The magic hidden in tiny seeds is unfurling and May Day is coming… there’s so much to love about May in the Discovery Islands. 😊 This report includes thoughts on the potential wharves service, improved southend egress, farming, fire pump installation & more.

Wharves Service
The Alternative Approval Process (AAP) of the proposed Wharves Service still awaits approval of the Inspector of Municipalities before it can be launched. However, it seems relevant to explain a couple of things about the requisition amount as the public conversation around this continues.

Let’s consider property value vs tax requisition. Year-over-year local property values have increased exponentially. Hopefully you’ve noticed the SRD’s requisition amount has not kept pace with our ballooning assessments. This is because the SRD doesn’t requisition more than the budgeted amount required to run a service, regardless of assessed property values. Which is to say, increasing assessed values don’t necessarily equate to increasing requisition amounts.

The proposed wharves bylaw’s maximum requisition rate is set slightly above what SRD engineers believe is the amount required to currently fund the service. A cushion is built in because time and inflation will likely increase the cost to maintain the service. Yes, there is a possibility of an increase over the maximum requisition. This is a provision of the Local Government Act, not a bylaw the SRD has invented. The Act permits an increase of up to 25% after a Service has operated for a minimum of five years. However, according to CAO Dave Leitch, this provision has rarely been employed as, “generally speaking, property assessments go up by some percentage every year which creates room for the budget to include a cost-of-living increase without changing the taxation rate”.

It may be a month or more till the SRD receives approval from the Inspector of Municipalities to conduct an Alternative Approval Process. I’ll certainly share once it’s confirmed and underway, at which point residents can weigh in if they don’t believe the SRD should create a service and manage the divested wharves. The continued operation of local wharves may not be relevant to all Quadra Islanders, but for Outer Discovery Islanders they are a lifeline akin to our ferries.

locked gate at the Sutil Road-woodlot connector

Southend Egress
Great news for southend residents, Peggy Whittington and the Forever Wood woodlot have moved the boulders and upgraded the Sutil Road-woodlot connector with installation of a locked gate. I’d heard from the neighbourhood that this is an important safety egress in case of wildfire or road blockage: I’m grateful official SRD involvement wasn’t necessary. Thank you, Peggy!

Outer Islands Wharf Pumps installation
Summer isn’t far off, bringing blissful sunny days along with increasing concern of fire. Before another hot summer arrives, the SRD is installing fire pumps at four wharves it manages. These fire pumps, for protecting wharves and boats, is a project Director Abram spearheaded. The first pump install and community training session was Friday May 12 at Surge Narrows. Visiting Read Island is always a treat, I’m happy there was space to hop in the water taxi with the engineer install team.

Surge Narrows wharf fire pump

Farming and Food Security
Here’s a fascinating fact: in the 1930’s, 30% of Canada’s population were farming: in 2021 this number has shrunk to a mere 1.3%. Young Agrarians is an organization aiming to turn this around.

Recently I learned about the work Young Agrarians are doing. They’re an educational & resource network for new farmers: they provide apprenticeship training and business mentorships, as well as a land matching service. The land matching works with potential farmers to ensure they are ‘enterprise ready’ and landowners to be ‘farmer ready’. I’m sharing this info as their offerings may be of interest to islanders with potential/under-used farmland, or folks who could use support in becoming a farmer. (YoungAgrarians.org to learn more).

Housing
There are many aspects to improving housing in the Discovery Islands. Want to be part of making change? This is a reminder of the upcoming public meeting of the Discovery Islands Affordable Housing Society Saturday June 10, 3pm at the Quadra Community Centre.

Thank you Theatre Quadra
Chicago was amazing, wow! What a pleasure to see friends, neighbours and islanders create such a wonderful, sparkling performance with a live band providing the music. Mad appreciation for the massive commitment of cast and crew!

Connect
You’re welcome to connect with me with questions or concerns. You can email RMawhinney@srd.ca, or call/ text 250.203.2468. You can also book an in-person meeting at calendly.com/robynmawhinney.

You’re welcome to share this email with friends who might be interested. 😊

Until next time,
Respectfully and sincerely,
Robyn Mawhinney

apple blossoms