July 2021 Newsletter
Updated: Jul 7
Happy almost July everyone,
It’s been a stellar summer already, and I hope you’re managing to keep cool in this heat wave. Stage 2 is coming July 5th, and with these temperatures Stage 3 will likely kick in pretty soon, as well. We’re one public hearing down for 2284 Pixton Rd, and DL 1312 will get its day in the coming months, as well. The time for public input on Pixton has passed, but if you have any comments regarding 1312, make sure you let the planning department know by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Curbside Recycling being delayed
Despite 75% of the population in Roberts Creek, Area B and Area E being in favour of curbside pickup according to the survey we conducted, the board has chosen to delay implementation of curbside recycling at this point. I voted against this, knowing that many in Roberts Creek are eager for this service and it would not cost much, but the rest of the board does have some valid reasons why a delay may be a prudent thing. Donna McMahon put together a good article pointing out why.
Wildfire Protection Plan
We received a new Wildfire Protection Plan (p. 38-164) that provides 43 recommendations to make our community more resilient towards wildfire. Much of Roberts Creek is in what is deemed a “moderate” zone, where some wildfire threat exists. Fuel management is the name of the game. One of the high priority items that will likely affect a large part of the community is the designation of wildfire development permit areas, where firesmart building will likely be a requirement for new buildings, new roofs and extensive renovations. This will likely need OCP and Zoning bylaw amendments, and the public will be involved for that through the standard processes. Fortunately grant funding is readily available for most of these recommendations, making this something we can outsource to consultants, taking a load off our already very busy staff.
Beach fire issues
Staff also provided us with a report on possible solutions around beach fires that are in inappropriate locations (within Roberts Creek Pier Park or above the high tide line), left unattended, too large, create disturbances to neighbours at late hours and/or litter is left behind.
There is no easy solution here. Signs that give guidance for behavior and/or locations are often defaced, vandalized or destroyed. A beach fire is something integral to Coast Life and should be an acceptable activity as long as folks abide by the guidelines. There is a mix of not knowing the guidelines, willful disobedience, mental health, addiction, and homelessness that all play into this problem, especially around Roberts Creek Pier. There has also been a recent fb post in Roberts Creek Speaks that speaks to this issue, and the large amount of garbage left in the area as well. I had a meeting with our volunteer fire department and the RCMP last year to discuss enforcement options, and the RCMP did commit to more frequent patrols down to the pier. I recently connected with the RCMP again and they are stepping up their summertime patrols, but also urge the public to call if they are seeing threatening and unsafe behaviour so this can be dealt with.
There is also a jurisdictional issue, as the foreshore below the high tide line is provincial, above that is often private property and locations such as Camp Byng are largely unmonitored, with a lot of vegetation behind that could catch fire at the wrong time of year. Beach accesses are often on Ministry of Transportation Right of Ways, so the SCRD has no jurisdiction on most of our beaches. Our fire department is working with Camp Byng to enhance the access road to the beach so their equipment can get there, if need be.
Once fire bans are declared both our fire department and the RCMP will be especially diligent in making sure those rules are followed, and I hope that the public will obey those rules.
1220 Lockyer Road
A number of people, and especially the neighbours, have noticed that an RV park has sprung up on the corner of Lockyer and Hwy 101. Subsequent bylaw complaints were filed and as a result staff is now working actively with the property owner trying to bring the property into compliance by going through a rezoning application. Some insist that this is shut down immediately, and while I appreciate that sentiment, and that we don’t want to start a precedent by tolerating the blatant disregard of zoning regulations, the board has at this point directed staff to take a cooperative approach to acknowledge the housing crisis currently underway, and out of consideration of the tenants, who were unwittingly thrust into this situation and may not have anywhere else to go.
As part of a rezoning process the property owner will be required to come into line with other regulations, like the VCH regulations regarding septic fields. If the septic field was not installed according to those regulations in the first place, I suspect that considerable costs will be coming the applicant’s way, which is a good cautionary tale to discourage others to build first and ask for forgiveness later. RV parks, in contrast to mobile home parks, are also generally zoned commercial, and are therefore subject to higher property taxes, and water use will be charged by volume rather than by flat rate.
If the rezoning process should fail (which is ultimately a board decision, and therefore certainly a possibility), then the property owner will have to cease their contravening operations. This is also another word of caution for the approach chosen by the applicant.
At this point in time I would like to ask the community for patience while staff prepares a report that will then initiate the public process. Staff is very busy these days with the unprecedented real estate and renovations boom, a Bylaw 310 review the whole community is eagerly waiting for, a number of other pressing issues and applications, and they are additionally hampered by COVID related inefficiencies. The board is also having to practice patience on this and many other matters we are very passionate about, so we know very well how it feels.
A word to Canada Day
As you may have heard, Sechelt canceled their Canada Day celebrations and at the last board meeting Donna McMahon expressed her general disdain towards patriotism, which made me reflect on the matter as well. I agree that patriotism is generally a very divisive tool to easily rile up loyalty to a human construct. It is a basic us versus them idea that is rooted in a lack of intercultural competence, tolerance and understanding. As such, I think that patriotism is not something that I subscribe to.
Don’t get me wrong, I am happy and grateful to live in Canada, but I also want to acknowledge that no country has a clean history, including Canada, and the country I was born in, Germany, and therefore a celebration of a country needs to acknowledge both the good and the bad. I think it is our duty to move forward, globally, and to learn from our collective mistakes by acknowledging them first and then making sure that they don’t happen again. As such I think it is not appropriate to be celebrating a Nation, especially right now, that started as a result of colonialism and trampled all over the rights and strategically weakened and killed the people that lived here at the time, without taking some time to acknowledge that.
I would like to see Canada Day fundamentally shift to become a day of celebrating our victories while acknowledging our failures. Not only would it create better awareness and reconciliation, but it would ultimately create a more compassionate Nation motivated to do good. I’m not sure how that will look like, but a parade can have that component, I’m sure.
Let’s put patriotism in the only place where it belongs: Sports. Go Team Canada!
Donna McMahon’s newsletter
If you’ve read this far you deserve more, so here is a link to 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.
This newsletter will also be published to my blog at https://andreastize.com