Lantzville prioritizes strategic plan over governance

NANAIMO – Council directed by province to hold governance workshop prior to byelection for four new councillors.

Lantzville council nixed a governance-only workshop, choosing instead to lump the issue with strategic planning.

The District of Lantzville will search for a consultant to guide strategic planning with a newly formed council now at the helm of the district.

Lantzville was directed to hold a governance workshop by the B.C. Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development after the resignation of four politicians. In September, council agreed to have staff members issue a request for quotations for a governance facilitator. After being presented Oct. 26 with a choice of facilitators and a request of up to $15,000 to do the work, council opted to make governance a part of a strategic planning and priorities exercise.

Some councillors took issue with the cost and pointed out that there’s a new council and senior administrative staff and a need to move on. Coun. Denise Haime said she has no problem with a strategic plan and throwing some governance work in there, but could not support spending $15,000 “just talking about relationships.” Coun. John Coulson said he hates the term governance, adding that he never knew what it meant until he joined “this gig.” He said with a huge shake up and three new staff members, “why don’t we let this rest for a little bit and see what happens?”

Coun. Dot Neary agreed strategic planning is a critical piece for council to address, but also argued the value of governance work for a group coming together under difficult circumstances.

“You have an organization that has been through a huge shake up, however which way you look at it,” she said, later adding it’s important for the group to commit to the exercise to find “their level” and start relationships off on good footing so they know where they stand, what they stand for and how they are going to do business as a council.

She said when the idea that a governance workshop has no or little value, or its not known what governance means, or staff are given direction to do one thing and council does a 360 when the request is filled, “a governance workshop would be money well spent.”