March 2019 Newsletter
Happy Spring everyone! Thank you again for showing interest in local government and what I and the SCRD have been up to.
Another successful season at Dakota Ridge has come to an end. The Dakota Ridge Nordics had a record setting 110 kids registered this year and we were incredibly lucky with the weather. The kids, the parents and the coaches all had a blast. Dakota Ridge is the most affordable way for us on the Sunshine Coast to have ready access to snow. The tobogganing hill is always a hit and the cross-country trails provide a much-needed option for outdoor winter sports. If you didn’t make it up this year, make sure you go up there next year. A big thank you to all of the volunteers that help grooming trails, coaching kids, cut and stack firewood and many other things.
On March 15thwe had the opportunity to go to the Squamish Nation Government Rendezvous, where all elected officials in Squamish Nation territory were invited to address current issues using an open space concept. It was very informative and the whole board attended, recognizing the importance of improving the relations with the First Nations on whose territory we live and work. The Squamish Nation mentioned that we will be next in their efforts to get Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with all the governments within their territory. We are looking forward to that process and the opportunity to strengthen our ties.
The rezoning application for District Lot 1312, right on the border between Gibsons and Roberts Creek, and right beside DL 1313, received first reading this past week. This means that we will be gathering community feedback on this interesting proposal. It proposes unprecedented density above the highway, but it also offers about 40 acres of land as a donation to the SCRD in return. I would love to have your input on DL1312. So far the APC has endorsed it, while the OCPC is against that kind of density above the highway. Details can be found here on p. 41-65.
The board and staff are having a critical look at our drought management measures. We are looking at the effectiveness of the stages the way they are set up right now. I personally believe that discretionary uses like lawn watering and car washing need to be curtailed earlier to ensure that we give the growers of food a chance to water their crops as long as possible.
Last year we had a considerable snowpack to draw from, and that sustained us well into the summer. This year, this is not the case. Conditions look similar or even more dire than in 2015, so we need everyone to pull their weight in curtailing their water use as much as possible., Many people are getting tired of seeing their lawns and veggies die, including myself. We need a bit more patience; real relief will hopefully be here by the summer of 2022.
Staff is currently exploring an organics pickup program similar to Gibsons, and after some consultation with the OCPC I am leaning towards curbside pickup for recycling on a bi-weekly basis. This option will likely cost us $35 a year per household and will save us many trips to the depot, although every now and then you will still have to make that trip to get rid of those things curbside will not collect. Like Vancouver, curbside pickup will likely restrict itself to paper, cardboard, hard plastic packaging and refundable recyclables.
I had the opportunity to go to the High Ground conference organized by the Columbia Institute, and I came away inspired about improved ways to relate with First Nations, as well as some ideas on how to improve our resiliency to wildfire, something that is coming more and more to the forefront. There may be some motions coming.
Grant-in-Aid applications were due April 1st. I will strike a small committee to go over the applications and we will have the period of April 9th– April 30thtodetermine what is in the best interest of Roberts Creek. I will then sit down with my fellow directors and finalize the package looking at it through a coast-wide lens.
Last newsletter I mentioned that some of the new hires in the water infrastructure will be paid through property taxes. That is incorrect and I apologize for that error. All water related costs are paid through either utility fees or frontage fees. Thank you Donna Shugar for picking that up.
In mid-April our board will be heading to Powell River to attend the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities Conference. The AVICC is a subsidiary of the Union of BC municipalities (UBCM) and UBCM is in turn a subsidiary of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM). These associations are a melting pot of ideas and requests from smaller levels of government to the provincial and federal governments. The AVICC is a way to bring ideas and requests to the attention of UBCM, who will then bring those ideas to the Provincial Government. We have a few items we would like to get endorsed. The one that is near and dear to my heart is the declaration of a Province-wide Climate Change Emergency. As Greta Thunberg said at the last climate talks: The time for hope is over. We have to act like our house is on fire. We have 11 years to curtail our carbon emissions, otherwise our planet will be unrecognizable within a short period of time.
As we move forward on our strategic planning, we will become clearer on where we need to put our efforts and priorities. I am really looking forward to putting this roadmap into place and this strategic plan will look considerably different to the previous one. Thanks to Brian Carruthers for helping us shape our new vision.
In case you have any questions or concerns, you can always reach me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org