Director’s Report: a special event + solid waste, housing + more

Hello, As we glide into the festive season, I’m wishing warm hearts and sparks of joy for all. This Report has an update on Solid Waste, discusses Tyee Plaza parking and a Housing Service vs a Building Service. First though, you are invited to a special evening in January:

An evening of Ligwiłda’xw History Sharing
Islanders are invited to a presentation of We Wai Kai Nation history by anthropologist Dr Dierdre Cullon. Please save the date: Wednesday January 17. Doors open at 5:30, presentation at 6pm at the Quadra Community Centre.

Several months ago, I had the opportunity to learn from this valuable presentation. I’m grateful Chief Ronnie Chickite agrees with the importance of sharing this information with Quadra Islanders. I hope you can make it out!

Solid Waste Update
Quadra’s solid waste collection options have seen significant changes lately, causing frustration for some folks. It’s nice to see several islanders are filling in gaps and offering pickup services. At the Board table in November, two motions around Quadra solid waste were supported: undertaking a feasibility study on creating a residential waste collection service, and exploring options for an on-island transfer station with Comox Strathcona Waste Management (CSWM).

CSWM manages solid waste across the Comox Valley and Strathcona Regional Districts and all properties in both Districts pay an annual requisition to CSWM. Solid waste once delivered to a transfer station is managed by CSWM. What used to be the Campbell River landfill is now a transfer station; Cortes Island also has a transfer station.

North Quadra residents had expressed frustration with the continued lack of on-island solid waste options and asked me how this could change. This sparked my report request and why we are examining what might best serve us in the future. Exploring a transfer station and undertaking a feasibility study will dig into the details and include an opportunity for islanders to weigh in. In my perspective, it would be excellent to have a solution which creates local employment to provide this valuable service.

As an example, Cortes’ solid waste service has weekly residential waste collection and a transfer station. Curbside collection is contracted to an on-island contractor who delivers collected solid waste to the transfer station, providing efficiency to the local contractor. According to a recent 56-page staff report, the service fees for Cortes Island curbside pickup and transfer station management in 2023 was $200 for a property assessed at $800,000.

Recycle Depot: CSWM staff say they are excited to get Quadra’s recycle depot project underway, and its construction is not impacted by any solid waste feasibility explorations. CSWM staff have been working with the property owner for a longer-term lease to serve the community well, considering the investment. They are aiming to have the lease agreement complete by the end of this year, with ground-breaking and structure installation to follow in the months thereafter, winter weather dependent.

driftwood on the beach

Tyee Plaza Vehicle Parking
Some islanders received notices that overnight parking at Tyee Plaza requires a purchased parking pass. Related, I received questions about a parking covenant on the Tyee Plaza parking lot. To gain understanding of this parking issue which affects islanders who work in town and park there overnight, the Board supported staff reporting on the Tyee Plaza parking covenant. I’ll share details once the report is written.

Housing Service vs Building Service
There may be some confusion conflating the potential Regional Housing Service and a Building Service (which would mean building permits + inspectors) on Quadra. Quadra/Area C is not considering a Building Service.

The mix-up likely stems from the Board’s discussion in June of a federal Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF) application. During the HAF presentation, staff stated that the application included the entire Regional District, yet the funds would only be applicable for Area D — the only Electoral Area with a Building Service. This was because of the federal funder’s requirement for a specific growth measurement tool. Discussion ensued; no direction towards a building service was considered by either me, Area B Director Mark Vonesch, or Gerald Whalley, Area A Director.

Another of the requirements for the HAF application was ‘consideration of a Housing Service’ and the Board passed a motion to proceed with the establishment of a housing service. The Regional Housing Service is currently at the Alternative Approval Process stage, as highlighted in my Report of two weeks ago.

Bringing a Bylaw/Service to fruition requires a lot of time & work. Unless I hear from a groundswell of people clamouring for an additional layer of local government oversight and fees to build an island home, I don’t plan to pursue a Building Service. Already, all BC residents must build to the BC Building Code and there is the provincial Homeowners Protection Act which includes provisions for owner-builders.

You’re welcome to connect with me with questions or concerns. Email RMawhinney@srd.ca or call 250.203.2468. If you’d like to chat in person, you can book a meeting at calendly.com/robynmawhinney.

Until next time,
Respectfully and sincerely,
Robyn Mawhinney