Hello, I hope you had a warm, heartfelt Thanksgiving. I’m thankful for rain, dry firewood, and a cozy family meal.

The October 11 SRD Committee and Board meetings took place in Kyuquot, on Vancouver Island’s west coast. The Board met in Kyuquot to hold Community-to-Community meetings with the Kyuquot-Checleseht Nation, build relationships, and learn first-hand about their focuses and opportunities.

The Kyuquot-Checleseht First Nations are a modern treaty Nation and have been a voting member of the SRD Board since April 2021. Improving and continuing work toward building relationships with First Nations is strategic priority of the Strathcona Regional District. These Community-to-Community meetings were supported by a grant from Union of BC Municipalities.

boating in the fog

Garbage (aka solid waste)
Many folks are upset with the new service being offered by Waste Management Corporation. I empathize with the frustrations I’ve heard, which include no incentive for those doing the work of minimizing their waste, the requirement for a rented ‘cart’, the size of the cart being an added problem for those with long driveways, a doubling of costs, and the challenge of the situation for elders on fixed incomes.

I’ve been communicating with a WM manager, seeking compromise and common ground. Unfortunately, they are holding fast to their insistence on the rented cart and are not offering a senior’s rate. I continue to advocate on behalf of islanders, while WM’s manager has suggested this is an open-market service and residents should contact the corporation directly with their concerns. (1-800-774-9748 connects to the ‘BC dedicated team’ in WM’s Arizona call centre).

To-date the SRD is not involved in solid waste management on Quadra: the future may provide a chance to shift this. The ‘Options for Residential Waste on Quadra’ report I requested in June was presented on an October 11 agenda. The report offers two options which were supported by the Electoral Area Services Committee: exploring a transfer station on Quadra Island, and a feasibility study on solid waste collection.

Unfortunately, neither report option is a November 1 solution. However, I’m hopeful that islander creativity and neighbourly camaraderie can overcome current obstacles, and perhaps the future will include a locally employed solid waste service provider such as exists on Cortes Island.

view from Kyuquot dock

Surge Narrows Revitalization Project
There’s a meeting time confirmed to discuss the Surge Narrows Revitalization project with the community, it’s October 17 in the Bunkhouse, 11 am – 2pm. The meeting includes a staff presentation, discussion, Q&A, creation of a subcommittee… and a light lunch. I’m looking forward to this interactive afternoon and hope to see many Outer Discovery Island residents there. Read more about the project here.

The Surge Narrows Store has a long history of servicing the community in the Discovery Islands. Originally established in the late 1920’s, the store was an icon of the community for decades, until it closed in 2007. Since 2007 there’s been community interest in local government acquisition of the facility to provide a community hub in the area. In 2018 the SRD acquired the store, including the wharf/water-based tenure and the upland property.

The Surge Narrows Revitalization project will revitalize the SRD’s tenure area. The project includes reconstructing the historic Surge Narrows Store building, including the standing pier and floating dock used to access the building and other local community amenities. The Revitalization project is funded in part with a $1,995,004 grant from the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Fund, a joint provincial and federal fund.

You’re welcome to connect with me with questions or concerns. Email RMawhinney@srd.ca, or call 250.203.2468. Want to chat in person? I’m renting office space twice a month in QCove, you can book a meeting with me at calendly.com/robynmawhinney.

Until next time,
Respectfully and sincerely,
Robyn Mawhinney

Kyuquot village canoe

Kyuquot is a water-access community thirty minutes by water taxi from Fair Harbour. It was an honour to have been invited and spend two nights in Walter’s Cove Resort, a fishing lodge owned by the Kyuquot-Checleseht First Nation. It was wonderful to learn and see firsthand the breadth of amazing work the Nation is doing. I had the good fortune to arrive by float plane and depart by water taxi, a true adventure.

Top photo: getting ready to fly from Gold River, left-to-right Directors John Rice (Area D), Doug Chapman (Campbell River), Mark Vonesch (Cortes Island), myself & Martin Davis (Tahsis).
Second photo: boating in the sun towards a fog bank.
Third photo: view from one of Kyuquot’s docks.
Final photo: a canoe seen during a walking tour of Kyuquot village.