Fact or Fiction Archives

These pages are used to provide factual information intended to correct or clarify information found in the media on issues related to the CVRD.  It’s all about making sure that the accurate information is “out there”.  We strive to provide accurate information, but sometimes we find that a correction or clarification is needed to what people are reading -- might be in a letter to the editor, in an anonymous “beef”, on a website or in an actual media report. 

If you have a question or comment about information on this page, please contact us either by using the online feedback form, or via our social media pages (listed at the top of our website) or simply by contacting us at corporate_services@comoxvalleyrd.ca.

2016

FICTION:  April 8, 2016 -- Victoria isn’t the only battleground over sewage

In the April 7th edition of the Times Colonist an article from George Le Masurier entitled “Victoria isn’t the only battleground over sewage” had a number of inaccuracies and it is important the readers have the facts. 

Here are the FACTS:

Letter to the editor from the CVRD [PDF - 148 KB]

2015

FICTION:  May 29, 2015 -- Recently two property owners in the CVRD have developed a website and outdoor signage regarding work they did on beach access stairs and other structures.The property owners have made a number of false allegations, among them that the CVRD reneged on an agreement made with them.

Here are the FACTS:

FICTION: A March 31, 2015 story in the Comox Valley Echo newspaper “Composting and recycling successes mean residents will feel the pinch” contained the following statements and quotes: 

  1.  The dump doesn’t meet environmental standards. 
  2. “methane flaring still puts carbon dioxide into the atmosphere”.
  3. “We’ve been trying to make the regional district do something that’s better than 25 per cent of the solution”. 
  4. “Instead of buying a candlestick methane flare, the RD could have picked up a micro turbine for under a million”. 
 

FACT:

  1. The landfill at the Comox Valley waste management centre doesn’t meet the current environmental standards; that is why we are undertaking the capital projects to bring the landfill into compliance with the new regulations. 
     
  2. Under the provincial landfill design guidelines, “the carbon dioxide component of landfill gas (LFG) is generally regarded as being biogenic in origin (not derived from fossils fuels) and therefore not considered an additional greenhouse gas emission”. 
     
  3. Also from the provincial landfill design guidelines, “methane is approximately 25 times more (not 25 per cent of) heat absorptive than carbon dioxide”. 
     
  4. Provincial guidelines say that “an active LFG collection system must include a complete extraction control plant on-site with a LFG flare.”  The flare system not only destroys the methane, it also includes the blowers and sensors that draw the gas from the landfill.  That would still be required even with the micro turbine.

FICTION: The March 17, 2015 Comox Valley Echo newspaper had a story about employees who provide the initial call answering point for 9-1-1 in the Nanaimo/Cowichan Valley area re-locating to the Courtenay RCMP OCC (operations communications centre), and providing that same function from that location. That story contained this paragraph: "The initial answering point for public safety 911 calls is the RCMP Operational Communications Centre in Courtenay. The North Island 911 Corporation contracts with the RCMP OCC to perform that function and supplies funds for staffing. All employees in this centre are both 911 and police dispatch trained.”

FACT:

That statement is no longer accurate. The re-locating employees will be the initial call answer personnel for those from the Nanaimo/Cowichan Valley area calling
9-1-1, but back in October 2014, the North Island 9-1-1 Corporation (NI9-1-1) changed its contract for the initial answering point for emergency calls to E-Comm. E-Comm then directs the call to police (dispatch out of the Courtenay OCC), fire (Campbell River fire is dispatch) or ambulance (to BC Ambulance in Victoria for dispatch). The North Island 911 Corporation no longer contracts with the RCMP OCC in Courtenay to perform the initial answering function, nor does it supply funds for staffing. That all changed with the switch to E-Comm.  

There is information about the changeover in this news release and also at http://www.ni911.ca.. The Echo newspaper has corrected its online version, and will be providing a correction in its Friday edition, so that will help fully clear this up. 

NI911 call-taking/coverage area includes the regional districts of Comox Valley, Strathcona, Alberni-Clayoquot, Mount Waddington, Powell River (excluding Lasqueti Island), and the school district 69 portion of the Nanaimo Regional District.

FICTION: In the March 12, 2015 Comox Valley Record, there was an anonymous "beef" that wondered whether the CVRD had "something to hide" because the writer said a provincial audit was to have been done, but nothing has been heard about the results.
 

The writer of this “beef” might be referring to a performance audit undertaken by the provincial government’s appointed Auditor General for Local Governments (AGLG). The AGLG’s office identified several audit ‘themes’ and chose different local governments throughout BC to participate in each theme. The ONLY aspect that the AGLG’s office selected to review at the CVRD is operational procurement. That audit was started in 2013, but the office of the AGLG has yet to finish it. For more information on the AGLG audits, or to contact their office with questions: www.aglg.ca.

There is only one other audit and that's the one done every year on the CVRD financial statements by an independent accounting firm. Each year the auditor appears in front of the CVRD board – in a public session – and provides the results of the audit. The audit for 2014 has just been completed and the auditors will present their report at the March 31, 2015 board meeting - open to the public. The complete financial statements for prior years are on the CVRD website and also summarized in the CVRD annual report, available online at www.comoxvalleyrd.ca.

2014

FICTION: On December 5, 2014 a letter appeared in the Comox Valley Echo.  In that letter, the CVRD was "strongly urged to put Sunday public transit in place" because, as the letter writer said, in a modern community, the car shouldn't be the only way to get around - even on a Sunday. 

FACT: 

We couldn't agree more that in a modern, urban community, transit should be a definite option for getting around and that's why Comox Valley transit runs EVERY day of the week - Sundays included. 
• There are 6 transit routes on Sundays (#1, 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10).
•  Routes cover Courtenay, Comox, and Cumberland plus south to Fanny Bay.
• While trip frequency and span of service are less than weekday service, this is reflective of the decreased demand for transit on Sundays and the need to use our transit funding efficiently.
• Through the Comox Valley Transit Future Plan, the community identified key priorities being increased frequency during weekday peak commute times on main corridors. In addition, the short term priorities developed through this plan include additional Sunday service on main corridors, and we hope to be able to add even more Sunday trips over the next few years.

FICTION: The Tuesday, September 23, 2014 Comox Valley Record had an article “Bus Fares on the Rise” that said this:

“Although yearly revenue is increased by $31,400, ridership is down by 18,000 trips per year.”

FACT:

The increase in revenue and decrease in ridership is expected as a result of the proposed fare increase January 2015. However, as mentioned in the article, the CVRD hopes to mitigate this decrease in ridership with the service improvements, perhaps even see ridership increase. Further, over the past year the CVRD has actually seen ridership increase. To view the recent news release regarding those numbers, visit BC Transit newsroom.

FICTION: The July 22, 2014 Comox Valley Echo had a letter to the editor containing this statement:

“For years, I have been diligently attending the local recycle centre, separating glass, cans, plastics, cardboard, etc., and then one day I see one big truck come to my local site and it proceeds to flip it all together and take it to the landfill. No more separation.”

FACT:

Although the recycling trucks may look the same as the garbage collection trucks, the recyclables collected at the depots are not being landfilled. Our staff monitor all material being placed in the landfill.  There is a charge (in our bylaw) for those who do try to bring recyclables in as garbage. 

The Comox Strathcona waste management (CSWM) service has a combination of recycling depots. Some are part of the Multi-Material BC (MMBC) program and some are non MMBC. All of the recyclable materials collected at the CSWM recycling depots are transported to Emterra’s recycling facility in Cumberland. From there it is transported to the lower mainland where it processed and shipped to market. 

The Comox Valley and Campbell River waste management centres (often called "the landfill")  are MMBC-approved depots and the material is collected as to our agreement. Containers including plastic and tin are collected together in one bin and cardboard and paper are collected together in another. Styrofoam, plastic bags and glass are collected separately in mega bags.

The material collected at our non-MMBC depots, such as Canex, are co-mingled and collected in the same truck, as is done in curbside collection programs. 

FICTION: There was a ‘beef’ in the June 6, 2014 edition of the Comox Valley Echo that said this: 

RURAL TAXPAYERS are paying 3 times more for CVRD services compared to Courtenay and Comox. The yellow paper with the tax notice, listing 33 services, states that rural taxpayers are funding liquid waste management. Liquid waste is unmanaged in most rural areas and there is no rural representation on the Comox Valley Sewer Commission - what service are we paying for?

FACT:

The CVRD is, indeed, involved with sewer in the rural areas, and the south sewer project is a current, working example.

Other sewer initiatives involve working with the Saratoga Beach Estates and Kensington Island Properties developments on management of waste water in and around those areas.

And as to why there is no rural representation on the Comox Valley sewer commission, the service operates the sewage treatment facility for the City of Courtenay and the Town of Comox. Only the city and town pay for this service and are therefore are the representatives on the sewage commission.

FICTION: There was a 'beef' in the April 18, 2014 edition of the Comox Valley Echo that said this:

"Apparently the Comox Valley Regional District has a reserve fund of $97,830,013. Some studies show that the local governments need to have at least 10% in reserves, but not more than 20%. So why are the local directors so far off the mark in approving CVRD budgets that have 144% in reserves?"

FACT:

In the December 31, 2013 financial statements, the statement of financial position shows the CVRD’s Accumulated Surplus to be $97,880,013. The financial statement figure for Accumulated Surplus consists of:

Equity in tangible capital assets:  $73,131,230
Surplus from prior year:  $3,189,321
Surplus carried forward for specific purposes (funds for future expenditure):  $3,203,382
Reserves:  $18,356,080
Total Accumulated Surplus (Note 10 to Financial Stmts): $97,880,013

The CVRD, being a regional district, has to manage each of its 93 services independent of each other according to legislation so an overarching percent based reserve policy is not applicable as it may be for a municipality which could have general reserves.  In the CVRD, reserve requirements for each of the services depends on the type of service provided.  Considerations include future capital acquisitions, long term financial and capital planning and risk exposure.

FICTION: There was a 'beef' in the April 18, 2014 edition of the Comox Valley Echo that said this:

"My beef is with our lovely regional district and their brilliance in closing all the recycling drop sites on the Courtenay side of the damn river. You want us to recycle, provide us somewhere to do so that doesn't cost 10 bucks in gas to get to. Oh, and since the stuff has a recycle code on it, how about somehwere to get rid of styrofoam?"

FACT:

We’ve explained this before – the recycling depots on private property are there at the pleasure of the property owner.  If situations change for that property, such as in the case of Home Depot and others, the property owner has every right to have the bins removed.  The decision is not up to the CVRD.

Beginning May 19th 2014, Multi-Material BC (MMBC)  will oversee the collection and processing of packaging and printed paper (PPP).  With this pending change, the Comox Strathcona waste management (CSWM)service - the regional district service - has been approved to operate MMBC-approved depots throughout the service area. As well as, other private organizations have also been approved as a collector depot including Courtenay and Comox Return-It Depots.   

The CSWM service will continue to operate non-MMBC depots including the recycling bins located behind the Canex store in Comox, the Courtenay Country Market in Courtenay and the BFI yard in Cumberland. These locations will not be accepting MMBC-approved material such as glass and plastic foam packaging (i.e. Styrofoam).

The waste management centre will accept glass and Styrofoam. As the new product stewardship plan rolls out, CSWM staff will closely monitor the depot situation to determine impact and operational requirements. 

For more information on the depots and the MMBC program, visit www.cswm.ca/depots.

FICTION: In March 28, 2014, a ‘bouquet’ appeared in the Comox Valley Echo regarding Comox Valley curling, with the writer happy that curling is alive in our community, but also saying that:

“the Comox Valley Exhibition grounds cost $524,903 in 2013. Taxpayers covered $453,000 of the costs. Sure this is a valued multi-use facility, but did curlers really cover their costs?”

FACT: 

The facts are that the while the overall Comox Valley exhibition grounds (which did include the curling centre) did cost $524,903 in 2013, with taxpayers covering $336,141 of those costs, of that amount, only $1,224.89(net) was for the curling centre.  In late 2013, the curling centre was moved under the umbrella of CVRD recreation complexes service to better reflect the facility as one of the recreation complexes available in the Comox Valley.  The costs that are in the recreation complexes service in 2014 for the curling centre are the regular insurance coverage - which the CVRD gets back from the curling club - plus the costs of an environmental assessment on the site (which needs to be done regardless of the outcome of the alternative approval process (AAP)) and some dollars towards the AAP process required for the bylaw to borrow money for the curling centre upgrades.

FICTION: March 17, 2014 (Comox Valley Record and the Comox Valley Echo)

Letters to the Editor - a letter from R McCulloch appeared in both the Comox Valley Record and Echo on the rate structure for the billing of water in the CVRD electoral areas.

Mr. McCulloch states that rural homeowners were being billed for 15 cubic metres of water whether they used it or not.

FACT:

  • The rate includes a minimum monthly charge that every user pays for up to 15 cubic metres. This portion of the rate helps cover the fixed cost of the water system.

    The letter mentions that homeowners need to use more water in the spring and summer for use on their lawns and gardens and yet homeowners will be charged a higher rate for exceeding the 15 cubic metres.
     
  •  The CVRD billing cycle was designed to ensure that July and August were invoiced in two separate cycles. There’s a 60 cubic metre allotment for April through July which can be shared over these months. Similarly, the 60 cubic metre allotment can be shared over the next billing cycle – August through November. The two highest consumption months, July and August, are in two separate billing cycles which allows for spreading water costs over the lower water use months before and after the summer.
     
    That 30 cubic metres of water have been stolen from the homeowners during the winter months, when they need to use the water that was saved.
     
  • In the winter months the water is not “stolen”; rather it is a minimum monthly charge that is independent of the volume used.