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Regional transit concerns from city unmet by RDCK board

In a letter sent to the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) board of directors on Nov. 10 for its Dec. 9 meeting, Nelson Mayor John Dooley asked the board to reverse the revisions proposed for Bylaw 2707 — file photo

The City of Nelson could be threatening a service review of the Kootenay Lake West Transit Service if its questions and demands over the cost apportionment of regional transit are not met.

In a letter sent to the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) board of directors on Nov. 10 for its Dec. 9 meeting, Nelson Mayor John Dooley asked the board to reverse the revisions proposed for Bylaw 2707.

The proposed changes regarding a cost allocation methodology only seeks to increase the annual requisition amount, it no longer makes any changes to achieve a more equitable cost-allocation methodology, Dooley explained in his letter, sent on behalf of city council.

Although the letter appeared in the board agenda under “correspondence,” the directors did not provide a response and, although they had the option to debate it and potentially pass a motion, they didn’t.

The bylaw had been given third reading in September but now requires approval from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure — which has not been given — prior to adoption.

“(T)he changes to Bylaw No. 2707, and lack of explanation for such changes and the accompanying delay, are unacceptable to the city as a service participant,” Dooley wrote in his letter.

The apportionments of cost for the member communities and electoral areas were to be updated as transit services changed, he pointed out.

“However, this never happened and the apportionment percentages are now very outdated and don’t reflect the actual service that is being delivered in each of the participating areas,” Dooley explained in his letter.

“If the city is unable to achieve a more equitable service framework it will be forced to explore all its options, such as initiating a service review.”

Service review

A service review is a review of an organization’s services designed to identify potential service delivery improvements.

A service review can be used to improve an organization’s efficiency and effectiveness, and assists in addressing financial sustainability.

In the letter Dooley said the division of the current costs were based on a percentage that each participant was paying for a number of single services now amalgamated into the Kootenay Lake West Service.

The service previously only funded the Kootenay Connector.

“This was done to simplify the RDCK’s transit services,” Dooley said.

He added that the cost allocation methodology provision that had been removed was very important to city council since it would have allocated the costs of the service more equitably to each participant based on how they use the service.

City council was disappointed to see that the provision had been removed, Dooley wrote.

“Council is also disappointed that no reasoning for the removal of the provision, or explanation as to why no action was taken on Bylaw No. 2707 for nearly 18 months, has been provided,” he wrote.

Looking back

Nearly two years ago (February, 2020) the RDCK brought out the Kootenay Lake West Transit Service amendment Bylaw No. 2707 and it received three readings from the board.

At the time, city council in Nelson passed a resolution — subject to conditions such as a service withdrawal clause — consenting to adoption of the bylaw. That bylaw was never adopted by the board.

Fast forward 10 months and the bylaw was brought back to the board table with changes and an amended third reading was made.

As a service participant, the city was to consent to the bylaw amendment, but it did not.