Regional Director’s Report November 2012

wild turkeys Someone asked, how many meetings do you go to? A quick count shows it was 19 in November with a few yet to come.

So let get started, first up was an all day consultation between the RCMP, the city of Nanaimo and the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) on the five year strategic plan. The consultation gave us all an opportunity to get to know each other, to talk about what our community priorities may be and how to get there.

The Parks and Open Spaces Advisory Committee (POSAC) learned that the management plan for Huxley Park is under way. The property will be surveyed to establish a site plan, then we will organise meetings with stakeholders and community members to find out what you would like to see at Huxley park .

Mudge islanders cheered when they heard we are finally going to start consulting with them on beach access for boats, barges, view-points, recreation etc. We will be contacting people by email and paper surveys in December and hope to have some results for the POSAC meeting in February 2013.

Remembrance Day was my first time a placing the RDN wreath. There was a large crowd, youth, veterans, and supporters, with the Island Singers providing the hymns. Attendance at the service gets bigger every year, rain or shine.

The public meeting with BC Ferries (BCF) at the Haven was more of a show-and-tell on story boards with questions they wanted you to answer. The feeling I got was that people wanted to be consulted about the ferry, but that was not to be – they were BCF’s questions and not ours.

BCF may come back and tell us what we said in the survey or not. I personally do not favour increasing property taxes to pay for the ferry, as this only hurts people who are already not taking the ferry now because of the cost.

The Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation (NEDC) held a meeting at the Haven to get input from the business and arts community for inclusion in the tourism plan for the region. If you missed the event, the Gabriola Chamber of Commerce has details in their recent newsletter, or you may call Jenn Houtby-Ferguson at NEDC (250-591-1551)

The 4-H Appreciation Tea is always a fun event. As a 25-year-plus sponsor I always enjoy seeing our youth step up and be involved in the community. Sue Boulton is deserving of a standing ovation award for all the years of service to the community as the 4-H leader. Thanks SUE.

You may have heard that the RDN, the Cowichan Valley Regional District, the Comox Valley Regional District, and the Port Alberni Clayoqout  Regional District have  been approached by the Island Corridor Foundation (ICF)  to contribute $2.3 million to help with rebuilding the railway on Vancouver island. The federal and provincial governments are holding back funds and will not release them until we agree to contribute. The RDN‘s portion would be $945,000, and $39,386 of that would need to come from Gabriola. The ongoing debate is what the projected additional costs will be to rebuild tracks, bridges, rail-crossings, passenger service, and are those projections accurate.

This will not go to referendum as it would be funded through the grants-in-aids program – something I do not agree with. I believe if we are going to do this the taxpayer needs to be informed and have a say.

On November 27 the RDN board passed a motion to fund the Island Corridor Foundation (ICF). The vote was carried by Joe Stanhope area H , Lanztville and the members from the city of Nanaimo. The only positive I see in this vote was that the funding is contingent on ICF receiving a commitment from VIA Rail to reinstate passenger service.

Sustainable Gabriola organised a public meeting to talk about having a bus system and what that may look like without increasing property taxes. There is a possibility to access funds from our Community-Works funds program to allow the RDN to buy a bus and lease it to the group to use in a pilot project. The drivers would be volunteers, and schedules etc. would still need community consultation. I suspect you will be hearing more about this in the future.

The fire at the Gabriola Rod, Gun and Conservation Club is of great concern to me. Fortunately no one was hurt and the fire did not spread to the nearby homes. If you have any information on the fire call the local RCMP.

Oh, one last thing before I sign off, Wharf Road to Green Wharf is now a fully gazetted road; something that has been in the works for years. There was a limit to what we could do about parking but we now have permanent access to the wharf for Mudge islanders and for Gabriolans to use in an emergency.

Best of the season to you all.

Still having fun.


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