Hello! Here we are amidst another beautiful island summer with sun-infused smiles, glorious evening light, and raspberries ripening faster than I can pick them. As we stroll through these golden days there is Director’s news: an APC bylaw has been adopted, a regrettable update for Q Cove sewer users, I’ve been honoured with a new role, the Granite Bay wharf will receive repairs, and there’s a Public Hearing on the horizon.
Advisory Planning Commission
Community involvement in local decisions was a plank in my candidacy last year. Having representation from a spectrum of demographic, geographic & economic interests was my vision. I’m please to share that community involvement in decision-making is here: a bylaw to create an Advisory Planning Commission (APC) for Area C has now been adopted by the Board.
For an island group to have land use decisions referred to it, it must be formally recognized by the Board and fall within the Local Government Act: an APC fits these parameters.
An Advisory Planning Commission receives zoning, land use and planning referrals from the SRD, discusses them in a public environment and provides an opinion which is shared with the Board. As the word ‘advisory’ in the name suggests, the perspective provided is that of advice to the Board, an APC doesn’t make binding decisions.
Membership of the APC is through an application process. By mid-July there will be an online guide and application available at srd.ca. The guide will explain the role of an APC member, detail the APC Bylaw, and share the Oath of Office (sworn by Commission members). This is a public process: applications will be brought to the Board for consideration and a decision this fall. My vision for the APC is a diversity of perspectives practicing effective communication. I hope that committed islanders from all walks of life, age and location consider applying!
Q Cove Sewer System
The Quathiaski Cove Community Sewer Service provides collection, treatment, and disposal of sewage for approximately 190 property owners in Q Cove. As residents may know, the treatment plant is at the end of its lifespan and is facing an increased risk of major failure. A new wastewater treatment plant is needed: this will require significant capital costs.
In the last decade sewer fees have not kept pace with rising operational and maintenance costs which has led to an unsustainable financial situation. In order to continue providing appropriate service and long-term sustainability the Board recently passed a bylaw to amend Q Cove sewer fees. It is my unfortunate job to share the news that an approximately 19% user rate increase is coming soon.
As we individually manage the effects of inflation, this increased fee is anything but ideal. The Sewer Service is facing a multi-million-dollar investment need and capital reserves of only $35k: this is why rates must shift. In the coming weeks affected residents will receive a letter from the SRD with more information.
The work of reconciliation is a path of learning. I am honoured to have recently been elected Chair of the SRD’s First Nations Relations Committee.
Territorial acknowledgements are dynamic and open to changes over time. At our most recent Committee meeting, motions to add T’la’amin Nation and Kwiakah Nation to the SRD’s written and verbal territorial acknowledgements were supported. Officially recognizing these Nations is scheduled to be considered by the SRD Board in July.
Granite Bay Wharf
Last winter proved a hard one on the Granite Bay Wharf. It sustained significant damage during stormy weather events; subsequent inspections confirm that the wharf appears to be nearing the end of its useful service life. Preliminary estimates for the work were included in the SRD’s Area C budget. At our recent Board meeting an additional $70k was allocated from Community Works Funds so the wharf can be maintained in a safe and functional condition. The Granite Bay wharf is within the Parks Service and Parks staff are managing the wharf repairs.
The SRD is looking for qualified contractors to submit a quote on the wharf repairs. It would be excellent to have the work done locally… the Request for Quotations is open till July 21 (find it at srd.ca under Bid Opportunities).
April Point Public Hearing
A Public Hearing to receive input on an application for an April Point property is scheduled for September 13. The application is to rezone a 4.6 hectare portion of a 52 hectare parcel “to address an existing non-conforming residential use and facilitate the creation of a 13 lot strata subdivision on the rezoned portion”. The meeting will begin at 6:30 and will be locally advertised closer to the date.