September 2020 Newsletter
Happy October everyone after a not at all newsworthy September… sigh. So, we’re finally coming to the realization that this is the new normal. With we I mean SCRD staff and elected. There are a few things we are still trying to wrap our head around, including:
Electoral Approval Processes
We are looking for ways to go ahead with the installation of the remaining water meters in Sechelt. (Here is the link as to why we need them). We are trying to figure out what public opinion is on curbside recycling (it seems Roberts Creek is the only area that really wants it). We are looking to create a contribution service for Social Services, like the Police based victim services, restorative justice, the Coast Guard Auxiliary and other services that have been gradually downloaded on us by the Province or the Federal Government, and that have no business in our Grant-in-Aid process. We are also trying to work with all the stakeholders in our wastewater service (only co-housing for Roberts Creek) to figure out the structure of future payments to make this service sustainable over the long term. These are all things that can’t wait until COVID is over, so we and staff are doing our best trying to navigate our way through this new time of COVID restrictions and considerations.
We have come up with a tentative plan on what recreation may look like for the rest of this year, but we have no idea what next year may look like. Our pre-budget discussions are already under way, but things are looking expensive. Demand for ice seems to be fairly high, the pool in Sechelt is running at about 10% of pre-COVID capacity, which leads me to believe that it was a good idea to keep the Gibsons pool closed. Restrictions are slowly being eased in recreation and more services are being offered, so make sure you check the website to see what’s open and how to get in there. Please use the facilities, because at this point it’s a question of use them or lose them. 40% of our property taxes were going to recreation before COVID, I’m anticipating it’ll be closer to 50% next year, and it doesn’t mean the rest is going down.
As I write this, the first day of organics pickup has been completed and there are good news. 2.51 tons were collected on the first day alone and it seems the loads were very clean, meaning everything that was in there should be in there. As more and more people get on board and figure this out, I’m hoping this number will get even bigger. I have been contacted by several people whether opting out will be an option, and the answer is no. Here is a link explaining why you can’t opt out, and if you don’t like my explanation, here is Donna McMahon’s.
The Dakota Bear Sanctuary
A big thank you to Sarah Lowis from the Living Forest Institute and Ross Muirhead and Hans Penner from ELF for taking me and a bunch of other folks, including our MP and Kim Darwin, for a tour of the Dakota Bear Sanctuary, where we had the opportunity to witness some alpine old-growth forests, including some trees that were well over 1000 years old and the largest hemlocks I’ve ever seen. It still boggles my mind that our provincial government puts no value to a standing forest. We have put in several UBCM resolutions in on this regard with very little receptiveness. They are choosing to ride the horse that is unsustainable forestry practices into the ground.
The Corridor Report
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure released the long-awaited Corridor Report.
Highlights include a left turn lane for Joe Rd. Glaring omissions include an alternate route around Davis Bay, considering sea level rise, and anything to accommodate pedestrians, including crossings at bus stops. Here is a link to the press release.
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