Hello,
Here we are at the beginning of June and it’s been so dry. The rain was wonderful; please let’s continue to be cautious with sparks and embers. While there have been no Board meetings since my last report there is still news to share… in this report: a new park land dedication at April Point, the SRD has installed fire pumps on three outer islands wharves, Quadra’s Recycle Depot is closer, and highlights of a rural-focused conference I recently attended.

Sturdy water pumps are now installed in cabinets at Evans Bay, Surge Narrows and Owen Bay. A big thank you to neighbours at each of these locations who came out to help unload and install! It was superb to see Evans Bay and Owen Bay for the first time and reinforced for me the absolute necessity of these wharves to residents keen on building their communities.

Quadra’s new upgraded recycle depot is one step closer: the Comox Valley Regional District is seeking proposals from qualified contractors for the ‘provision of site operation services’. The Request for Proposals is linked here; submissions accepted till June 29th.

salal

Almost seven acres of parkland at April Point have recently been accepted by the SRD Board. In 2008, April Point Developments submitted a subdivision application for phase one of what was at the time said to be a three-phase development proposal for a 134 acre parcel. The development application triggered a dedication for 6.9 acres of parkland (5% of the property subdivided). In 2008 the Board placed a restrictive covenant on the parcel and deferred the park dedication until more information on phases two and three were received.

Now, fifteen years later, the remaining owners of the residual lands have confirmed they will no longer proceed with phases two and three. According to SRD staff, “The property owners are no longer moving forward with any type of phased development plans and are merely trying to address outstanding requirements and legalize existing land uses. This may trigger additional applications but will not result in a phased development plan as initially contemplated in 2008.”

The park includes 2.78 hectares of land, the construction of trails, a small gravel parking area, protection of a pond and wetland, and connection to beach access sites “provided through subdivision applications currently under consideration by the Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure”. Cheers to wetland protection and public parks!

Near North Rendezvous Island

Rural Conference: Last week I had the good fortune to spend two days with rural leaders from across the province at the BC Rural Centre’s ‘Keeping it Rural’ conference. We discussed forestry, agriculture, watershed management, rural innovation, mega projects, healthcare, reconciliation, and the erosion of the right to be rural (and how to restore it).

Connecting with rural leaders across the province highlighted the similar challenges and opportunities many areas face. The Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Health, Jennifer Rice, and Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Development, Roly Russel, brought provincial perspectives to the conference. Until now I didn’t know these two rural advocates existed: it was excellent to meet them.

Chief Clarence Louie of the Osoyoos Indian Band discussed rural economic development, hard work, Land Back, and the difference between profits and maximizing profits, which “is what got us into this corporate mess”. Chief George Lampreau of Simpcw First Nation highlighted their Nation’s holistic approach to environmental assessment and working towards an MOU with municipalities within their Nation’s geographic area to build a better future for all.

We heard from forestry operators working to achieve margins through value-added, not driving prices down, and about community forests from a First Nations perspective. The agriculture panel questioned what the culture of food growing is in our regions (“we all need to eat”) and discussed Food Hubs and small-scale meat production. The innovation discussion posited that innovation is best when working with place-based strengths and that it’s a social process which can be a catalyst for economic development & diversification. Broadband infrastructure was mentioned as key and Connected Coast was highlighted as an example of great work connecting rural communities to the world. Many of us are looking forward to those Last Mile connections, I wonder what innovations may spark!

You’re welcome to connect with me with your questions or concerns. You can email RMawhinney@srd.ca, or call/ text 250.203.2468. If you’d like to book a meeting with me during July or August, please email, for June you can book an in-person meeting at www.calendly.com/robynmawhinney.

Until next time,
Respectfully and sincerely,
Robyn Mawhinney

Area C's wide blue yonder