Leaving Fraser Valley Regional District may take up to two years

Abbotsford will continue its quest to leave the Fraser Valley Regional District, and move to single tier governance.

Abbotsford will continue its quest to leave the Fraser Valley Regional District, and move to single tier governance.

Staff were told Monday to investigate the process, which could take up to two years to complete, and requires provincial approval.

Abbotsford contributes more than $3 million – almost half the total FVRD budget. According to a staff report, the city does not receive equal value in services.

Ending the relationship could save taxpayers between $800,000 and $1.4 million each year, say city staff.

Coun. Patricia Ross asked for a deferral until April 4, but was denied.

Ross, who is also chair of the FVRD, said the report was based on old 2010 information. A review of the allocation of FVRD services is underway and she believes the district should have the chance to respond to concerns.

She added if Abbotsford proceeds, the provincial government could force the city to become part of Metro Vancouver, rather than remain a separate entity.

“That will cost even more,” she said, adding the notion of becoming a single tier governance was “a long shot.” Ross emphasized she was speaking as a city councillor and not as the FVRD chair. Mayor George Peary disagreed with her Metro assessment, calling the comments “a little bit of fear mongering.”

“The decision itself in not irrevocable. It’s the first step in a long journey … we should start that journey,” said Coun. John Smith, who asked staff to provide a budget of what it will cost to cover the services the FVRD presently provides.

Only Ross voted against the motion, while Couns. Les Barkman and Bill MacGregor were absent from the meeting.

The FVRD consists of six municipalities – Abbotsford, Mission, Chilliwack, Hope, Kent and Harrison – and eight electoral areas. Some of the services provided by the district include 911 services and fire dispatch, mosquito control, planning, and garbage collection.

If Abbotsford decides to leave the FVRD, it may have to remove itself from the Fraser Valley Regional Hospital District.

The purpose of the district is to raise funds for capital costs associated with hospital facilities and major equipment purchases.

According to 2009 financial statements, the hospital district has just under $54 million in outstanding debt. Under the current financial system, Abbotsford is responsible for 49 per cent.

“We would have to take that debt with us,” said city manager Frank Pizzuto. “We are paying for it anyway.”

Presently, the city pays a yearly amount on the debt, in addition to the just over $3 million the city pays each year to the FVRD.

Judy Lewis, Abbotsford’s chief financial officer, said in 2010 the city paid approximately $5.5 million to the hospital district. How much of the debt Abbotsford would accept will have to be negotiated.

Just Posted

Police officer hit by car, stabbed in Edmonton attack back on job

Const. Mike Chernyk, 48, returned to work Thursday

Former U.S. Olympian urges audience at TWU to stay true to themselves

‘I made the decision to lie,’ says Marion Jones

Langley senior about to turn 102

Centenarian and then some Mary Foote remains independent

Rainfall warning issued across Lower Mainland into the weekend

50 to 70 mm of rain expected to fall starting overnight Friday and into Sunday morning

Husband pleads guilty in relation to 2009 killing of Kulwinder Gill

Abbotsford woman died in hit-and-run conspiracy

VIDEO: ‘Lyle the singing pig’ searching for home

SPCA say the pig is ‘not opera-ready’

UBC medical students learn to care for Indigenous people

Students in health-related studies to take course, workshop to help better serve Aboriginal people

Dorsett has 2 goals, assist in Canucks’ 4-2 win over Sabres

‘It was a real good hockey game by our group,’ Canucks coach Travis Green said.

Berry disappointed: Bear tries to eat fake fruit on woman’s door wreath

A Winnipeg woman has taken her berry-embellished wreath down, after a hungry bear visited her porch

Man in custody linked police search near Salmon Arm

Police have not connected arrest to search at Salmon River Road property

‘Hearties’ descend on Langley

Fans of TV show ‘When Calls the Heart’ have gathered in Langley for the Hearties Family Reunion

B.C. search groups mobilize for missing mushroom picker

Searchers from across the province look for Frances Brown who has been missing since Oct. 14.

Have you heard about Black Press scholarships?

Up to 37 scholarships are awarded each year to students throughout British Columbia

Search for missing B.C. man a race against winter weather

David Jeff of Williams Lake was last seen in Kamloops during the chaotic wildfire evacuations

Most Read