November 2021 Newsletter
Welcome to December! Remember when I said COVID is here to stay? Ah yes. It’s the new normal.
Too much water
Not sure if you’ve noticed, but it’s been wet out there. Atmospheric rivers have dire consequences, we’ve now learned. Below is a picture of Stephens Creek gushing across Lower Road before it became a full breach on Nov. 15th.
Day Road also had two culverts blow out, and Flume Creek took out Margaret Road and Beach Ave. Decades of underfunding on our provincially owned roads have come to haunt us now. Whittaker Creek, which blew out last year, has become unstable again and a better solution will be needed there. 3 houses on the beach at the bottom of it have likely become uninhabitable. The properties on either side will see much of their land erode over the next few years. Of course, this damage was minor compared to the Coquihalla and Hwy 1, and we escaped relatively well compared to Abbotsford, but it will take a considerable amount of time to put things back together and to come up with new solutions that will prevent these incidents from happening again. I have a hunch we will be seeing more weather like this. A big thank you to our volunteer firefighters who were out there securing sites, clearing culverts and being generally helpful. Also a big thank you to the coordination efforts by the SCRD emergency operations centre (EOC). A lot of communication happens behind the scenes, and people only notice when it goes wrong.
In case you have not heard, the rezoning application for DL 1312 has been abandoned by the developer. Any new proposal will have to start from fresh.
The second public hearing for 2284 Pixton is scheduled for 7pm, January 11th. Details about the application can be found here. The applicant is now proposing the second dwelling to be the size of an auxiliary dwelling, currently set at 55 square meters.
You may have seen the Coast Reporter article regarding the Temporary Use Permit application regarding an RV park on the corner of Lockyer and Sunshine Coast Hwy. The property is not zoned for this use, and therefore the applicant has put in an application for a Temporary Use Permit (TUP) for a maximum of 3 years to undergo a proper rezoning process and for the Province to hopefully provide some clarity around the legality of full-time residents in RV’s.
All correspondence I had received so far had been against this proposal, and staff recommended abandoning the application as well, so I voted along with staff’s recommendations. In the end, the board voted 3-2 in favour of a public hearing. Date TBA. Stay tuned.
New chair Darnelda Siegers
In October we elected our new chair, Darnelda Siegers, as Lori Pratt was stepping down as chair. Thank you Lori for 3 great years of leadership!
In the new year, I will become the chair of the newly formed Community Services Committee.
On Nov 5th I attended a consultation organized by the provincial government where they were seeking feedback on their “Modernizing forest policy” initiative.
The proposed measures, in my opinion, were slight improvements on the status quo, including an effort to reduce slash burning and reusing those fibers, as well as expanding prescribed burning to reduce wildfire threats. What the policy does not address are any of the large concerns we have here on the Coast, for example:
- Recreational values
- Aquifer protection and recharge
- Erosion and flooding/Drinking water quality
- Carbon sequestration
- Ecosystem modification as a result of logging
As a result, my feedback was that if selective logging was pursued, it would also reduce the need for slash burning as the moisture levels in the understory would remain higher, and that ultimately what is wrong with the policy is clear-cut logging. I also called the rest of the measures as “putting lipstick on a pig”, while pointing out all the things that are not being considered.
On November 8th we had the first in person meeting of our WAter Supply Advisory Committee (WASAC), and they debated the benefits of having the treated effluent water exiting the Sechelt treatment plant being pumped back into Chapman Creek below the intake to our water treatment plant. This would reduce the amount of water we would need to discharge into Chapman Creek above the intake in order to meet the environmental flow needs (EFN) the Province requires, and therefore would directly increase our water supply in our drought season.
The volume currently is about 2200 cubic meters per day, which is the equivalent of two times Chaster well, or twice the amount Gibsons supplied to us during the drought. I think this idea does have merit and should be evaluated along with our other options available.
The Sechelt Water Treatment Centre
What we will need are some hard numbers to figure out how much it would cost to treat, pipe and pump the water from the treatment plant into Chapman Creek at an elevation of about 250m. The District of Sechelt is currently doing a study what the best use for this high-quality effluent.
Utility Rates are once again rising next year. At the November 18 Infrastructure Services meeting, directors wrestled with rates for water, garbage collection and wastewater (for properties serviced by small sewer systems). Tax rates are set on the provincial fiscal year (April 1-March 31), but utilities are billed for the calendar year so we have to set those rates by December. After a whole lot of discussion and debate, we settled on the following for 2022. Garbage 0% increase. Water User Fees +12.5%, Water Frontage Fees +5%, Wastewater User Fees +3%
You can read the reports here and watch the meeting here.
Presentation by an expert in water
One Straw Society organized a presentation by Gord Baird, a sustainability and water expert. The presentation was amazing, and was recorded. If you would like to see it, check here. I highly recommend it.
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.