Greetings! Quadra Island’s liquid sunshine continues to sparkle down upon us, seeping into our aquifers and bubbling seaward in rivulets and creeks. I hope you are getting outside and remembering to take your Vitamin D.
My January 11 meetings at the Strathcona Regional District heavily featured Area C. Decisions, referrals & moving to community consultation all occurred: this Director’s report is a summation of happenings.
Surge Narrows Wildfire Brigade
Late fall 2022 there was a survey of Outer Discovery Islands residents, following the initial feasibility report on the possibility of Wildfire Brigades for some of the Outer Islands. The survey results were presented to the Board. To me, the survey results indicated there was community interest in further discussing the brigade. The Board voted that “the Regional District continue to investigate the Surge Narrows wildfire brigade initiative with a Steering Committee of nominated Outer Discovery Islands community members, and that a further report be prepared following the conclusion of those investigations”. It’s my hope there is a balance of island voices represented and sensible solutions can be discovered.
Public Hearing Notifications
Some residents have been concerned Public Hearings weren’t being advertised in the Discovery Islander, the local paper which reaches most residents directly in their mailboxes. We are fortunate in Area C, we have a robust local media landscape connecting with residents in print and online.
The Local Government Act is very prescriptive as to how public notices must be advertised and what constitutes a “newspaper”. The same standard for public notification must be applied uniformly throughout the SRD, and to all types of public notification. Considering this, the Board voted that community newspapers published less frequently than weekly be considered a supplementary form of public notification to be used whenever possible and appropriate.
I’m hopeful that this provides direction to staff to support the majority residents of Area C being notified in print of upcoming Public Hearings, which was the impetus of my request for a report and the subsequent motion.
Quadra Links RV campground
This application has been of significant interest to many islanders. There were over 700 hundred pages of documents which included hundreds of submissions: I read every one. Thank you to the islanders, including many neighbours of the application, for being engaged with this process.
Themes from the hundreds of submissions made clear that some islanders value golfing as a recreational activity while many more have concerns for Quadra’s infrastructure and its ability to support more tourism from oversized vehicles. In the public comment record, narrow rural roads, additional ferry pressure, and water concerns were top of mind for those who took the time to engage.
Quadra Links did consider public input and made changes to their original application and I have no doubt that Quadra Links would be a good neighbour, as many of the positive submissions indicated. However, in this case, Quadra’s appetite for additional summer RV traffic and balancing the needs of year-round residents with summer tourism outweighs the good neighbour argument for me. I voted against proceeding, as did my fellow Directors who also read the volumes of input: the application was denied.
Electoral Area C Wharves Service
Yes, the Wharves Service is being revisited. Here’s the thing: we need a Wharves Service of some sort. Why? Transport Canada (TC) has been divesting itself of wharves, along with chunks of funding for necessary large-scale upgrades, on condition that a Service is established to manage the ongoing functionality of the wharves. The SRD has this TC funding waiting to be spent but cannot move on the upgrades until a Service is established.
The TC divestiture funds are for needed upgrades, the Service will fund ongoing inspections and upkeep… a ‘savings account’ for the wharves, so the next time there’s a need for work to be done there are funds at hand.
As the SRD revisits this I’ve requested more community consultation and communication. My hope is increased communication can answer concerns and create a Service which ratepayers across Quadra and the Outer Discovery Islands will be satisfied with. Residents of the Outer Discovery Islands and the many mariners who traverse the vastness of Area C require safe, secure wharves. I’ll be inviting you to a meeting to learn more!
SIDEBAR: in the regional governance model every type of expenditure requires a funding ‘silo’, aka a Service. Each Service is part of the tax we pay. A new Service requires acceptance of the affected ratepayers (in the case of wharves, residents of Area C). Acceptance can be through an Alternative Approval Process (unsuccessful in 2022) or referendum (estimated to cost $15-18k). In the SRD each Electoral Area has unique Services.
Additional Rezoning applications
(Ramos) The rezoning of a lot on Heriot Bay Road near the school was successful in its application to rezone from Residential One to Village Peripheral Residential One. It’s excellent to see infill density happening in Quathiaski Cove as called for in the QCove Village Plan.
(Currie) There was lots of community engagement on this Edgeware Road application: a significant majority of neighbours as well as residents from across the island voiced strong objections to this application to rezone and amend Quadra’s Official Community Plan.
The proponent of the application also spoke to the Official Community Plan, stating that since its creation 15 years ago there have been significant changes in attitudes, lifestyles and economic factors. I agree that Quadra Island’s Official Community Plan needs to be reviewed by our community. However, for me that wasn’t adequate reasoning to vote yes on the application.
Bylaw 1213, Quadra Island Zoning Bylaw states that “permission for a second or subsequent dwelling is not to be construed in any way as a justification for future subdivision”. This was another reason why I didn’t support this application for rezoning and amending Quadra Island’s OCP. After a vote the application was denied.
Integrated Community Sustainability Plan
The ICSP plan was presented at our initial Electoral Area Services Committee (EASC) meeting. The Electoral Area Directors also heard from a delegation of the volunteer ICSP Task Force who desired an additional meeting with the consultant and staff in order to finesse a few phrases: this referral happened. Thank you so much to the Task Force volunteers for their dedication and to the over 100 islanders who provided thoughtful feedback on the draft plan. It was great to read the diversity of opinions submitted!
If you’d like to connect with me, email RMawhinney@srd.ca, or call/ text 250.203.2468.
Until next time,