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City withdraws from RDCK joint venture

Photo: city councllor Kirk Duff

The final implications of a service review, instigated several years ago by the City of Castlegar to assess joint programming undertaken with the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK), are finally trickling through to the public sphere.


City council, in its regular meeting Monday night, released its in-camera decision to withdraw from the RDCK's development services program as of the 2010 budget.


Councillor Kirk Duff, also alternate director of the RDCK for the city, said the service review in its entirety should hopefully be ready for public release by mid- to late-October ...but in the interim, this withdrawal is a positive move for city taxpayers.


"For the past eight years, since 2002, we have contributed $475,212 towards the RDCK Development Services budget with little or no return on investment," Duff said.


“We've asked to opt out of (RDCK development services) before, but always thought we couldn't, until recently,” he added, explaining participation in some joint ventures is mandated by the Local Government Act. “Apparently ... participants do have the option to opt out, if they so choose.


“This was actually a part of the service review ... We didn't believe we were getting a good return on our investment.”


For example, he said, one of the services paid for under the “development services” umbrella is GIS mapping ... but the city already pays, from its own budget, for a more comprehensive version of said mapping for the city. The city portion, then, of funding for the RDCK version was ultimately subsidizing GIS mapping for other areas of the RDCK and offering little, if any, benefit to the Castlegar taxpayer.


“We don't mind joint ventures, as long as there's an identifiable mutual benefit,” Duff said.