As British Columbians begin taking the first careful steps together to restart the BC economy, the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) will transition away from a state of pandemic response and focus on the renewal of local government services in our community.
The CVRD board has elected to take a measured response and has identified the five key principles to be applied as a lens by staff as all necessary, critical and functional projects slated for 2020 are reviewed.
- Maintaining core services at an affordable cost.
- Sustaining stable services in support of the local economy.
- Adapting to changing community priorities.
- Realigning resources to support community recovery initiatives.
- Communicating clearly about actions.
These principles will form an important part of a new framework that will be used to develop the renewal plan in order to focus CVRD operations for the remainder of 2020 and into future budget cycles.
"The COVID19 pandemic has really pushed all levels of government into uncharted territory," said CVRD Board Chair, Jesse Ketler. "Our responsibility as elected leaders is to understand, as best we can, the challenges facing our residents. Then we need to evaluate the delivery of our 97 local government services in light of these emerging needs."
In developing the renewal plan, staff will consider the relevance and priority of projects for the CVRD’s eight core services – regional growth strategy, sewage treatment, water supply, finance and administration, transit, emergency programs, recreation and electoral areas services. Financial impacts, cost savings and new ways to enhance partnerships for service delivery will be studied.
While the CVRD Board has asked staff to take a measured approach, directors agreed that subsequent recommendations could result in ways to do business differently, service levels being adjusted or projects being cancelled or delayed.
"We know that this is a dire situation for many who have lost their jobs, lost their businesses and possibly even lost their love ones," explained Ketler. "But we also know that the people of the Comox Valley are resilient and as elected officials, we are exploring all options and really looking for the best ways in which we can support our residents and revitalize our economy."
Since the province of British Columbia declared a state of emergency on March 17, 2020 the CVRD has responded by:
- Establishing a regional level 2 emergency operations centre to support public health and the Vancouver Island Health Authority,
- Provided more than $200,000 in supports for the homeless, food security for marginalized populations and other measures during the COVID-19 pandemic, and
- Redeployed several staff as part of a COVID-19 Action Team initiative that connected with 25 community groups in an effort to develop action plans for CVRD support on the ground.
Over the coming weeks and months, the CVRD will work with partners, evaluate projects and present options to the Board, its committees and commissions and partners. For example, the transit system and Sports and Aquatic Centre services will be considered at meetings in May, June and July. Some options will also rely on partnerships with the Comox Strathcona Regional Hospital District, Comox Strathcona Waste Management Board and regional library. A fall 2020 strategic session with the Board will seek endorsement of the plan.
Notably, the CVRD Board initiated a Comox Valley Economic Task Force, to be supported by the Comox Valley Economic Development Society, to set the direction for a strong and resilient economy for the Comox Valley in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Task Force will include mayors, elected officials and representatives from the K’ómoks First Nation, CFB Comox and others.
For more information about the CVRD's response to COVID-19 visit www.comoxvalleyrd.ca/renewal.
The Comox Valley Regional District is a federation of three electoral areas and three municipalities providing sustainable services for residents and visitors to the area. The members of the regional district work collaboratively on services for the benefit of the diverse urban and rural areas of the Comox Valley.
Manager of External Relations
Comox Valley Regional District