From mid-2022 to mid-2023, Neilson Strategies, in collaboration with Leftside Partners, conducted the Electoral Area F Governance & Services Study for the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN). The purpose of the study was to:
- Describe the governance of unincorporated communities, as well as the governance and statutory powers of municipalities;
- Describe how decisions are made by the local government jurisdiction responsible for the different local services provided to Area F;
- Describe how roles and responsibilities are divided among the different levels of government;
- Engage the community to identify common interests and concerns, and to hear the range of opinions on how alternative governance structures may meet local needs.
The Study was overseen by the Electoral Area F Governance & Services Study Committee. The committee was comprised of nine Area F residents; the Electoral Director for Area F served on the Committee in an ex officio, non-voting capacity. Over the course of the Study, the committee held several meetings to review the consultants’ technical analysis, and hosted five open houses to share findings with residents.
Based on the findings from the technical analysis, and the input received through the community engagement process, the consultants set out two sets of changes for the Committee to consider:
- Changes within the existing local governance framework, such as the establishment of advisory committees to strengthen governance, or the commissioning of services feasibility studies to address specific service needs;
- Structural changes to the current framework, such as an examination of the municipal incorporation option.
At its final meeting in April 2023, the Committee recommended that the RDN Board of Directors request the Minister of Municipal Affairs to proceed with a formal study on the incorporation option for Area F or a portion of the Area.