A warm sunny hello, I hope you’re finding time to weed your garden and revel in some June sun when it appears.

Climate resilience is a strategic priority of the Strathcona Regional District and I’m grateful it is. Wildfire and drought are concerns we live with; strengthening our resilience to these is building our climate resilience.

FireSmarting can drastically decrease the risk of a wildfire damaging your home. The SRD is offering free FireSmart home assessments on Quadra Island in July. An assessment takes 30-90 minutes with a certified Wildfire Mitigation Specialist. You’ll receive a detailed, confidential report with suggestions on how to better protect the zones around your home; there is no obligation to complete the suggestions. The SRD has applied for FireSmart Rebates as part of the January 2025 to December 2026 funding stream. Email the wildfire risk reduction coordinator: wrr@srd.ca for more information.

Image (top of page): A nurturing stump at Hoskyn Channel Landing, seen on my way to a Read Island Coffeehouse.

'hanging on' to the southend sand cliffs, spotted while helping beach clean

‘Hanging on’ to the southend sand cliffs, spotted while helping beach clean.

Wood-chipping
In previous years the SRD’s unlimited wood-chipping to all road-accessible driveways offer has assisted many islanders with FireSmart activities. This wood-chipping was funded through a grant from Union of BC Municipalities. However, UBCM wants the SRD to utilize the Community FireSmart funding for a variety of wildfire risk mitigations, not solely wood-chipping year after year. Emergency Services Manager Shaun Koopman has said Quadra should not expect to see wood-chipping service offered again under the grant until Spring 2027 at the earliest.

Quadra Islanders have had excellent uptake on the free wood-chipping, even resulting in it being oversubscribed. In February the Board considered options to control the costs of wood-chipping in the future and chose to implement limitations to ensure wood-chipping costs remain within the financial limits of grants. So in future, wood-chipping may be offered to specific neighbourhoods, through a signup process, or other filters as appropriate.

Knowing wood-chipping is important for increasing wildfire resilience, Electoral Areas B, C & D have requested a staff report on cost estimates for providing an annual wood-debris removal/wood-chipping service. A local service could meet the needs of our community without the restrictions mandated by the grant funder (such as being able to return the chips to the landowner). Stay tuned, I’ll share more once the report is completed.

view of the southend by boat, while shuttling bulky shore debris to an accessible location

View of the southend by boat, while shuttling bulky shore debris to an accessible location.

Short-term Rental Survey Results
The results of the Short-term rental survey of March have been released: THANK YOU to the 406 people who responded to the Area C survey, 82% of whom are permanent residents of Area C. Here are some survey highlights:

  • When asked how Short-term Rentals (STRs) potentially benefit the community, 70% of respondents said supporting the tourism industry and providing additional income to property owners were benefits;
  • When asked if they had concerns about STRs, 50% saw removing long-term rental units from the housing supply as a concern;
  • When asked, “where should STRs be permitted?” the most popular response at 41% was “all zones”;
  • As previously reported, when asked “would you like to see Electoral Area C opt in to the Principal Residence requirement?” 58% said “yes” and 42% said “no”. (Area C has opted in to the principal residence requirement, it is effective November 1, 2024).
Nootka rose & view south, We Wai Kai Nation trail

Nootka rose & view south, We Wai Kai Nation trail.

Short-Term Rental Zoning Bylaw Updates
Currently the Quadra Island Zoning Bylaw does not contemplate short-term rentals. Due to the Province’s new Short-Term Rental Accommodations Act (2023), the SRD must amend the Zoning Bylaw to define and regulate STRs. This news may spark relief for STR operators who’ve had concerns about lawfulness.

Updating the Zoning Bylaw to include STRs is getting underway and will include a Public Hearing (date TBD), providing folks a chance to share their thoughts. SRD staff are recommending permitting STRs in all zones as an accessory to residential use. You can read the staff report with bylaw recommendations & STR survey results here: bit.ly/AreaC-STR-report

Connect
Thank you for reading, and inviting me into your inbox. I’m interested in your thoughts on climate resilience, wood-chipping, and short-term rentals: you’re welcome to connect and share them with me. You can email rmawhinney@srd.ca or call 250.203.2468.

Until next time,
Respectfully and sincerely,
Robyn Mawhinney