Council considering new governance model for water system oversight

BOWEN ISLAND, B.C. – On July 2, Mayor Leonard along with Councillor Morse and members of staff met with the Chairs of the Water System Local Advisory Committees (LAC) to discuss Council’s strategic priorities for the current term. A key goal for this Council is to enhance public awareness and opportunities for engagement, particularly regarding the Municipality’s water systems, while strengthening our connection to infrastructure management and financing responsibilities.

Water System LAC Chairs were informed that as a means to increase Council oversight of water systems, Council will be considering a modified governance structure which requires direct reporting of operations and finances to Council and to the public. Consequently, formal LAC meetings will be discontinued, and Council will consider repealing the relevant bylaws that established the LACs.

The oversight and governance functions will be managed directly by Council. To maintain and enhance communication with water users, ongoing Community Information Meetings will be held, inviting all residents and property owners within the relevant water systems to participate. Council will discuss and enshrine this new engagement framework through binding bylaw to ensure accountability and transparency to residents.

It is important to note that by connecting neighbourhoods directly with Mayor and Council for water system engagement, the underlying Local Service Area agreements will remain unchanged — the assignment of rates, costs, and budget for each local system will continue being accounted for as has historically been the case. 

This new structure, which combines Committee of the Whole meetings with Community Information Meetings, will tap into the knowledge and experience of the LAC members through continued participation in this new format. We thank all water system Local Advisory Committee members for your many years of hard work and dedication, and look forward to your continued participation and support to Council as we move forward with this new governance model.

For further details on the rationale behind this transition, please watch the July 8, 2024, Council meeting on our YouTube Channel. Additionally, we encourage all residents to sign up for email updates from the Municipality through the Water System Mailing Lists to stay informed.