Hello, Nothing like a nice storm to kick off the turn of season. Surge Narrows Revitalization, UBCM meetings, and solid waste/Waste Management are topics in this report.
Solid Waste (management)
Perhaps you’ve recently received a postcard from Waste Management Corporation (WM), explaining the new service options. In a recent conversation with a Manager at the Corporation, I learned the garbage sticker service they’ve provided to Quadra Island is an anomaly. Stickers as a primary method of garbage collection on Quadra was inherited through a WM business acquisition — WM generally offers ‘sticker service’ only in conjunction with a subscription service, stickers being for extra bags/cans of garbage.
There’s good news, which is the report I requested ‘on options for providing residential waste collection services on Quadra Island’ in June was supported at the Board level. I’m hopeful the report will be completed and returned shortly, and that it will provide options for consideration for improved access and potential savings for residents.
Some Electoral Areas within the SRD have a Solid Waste or Refuse Collection Service paid for through annual requisition, but Quadra Island does not. The staff report may bring this forward as an option and the community will have their say (as with any potential Service).
In the interim, and as we weigh in on the best solutions as a community, islanders will have the choice to subscribe to the “open market pricing model” offered by WM (1.800.774.9748), find another willing provider, or take solid waste to the transfer station at 6700 Argonaut Road (Campbell River) which is open seven days a week, 8:30am – 5:30pm/closed statutory holidays.
Outer Discovery Islanders, there’s ‘Waste News’ for you too: SRD engineering staff are close to beginning the feasibility study looking at recycling and solid waste options for the Outer Discovery Islands. I’ve requested that community consultation is centred in the study, so results may more likely be a good fit.
The Union of BC Municipalities convention took place in downtown Vancouver, and I was one of two thousand delegates in attendance. Wow, what a world away from life here on Quadra Island. It sure was nice to come home. Amidst the panels, clinics, forums & networking I was able to advocate with staff from several Provincial ministries on behalf of island concerns.
At my meeting with Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy I requested support for aquifer mapping in groundwater-reliant rural communities, and highlighted the need for recycling supports in underserved and boat-access communities. I met with Ministry of Forests staff and discussed watershed protection, salmon stream vulnerability in unprecedented droughts, downstream/downhill logging impacts, Forest Landscape Planning, and coexisting with wolves.
I met with staff of Ministry of Transportation and discussed parking authority delegation to Regional Districts (currently not permitted) and the need for Connected Coast/Last Mile permit approvals to be sped up, as Open Bay residents are in immediate need of an alternate high-speed solution. During my meeting with Ministry of Housing I discussed tiny homes and the BC Building Code, and residents’ concerns with the Residential Tenancy Act. These Ministry conversations are the beginnings of ongoing communication about these important issues; follow-up from the Ministry and me will occur.
Electoral Area Services Committee + Surge Narrows
There are four Electoral Areas in the SRD and thus four seats at the Electoral Area Services Committee (EASC) table; the committee meets monthly. Most Electoral Area items are considered at an EASC meeting prior to consideration by the Board. Items passed at an Electoral Area Services Committee meeting are not yet Board decisions; in time they may be. This preamble is because at the September 13 EASC meeting there were Surge Narrows recommendations made of particular interest to Outer Discovery Islanders.
The Surge Narrows Revitalization project was on the September 13 EASC agenda. As a refresher, in 2020 the SRD applied for $1.9 million dollars in federal and provincial funding to revitalize Surge Narrows, with reconstruction of the historic store, and gangway, septic, well & power systems included in the project’s scope. 2023’s post-Covid economy required a re-examination of the project’s budget prior to beginning the work. Unsurprisingly, estimated projects costs have increased. In August, the Board committed $300k of Growing Communities funding to the project; at EASC I committed up to $400k in Area C ‘Gas Tax’ funding to cover further projected Revitalization budget increases (including contingency fund).
Still on the Revitalization project, the Electoral Area Committee moved in favour that staff plan a community meeting at Surge Narrows to discuss the project, and that they ‘create a subcommittee of Outer Islanders with nominations from the community to facilitate communication between staff and the Read Island community’ regarding the project. Dates to be confirmed pending the Board’s deliberation October 11.
Until next time,
Respectfully and sincerely,