Parksville council is mulling over a decision to have city staff look at expanding the boundaries of the city.
Mayor Ed Mayne put forward the notice of motion at Parksville city council meeting on Sept. 16. The NEWS caught up with Mayne to discuss his reasons for the proposal and what that process would look like for the city and its residents.
“There’s a number of areas that we’d like to bring into the community, for a myriad of reasons,” said Mayne. “Every one of them is different.”
Chief among those reasons would be to have more undeveloped industrial land in Parksville, and to smooth out the city boundaries.
Mayne wasn’t able to say for certain which areas he is eyeing, but mentioned that there are a number of areas around Parksville, including San Pareil and outlying agricultural land that the city provides services and infrastructure for.
“Our point is, we provide all of the infrastructure for all of these people that live in these areas,” he said. “And we don’t get the tax benefit from it. So we want to look at that.”
In looking at a map of Parksville’s boundaries, it’s easy to see several areas under the jurisdiction of the Regional District of Nanaimo that jut into the city-scape.
Mayne says that the city often receives calls from people who think they live in Parksville, but actually live in areas of the RDN.
There are a number of inefficiencies caused by having isolated, island-like areas in the middle of town that fall under a different jurisdiction. Mayne says it’s the reason that the Orange Bridge hasn’t been repainted, because technically that area of the Island Highway is RDN territory.
Mayne says a boundary expansion process would require extensive consultation with stakeholders, including local First Nations, the RDN, the Agricultural Land Commission, the Ministry of Transportation and residents of Parksville and the impacted areas.
Mayne says there will be “a ton” of public consultation, on a similar level of the creation of the official community plan.
There are six steps required to start the process of boundary extensions that involve consultation on a number of levels. First, council must prepare a resolution authorizing city staff to develop a detailed proposal, which would be submitted to the province. Then comes a formal public consultation. Technical studies will also be undertaken to analyze the impact on taxation and service delivery. The city would then submit the consultation results to the province. If given the OK, there would be a final public vote. If the vote passes, the province can confirm the extension. Only then would a boundary change be implemented. It’s a long process, and if passed, would likely be the largest project the current council will undertake.
“We would be lucky to get it done by the end of our term,” said Mayne.
For now, members of council are educating themselves on the subject in preparation to vote on the motion that would have staff look at preparing a report on the boundary expansion.
The next Parksville city council will take place Oct. 7.