Hello everyone and how time flies! Happy New Year! It feels like I just wrote the last newsletter. I hope you’ve all had a good holiday season, and haven’t been as sick as I have been over the last two weeks.
The month of December
The first half of December was pretty action-packed. On December the 5thI attended one of the workshops that is part of the SCRD’s effort to rewrite, update and simplify our Zoning Bylaw, 310. It is probably our most powerful tool in guiding development and making sure that our community stays its wonderful self while we continue to embrace change. Mentioning Change, the District of Sechelt was kind enough to invite us to a workshop on Climate Change Adaptation Dec. 7th, and some interesting thoughts came out of this one. Top of my concern are the changing weather patterns with longer dry spells in the summer (has anybody noticed?), low-bank waterfront homes in the Creek, and the highway along Davis Bay between us and McDonald’s… what if I can’t get a Big Mac? (I think the hospital may be important too.)
We received an updated water demand analysis, and the news are not good. With the current parameters (continuous Stage 2, drought period from May 1 to Oct 31, 10 cubic feet per second flow down Chapman Creek into the Ocean, annual population growth 2%), we are looking at having to double the size of our reservoir capacity – ie. One more Chapman and one more Edwards Lake by 2025. Things that can reduce that demand are changing the parameters and improving our conservation efforts. We should be getting an update on the well testing that occurred in the fall by the end of January, which will give us some more clarity if there are some options there. Either way, we have to be prepared to start paying more for water. There is a $500 incentiveavailable from the Regional District to install rainwater collection. When we looked at one of the parameters – continuous Stage 2, I did get a little upset to hear that at Stage 2 the watering of lawns and the washing of cars is still allowed, which to me makes little sense. I don’t want to pay a fortune for my water just so that we can keep our cars clean and our lawns green. We may have to revisit the restriction levels for each of the 4 stages. I would like to make sure that discretionary water use is curbed early, whereas essential water use (watering of vegetable beds, fruit trees, etc.) is allowed to continue until Stage 3. At that point we may be able to change our parameters and our demand forecast to a more palatable level. On a bright note, the Town of Gibsons is planning on feeding its Zone 3 from its Aquifer by 2020, which would create a roughly 6% overall demand drop from the Chapman System. Those numbers have not been reflected in the demand analysis yet.
The development at Largo Rd continues to keep me, SCRD Staff and MoTI busy. As the development there is not a rezoning, we have very few bargaining chips to play with. I am looking for options to restrict traffic flow through the corridor. SCRD Staff is also looking for ways to keep the area between Clack and Roberts Creek available for public use. Stay tuned.
Clack Creek and District Lot 1313
As written in our OCP, Bylaw 640, our community desires to have a park on the side of Mt. Elphinstone, approximately 2200 hectares in size. It would protect our amazing naturally regenerated forest (It all burned down about 100 years ago, but has naturally regrown since), our world-class mountain biking and walking trails, our mushrooms, and many other native plant species rarely seen anymore. Two of those areas are slated to be auctioned off for harvest by BC Timber Sales. What we at the District want is for the Province to come and sit down with all the stakeholders in the area and negotiate a proper land use agreement, as was done in many parts of the province back in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. We have therefore asked the minister to stop the auctioning of those cutblocks until such a land use plan is in place. We are expecting to hear from the Minister’s Office within 2 weeks.
The locally famous, biker extraordinaire, lawyer fighting the good fight, man of committing to an exemplary work-life balance and all-round good guy Tim Howard has agreed to be my Alternate. I’m looking forward to catching up with him on at least a monthly basis and I will value his input in the future.
The inaugural OCPC meeting is happening Tuesday, January 8that 7pm at RC Elementary. A new Chair will be elected, and we will be looking closely at District Lot 1312. Who knows what other surprises may be there for us!
The Advisory Planning Commission will be meeting January 21 at the Roberts Creek Library. We will also be discussing District Lot 1312 and there will likely be a few more things by that point. Please let Bill know you would like to attend, unless you are a member, of course. We are also still recruiting for new members. In order to apply, you submit your application to Angie Legault, Corporate Officer of the SCRD. Applications will then be disseminated to the respective Local Area Directors. The SCRD Board appoints APC members to a two-year term, generally following the recommendations of the Local Area Director. If you are interested in serving on the APC, I would love to get to know you better, so please contact me.
More information on the APC can be found here.
The SCRD Board will be creating the new Strategic Plan, meant to last for the coming 4 years and a bit. We are very excited that SCRD Staff has hired Brian Carruthers to help us in putting it together. This is going to take it to the next level. Both staff and ourselves will hold ourselves accountable to that Strategic Plan, so we will all have some significant input.
LGLA Electoral Area Forum
As part of our on-going on-boarding training to be the best representatives we can be, I will be going to Richmond January 16-18 to the LGLA Electoral Area Forum, where Rural Area Directors from across the Province converge and participate in Seminars, learn from success and failure stories and get to know each other better. I’m looking forward to it.
Our long-time local and privately owned curbside recycling business, Coastline Recycling, has finally chosen to no longer offer their services. We are still waiting on our RFP for curbside pickup from several operators, so it’s still a ways away. I’m hopeful it’ll happen by the end of this year. Keep up the effort, keep recycling and maybe if you can’t take your own to the depot, your neighbour will? Be that neighbour. We are working on it!