Hello, Huge gratitude to the many, many volunteers whose contributions made May Day the success that it was, and congratulations to all who participated. Weaving community traditions and May pole ribbons (which this year incorporated a new song!), May Day is always so heartwarming.

Schellinck Public Hearing
There’s a Public Hearing scheduled for June 12 at 6:30pm to receive input from islanders on an application to redesignate and rezone 158 acres near April Point: the “Schellinck application” as you may know it.

The application is to amend the Official Community Plan, redesignating land from Silviculture to Rural Residential, and to Rezone from RU-1 (9.88 acre minimum) to RU-2 (4.94 acre minimum), to allow for the creation of twenty-two rural residential lots, two parks which total 22.7 acres, and an agricultural land reserve parcel. See the public notice here, and the application details here: bit.ly/3yB2DSU.

Public input is welcome until the close of the Hearing. There are multiple ways to weigh in: at the Public Hearing, SRD staff will be recording all oral comments and accepting signed written submissions. If you can’t make it to the Public Hearing, you can email your input to planning@srd.ca (you’re welcome to cc me) by noon, June 12. If you’d rather mail a paper letter, address it to 990 Cedar Street, Campbell River, V9W 7Z8 and ensure it has time to arrive by noon, June 12.

Zoning Bylaw Changes
In 2023 the Province enacted mandatory changes to residential zoning across BC to increase housing potential. Changes permit suites in all residential zones as well as accessory dwelling units dependent on property size and access to sewer service.

As the zoning changes are mandatory, there was no allowance for a Public Hearing. The zoning bylaw changes were finalized at the May 22 Board meeting. The online zoning bylaw will be updated shortly; if you’re curious, the staff report with zoning updates is here.

MP Rachel Blaney, Connected Coast, & the sunken barge
Recently I met with our MP Rachel Blaney and discussed internet connectivity and the sunken barge in Gowlland Harbour, areas where federal advocacy may help residents of Area C.

Connected Coast is the undersea fibre optic spine with landing ‘vaults’ at various locations to connect to rural & remote regions around Vancouver Island with local internet service providers. Last Mile, which connects residents with the fibre optic network, is service to underserved areas and is dependent on receiving financial support from other levels of government.

Some northern pockets of Quadra Island have been allocated Last Mile funding but there’s not yet been success in accessing funding for Last Mile solutions for the Outer Discovery Islands. Last Mile service to the Outer Islands is 100% connected to receiving funding; Connected Coast continues to pursue this. As the Province declared that all homes would be served with high-speed internet by 2027, hopefully it’s a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’ funding is received to connect remote areas to the undersea network.

There are community benefits to reliable high-speed connectivity, thank you to Rachel Blaney for advocating for Outer Discovery Islands connectivity at the federal level. As well, I’m continuing to advocate at the Provincial level for Last Mile support.

Opportunity Alert! The Strathcona Connected Coast Network Corporation is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the SRD. They are currently seeking three Directors with telecom &/or board governance experience. Applications are open until June 26. Connected Coast will benefit with thoughtful, committed leadership, please mention to folks who might be a good fit. Learn more here: srd.ca/sccnc.

Robyn Mawhinney and MP Rachel Blaney

The sunken barge in Gowlland Harbour is unfortunately still there. It’s been five years since the barge’s owner was first cited for nonconformance by Ministry of Forests in 2019: the barge is tidally submerged, disintegrating, and shedding waste into the ecosystem adjacent to a high-traffic marine channel.

According to the Attorney General’s Office, “the court case is continuing. The Province…obtained an interlocutory injunction requiring Mr. Rodgers and Quadra Management to remove the barge. They did not comply with the injunction and the Court found them in contempt, ordered them to pay a fine, and ordered Mr. Rodgers to a term of incarceration as a result, which he has now completed. The Province still has an outstanding claim against Mr. Rodgers, Quadra Management, and the other defendants, and we intend to pursue it to completion.”

The authority to deal with this barge rests with BC’s Ministry of Forests, Compliance and Enforcement Branch. So far, I’ve been informed there is no provincial funding to take on cleanup of the barge and no federal funds either. I’ve raised this with MLA Michele Babchuk, seeking her help. If you want to advocate for barge clean-up/removal, email our MLA: Michele.Babchuk.MLA@leg.bc.ca.

Surge Narrows visit
Wednesday June 5 I’ll be at the Surge Narrows Bunkhouse community coffeehouse. I’m looking forward to connecting with Read Islanders & hearing about the great projects & plans underway.

Connect
You’re welcome to connect with me with questions or concerns: you can email rmawhinney@srd.ca or call 250.203.2468.

Until next time,
Respectfully and sincerely,
Robyn Mawhinney

ferns

Photos in this report are from a walk around Morte Lake… and my recent visit with our MP Rachel Blaney.