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Public meetings scheduled to discuss regional district budget

Public meetings with directors will take place between Feb. 22 and March 3
File Photo: SCRD's Field Road Location.

Residents will have a chance in coming weeks to meet with Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) directors online to talk about the 2021 budget, which could bring sizable property tax hikes in rural areas.

Directors want “to ensure that [residents] are informed about decisions that are being made in relation to projects and the resulting tax increases,” the SCRD said in a news release.

If all projects currently in the budget were to proceed this year, property tax increases could range from 17 to 23 per cent, depending on the rural area, directors have been told.

More than 100 projects scheduled for 2020 were deferred until 2021 due to the pandemic. Meanwhile, more than 100 other projects, many involving critical infrastructure like fire departments, ports, groundwater, water-metering, and landfills, have come forward for this year.

Directors heard from chief financial officer Tina Perrault during Round 1 of budget discussions in early February that if all projects are approved, “that totals up funding for an additional $14 million.”

The public meetings with directors will take place between Feb. 22 and March 3:

• Area A (Egmont/Pander Harbour): Friday, Feb. 26 at 9 a.m.

• Area B (Halfmoon Bay): Monday, Feb. 22 at 6 p.m.

• Area D (Roberts Creek), Area E (Elphinstone), and Area F (West Howe Sound): Friday, Feb. 26 at 6 p.m.

• Sechelt Indian Government District: TBD

• Town of Gibsons: Tuesday, March 2 at 7 p.m.

• District of Sechelt: Wednesday, March 3 at 7 p.m.

The release said that information on how to participate will be shared in advance of the meetings on the SCRD website and Facebook page.

Round 2 of the directors’ three-round budget process is to be held March 4 and 5. The budget is scheduled for adoption on March 25.