The Regional District of Nanaimo is moving forward with developing a sustainable procurement program after the board of directors approved $75,000 to hire a consultant to develop it as well as run a board workshop to identify goals and priorities.
Sustainable procurement policies aim to capture intended and unintended economic, environmental and social impacts of purchases. Project bidders would be expected to indicate community benefit of proposed bids.
The board chose not to go forward with the staff recommendation, which was to move ahead with a procurement policy draft partially based on the Town of Qualicum Beach and City of Nanaimo’s procurement policies as well as the RDN’s strategic plan, and spend $25,000 on an implementation guide and staff training.
Some board directors argued the recommended option, while cheaper, didn’t indicate clear enough intentions.
“A large portion of success is how do you determine the weighting,” Electoral Area B Director Vanessa Craig said before the vote and in response to the draft policy. “I would expect to see a little bit more detail in how these things are going to be weighted and determining our priorities and also how it would be assessed.”
The City of Nanaimo implemented a sustainable procurement policy in February. RDN Chair Tyler Brown, a Nanaimo councillor, cautioned against going without a board workshop if the RDN is to “succeed in a cultural shift.
“It’s a more in-depth process with the board than we fully realize.”
Reeve Consulting, who worked with the City of Nanaimo to develop their policy, will also be the hired consultant for the RDN. Staff noted Reeve has experience with both sustainable and social procurement policy development. A third option up for consideration by the board was to go with the team at British Columbia Communities Social Procurement Initiative (BCSPI), of which the RDN is a dues-paying member, and spend $25,000 on implementation guide development and staff training. RDN staff noted the BCSPI is only focused on social and not sustainable procurement.
Rachelle Stein-Wotten, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Gabriola Sounder