Director’s Report: upcoming meeting on groundwater bylaw, survey, & more

Hello, I hope you’re enjoying the lengthening daylight and the February frog choir, I sure am! Read on for details on an important evacuation survey for Quadra Islanders, an upcoming public information meeting, and a highlight from a recent training opportunity I was fortunate to attend.

Evacuation survey
The best time to plan for an emergency is when we’re not having one, and incorporating local knowledge in plans is invaluable. That time is now for Quadra Islanders, as the SRD’s Emergency Services team is updating Quadra Island’s Evacuation Plan and seeking your input. Surveys are in mailboxes and also available at srd.ca/quadra-evacuation-survey.

I urge you to take a few minutes to complete the survey, it will help SRD staff prepare a well-informed plan. While we hope we’ll never need to use an evacuation plan, it’s good to know it’s being taken seriously, and the plan will be better with your input. Thank you!

frosty salal

Public info meeting on the bulk water extraction bylaw
As discussed in previous Director Reports, bulk groundwater extraction is licensed by the Province. The only tool local government has to deter such an operation is to enact regulations covering specific aspects of such operations, regulations which don’t infringe on the Province’s ability to issue licenses.

Bylaw 510 has been drafted for land covered by the Quadra Island Zoning Bylaw. This bylaw would provide a chance for the community to weigh in on any proposal for commercial bulk water bottling, processing, or sales. If there were to be an operation proposed which the community believed had merit, that would be clear at a public hearing and an exemption could be issued. A similar bylaw has been passed for Area D (Oyster Bay-Buttle Lake) and is in process for Area B (Cortes Island).

There’s a Public Meeting February 21, 6:30pm at the Quadra Community Centre to discuss Bylaw 510. SRD staff and I will be there to answer questions and receive comments. If you can’t make the meeting and would like to share your thoughts, you can send an email to rmawhinney@srd.ca and/or planning@srd.ca.

You can read the staff report on proposed Bylaw 510 here.

grey clouds

Learning highlights
Recently I did a lot of learning with elected reps from across the province at the Local Government Leadership Academy (LGLA). Topics we covered ranged from an upcoming provincial single standard of fire safety, to details on Provincial regulation changes in support of housing goals, as well as natural asset management, integrating planning and climate action, budgeting, climate liability, communication, reconciliation, and more.

The concept of natural asset management is relevant and interesting. The core of all asset management is sustainability, regardless of asset type. We all rely on natural assets in our lives; foreshores, aquifers and wetlands are examples of these. The Town of Gibsons led the way with integrated natural asset considerations built into their core decision-making. Other local governments across BC & Canada have done the same. As climate uncertainties advance, I’m curious to explore how we could include natural asset management in the planning work of the SRD.

Thank you for reading. You’re welcome to connect with me with questions or concerns, you can 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