Regional Director’s Annual Report 2012

forestWell the best of the New Year to you all. This review of what happened will not be in order of which it was done but here it goes.

-Huxley Park got a minor face-lift and, as promised, we are doing a parks management plan with stakeholders meetings this spring/early summer.

-The federal government rebuilt Green Wharf, and the Department of Infrastructure got Wharf Road dedicated, improved safety, and added some parking.

– The long-awaited pond-liner at Rollo McClay Park is now in. Once the plumbing is completed, we can fill the pond. Then we are good to go in the spring.

– The RDN water budget project is near completion; it is presently at the draft stage and will be presented to the board in the next few months.

– Sign installation was a topic for the 707 Acre Park. That has been completed with the help of Randy Young and the Gabriola Lands and Trails Trust. The signs are good tools for people to navigate the park safely. There were also improvements to the parking at the entrance off North Road which will keep your feet dry this winter.

– Also on the parks front we were able to do repairs to the caretaker’s cabin at Coats Marsh to allow the caretaker to stay until 2017.

– The South Road stairs were totally rebuilt and there is a nice bench with a wonderful view at the top of them.

– Back in March 2012, Jean Crowder had a discussion on seniors’ issues. Out of that came a new People for a Healthy Community service to help people in our community. And there may be a taxi-saver bylaw coming this spring; all great things for Gabriolans.

– From the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) there are continuing water smart and septic smart workshops on Gabriola. I have attended some of the workshops; there are always lots of question to be answered and lots of information given out.

– The RDN’S rainwater harvesting handbook was completed and is available at the RDN office in Nanaimo with copies for viewing at the Island Trust Office or the Gabriola Library.

– The promised changes to the dog bylaw have been slow, but that too is about to go to the board for approval. When you start changing the wording and adding to a bylaw it has to be checked by lawyers to make sure it is enforceable.

– We also sponsored the Ocean Festival at the Descanso Bay Campgrounds. Oh and then there was a $1,100 contribution by the RDN to the Gabriola Steamkeepers group to be use for education and training of volunteers.

– There is now $3,000 for electoral areas to use for Bear Smart programs. Early in 2012 we had a bear on the island. A fund like this could have been used to teach us how to share the island with a bear.

– There will be more green incentive programs this year. Watch the RDN website for wood stove exchange, rain water harvesting, low flush toilet rebates, and more.

– The public consultation with Mudge islanders on water accesses is underway, the results of the survey will go to the Parks and Open Space Advisory committee for direction.

– The staff protocol agreement between the Islands Trust and the RDN was completed after six years of gathering dust while sitting on the shelf.

– The RDN Agriculture plan is done. Now comes the implementation of the plan. I will be able to see this up close as I was selected to sit on the RDN’s Agriculture Advisory Committee.

– The Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation (NEDC) held an input session at the Haven for the Nanaimo Tourism plan. Gabriolan’s had lots to say on that one, and the NEDC was all ears. We were included in an article in USA Today, travel section as a great place to walk or bike on the great trail system we have here.

I think that is it for 2012 but I could have missed a few things.

The projects for 2013 are starting to roll in. The trail on North Road, the funding of a community bus, a Huxley Park management plan and a few more projects are on that list.

Still Having Fun,
Howard Houle,
Nanaimo Regional District Director Area B

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