes from the municipalities and rural areas and uses them to provide regional services like garbage, recycling, planning and recreation. Board members, especially those representing municipalities, routinely question the purpose of the regional district at budget time, Mr. Putterill said. “And I know you guys bring up a lot of questions about taxation,” he told the Moresby Island committee members. “There are problems.” The Moresby Island committee has raised several regional district-related concerns over the past few months, including the amount Sandspit contributes to islands recreation and the level of recreation service it receives, and how the community’s water system is administered. Mr. Putterill said that turning Haida Gwaii into its own regional district might be the answer. “This is just an idea, it’s in the idea stage,” he said. “I think it would have huge benefits. It has to be costed out.” Mr. Putterill told the committee that he will be devoting time over the next three months to researching various options for islands governance. After he completes the research, he said, he will present his findings so that Sandspit residents can consider the options and decide what to do next. Reaction to Mr. Putterill’s announcement was mixed. “Exciting stuff!” said one committee member, while a member of the public let out a snore.