My last newsletter (September 2022)
Updated: Oct 6, 2022
Hello Roberts Creek, and welcome to my last newsletter. It has been a hell of a ride and I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to the community for your support and your generally respectful, engaged and supportive attitude in these tumultuous past 4 years. I have really enjoyed my experience as your representative on the board, and I have learned a lot in this time that I will take forward in my future endeavours. That being said, there were also trying times, frustration and some lost sleep over some of the things that went on, so I will do a short recap of how we as a board did in the past four years.
Report card for the last 4 years
I believe this board has accomplished a number of things it set out to do, like putting a plan in place and acting on water (hard to believe right now, but as I’ve said before, it takes time to add clean drinking water in meaningful quantities to our water system), and doing curbside organics, and has certainly gotten the ball rolling on other initiatives (like a new landfill, wildfire and emergency planning, and even more water).
We also fell short on some things we wanted to accomplish, like active transportation, and there is much that still needs to be done (like a regional growth strategy, more water, figuring how to charge for water once everyone has meters, solving a housing crisis and more asset management work).
I am grateful to the rest of the board for the great supportive atmosphere and cooperative nature and I also don’t want to sign off without thanking all the volunteers that make this community tick, including the RCCA, the RC volunteer fire department, the OCP Committee, the Search and Rescue volunteers and my APC. A big thank you also to the dedicated SCRD staff for putting up with me over the last 4 years. I would like to voice my support for those members of our board that have chosen to run again and I am happy to see that Kelly Backs is ready to step into the role of director. I will be available to support him and Candace Woods in their quest to represent you there.
It has been an honour to serve you and I hope to see you out and about in the community. Now for some news.
We thought we dodged a bullet this year as the late, wet spring set us up for a summer with adequate water supply. Little did we know that we would be heading into early October with no rain in sight. The situation is dire. We have entered unprecedented levels in Chapman Lake, with less than a week of water remaining and staff scrambling to install a siphon for Edwards Lake, which may give us another two weeks. We are receiving some water from Gibsons, Granthams well and Grey Creek, but if we don’t receive rain soon, we will not have enough water to service our community with the approximately 11,000 cubic meters a day it has been using lately.
According to staff they are not sure what will happen then. Staff is scrambling to figure out what next steps could be, but your guess at this point is as good as mine. The Church Rd well field is largely in place, the biggest holdup is the hardware controlling the pumps, a victim of supply chain issues.
I continue to hear a lot of complaints around continuing to allow development while we don’t have enough water to service our current population. Here is a link to Donna McMahon’s 2019 article why it’s not easy to shut down development. The problem is that we currently only have 50% reservoir capacity of what we need to make it through a summer, adding a few houses makes little difference, especially when we have considerably more water leaving the system via unmaintained leaks than what new development will add in demand. Finishing the install of our water meters is another big piece of this puzzle.
We will be holding a policy group meeting on Thursday Oct. 6th, so stay tuned for some press releases and more news.
Picture of the Chapman Lake intake including the siphons on Oct. 2nd. The red buoys mark the end of the siphon pipes. The dam is in the top right of the picture.
We had a public hearing on Bylaw 722 on Sept. 6th and I would like to thank all of you that showed up. Staff really took your feedback to heart and addressed the concerns raised in a very responsive fashion. My alternate Tim Howard did a wonderful job representing our community at the committee and board meetings and I am very happy with the way this went. Of course there may be some amendments necessary in the future, but this is a good starting point and a big improvement over Bylaw 310. If you would like to read the staff report, you can find the report and the bylaw on p.14-352 of this agenda.
Roberts Creek Legion outdoor patio application
The Roberts Creek Legion has submitted an application for an outdoor patio where they can serve liquor and have unamplified live music. There has been a history of complaints by neighbours around the noise levels produced by live events at the legion, and they don’t have a lot of confidence that the proposed noise limits will be upheld, so this may become a contentious issue. Staff suggested in their report that a notice be put on title requiring noise levels below 70 decibels, and assurances that someone be there to monitor noise to address current and past concerns around noise levels. Tim Howard rightly pointed out that the recommendations did not specify where this 70 decibel noise limit was to be measured and that these limits may be hard to enforce, so the board has asked staff to come back with a more feasible plan to a future committee, which means this will be decided by the next board. To read the report, check p. 353-366 of this agenda.
Once again, a big thank you for the past 4 years and I will maintain my website for a while longer as a reference.
In case you have any questions or concerns, you can always email me.