February 2022 Newsletter
Hello Roberts Creek and welcome to March! We’ve passed a budget, we had a public information meeting, we’ve abandoned a bylaw application, and we have our 2021Census results. Let’s dive in.
We’ve passed another budget and because taxation in regional districts is complicated as it varies what you pay by what services you subscribe to, I will stay away from general percentages. I will share with you the excerpt from the 2022-2026 financial plan pertaining to Roberts Creek, and I highly recommend this fantastic document if you want to get behind the numbers in an as easy as we can make it way.
Highlights include another $100,000 increase per year to our landfill closure reserves, which continue to be underfunded, as well as the $9 million in borrowing for the Church Rd well field. Our fire department continues to be subject to increasing training and capital replacement requirements, it’s a good thing we save considerable amounts in home insurance thanks to our volunteer fire fighters and our 1.5 paid positions there. The Sechelt Aquatic Centre continues to have unexpected maintenance issues pop up, with some substantial costs coming down the pipeline due to a failing sprinkler system. Our regional water system is becoming more complex, and we are staffing up to handle it. We’ve added more capacity in bylaw enforcement, as that has been a major source of complaints. Due to the large increase of residential property values compared to commercial ones, the tax burdens have shifted more towards residential as well, so we are petitioning the Province to reconsider the multiplier they use between residential and commercial properties (2.5x).
2284 Pixton Rd
3rd reading was presented to the board for the addition of an auxiliary dwelling at 2284 Pixton Rd. The board decided to abandon the application due to the history of the area. In 2008 the area was subdivided and MoTI required that Pixton Rd be brought up to MoTI standards. In order to allow some of the property owners to finance the cost of the roadwork, the SCRD and the neighbourhood at the time made an agreement that the 10 acre lots be permitted to subdivide into 2 five acre lots, as long as density did not increase. This created a new zoning designation and an amendment in our OCP that specified this arrangement. Since this was a fairly recent agreement, and the property owners in the area, including the applicant, remain largely unchanged, the board took the public feedback, who was largely against the application, into consideration and decided to not support it in a narrow 3-2 vote (only rural directors vote on rural planning). Those directors that voted in favour of the application did have a valid concern about our current housing crisis and the need for more diverse housing types on the Sunshine Coast. I do hope that we can find ways to achieve that in a way that the community is supportive of it.
Public Information meeting on 1220 Lockyer Rd
Mentioning affordable housing, there was a public information meeting on January 27th for an application of a Temporary Use Permit (TUP) to permit up to 5 RV vehicles on the property. The information meeting got off to a bit of a rocky start, but things settled down a little bit further on. We had up to 85 people participating in the meeting, so to say interest was high is an understatement. It’s a complex issue. On one side is an applicant who claims he wasn’t aware of the bylaw contraventions when he started the process, and is now applying for a 3 year TUP and no more. Skeptics have a hard time believing that, but keep in mind that any extension or rezoning application will have to pass board and/or public approval again.
On the other side there are clear bylaw violations, and our OCP, which discourages density in that area. Staff recommendations are against the TUP, citing the OCP and the staff report mentions the lack of jurisdiction around approving RV’s as permanent dwellings. The tenants have engaged a legal advocate, Ken Carson, who is trying to keep them where they are, and he has pointed out some of the conflicting provincial statutes regarding the use of RV’s as permanent dwellings, where the BC building code does not consider RV’s buildings, but the Manufactured Home Tenancy Act leaves an opening for them. A 3-year TUP may give some time to create some clarity.
A public hearing will be announced soon, and I do want to point out that the subject matter will be solely around whether we should allow a TUP on the property or not. If that is granted, the TUP will have stipulations placed upon it by the board that should alleviate some concerns, like septic systems, electrical code and whatever else may be required to ensure the safety of the people there and the neighbourhood around it. The chair of the meeting will likely make a list of what should and shouldn’t be discussed at the beginning of the meeting, and I would appreciate it if everyone followed those guidelines, because ultimately these things either fall outside of SCRD jurisdiction and/or will be handled by the conditions in the TUP.
For the staff report at first reading, check here on p. 1-8.
The 2021 Census results are in and Roberts Creek grew a modest 3% since our last census in 2016, to 3,523. The whole of the lower Sunshine Coast grew considerably faster, with a 7.3% growth rate on average to a total of 32,170. Most of the growth occurred in Area A, F and Sechelt. Gibsons dodged a bullet, as they would have had to pay considerably more into the RCMP services provided here than they currently are if they had exceeded 5000 inhabitants. They are currently sitting at 4758.
Here is a table kindly assembled by Leonard Lee from Area A:
Donna McMahon’s newsletter
For more info and some different perspectives, there’s Donna’s latest newsletter, as always full of great information.
That’s it from me for now. In case you have any questions or concerns, you can always email me.