LETTER: Regional district rep should speak for constituents

By Contributor
May 18th, 2010

Dear Editor;

On Wednesday, May 12, I attended the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) Planning and Development Committee meeting in Trail. I went to support a resident from Bridesville who is concerned about the Regal Ridge Development east of Osoyoos along Highway #3. New Growth Capital Corporation, owned and operated by the same people as Regal Ridge, had requested the committee revisit their application to exclude three parcels of land from the ALR (located North of Highway 3, near Sidley Mountain Road in Area ‘E’) based on new information.

From reading previous meeting minutes and talking with other citizens from the Boundary region I learned that New Growth Capital Corporation had earlier made the same application and on Tuesday, April 13, 2010 to the local Advisory Planning Committee of Area E, members of which were appointed by Bill Baird regional director for area E, recommended this request be denied. The larger planning department staff of the RDKB reviewed the APC’s comments and those received from the public in response to this application, all of which were against it, and recommended to the RDKB Directors that the application be denied.

After hearing both sides of the argument at this meeting the RDKB representatives voted in favor of referring this new information to the planning department for further consideration. However, this is not my reason for writing this letter.

Before the committee voted, Area E Representative Bill Baird spoke in support of the development and about how impressed he was with the developer’s plan to include parks, ponds, and walkways throughout Regal Ridge. I see this as a huge conflict of interest considering Bill Baird is both a real estate agent in the region and operates a gravel/aggregate pit in the area as well. His role is to reflect the best interests of his constituents who strongly indicated their feelings relative to this application, all of whom recommended rejection of the application, as did his local APC.

How can an elected representative from the same area as the development speak so strongly in support knowing many of the residents strongly oppose it? Shouldn’t Baird represent and reflect the desires of his constituents? Also, as Baird has at minimum, a perceived conflict of interest, and at worst an actual conflict, his actions and statements relative to this matter appear to lack both respect for his constituents and credibility for his position.

Any person wishing to express a concern for this reapplication is encouraged to send his/her comments in writing to: Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, 202-843 Rossland Avenue, Trail BC, V1R 4S8.

Yours truly,

Patti Bevilacqua 

Grand Forks, B.C.

Categories: Politics