Regional Director’s Report February 2013

I am sure you are just bursting to hear about what is going on, or maybe not so excited. It’s mostly the usual raft of meetings so I will touch on the more interesting ones.

The Nanaimo Parks, Recreation, and Culture committee met as a sub-committee to select four pieces of art for temporary display (one year) in Nanaimo parks. The artists will be receiving $4,000 each for materials and installation.

My biggest surprise was that no Gabriolans submitted any work, and this is open to the Nanaimo region. On another day we looked at art for the new Nanaimo municipal service hall on Dunsmuir a $15,000 dollar project and no Gabriolans, I know there are artist here that can produce great work but if you do not apply you get nothing.

The Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) board meeting of Jan. 22 saw Shelia Malcolmson Chair of the Islands Trust make a presentation about the state of, or the lack thereof, of oil-spill preparedness on the Salish Sea. It was a eye-opener for some, and you can read more about that on the Islands Trust web site. After her presentation I made the following motion:

MOVED Director Houle, SECONDED Director Veenhof, that staff be directed to prepare a letter for signature by the Chair to the attention of BC Minister of the Environment Terry Lake, to encourage the Province of BC to strengthen British Columbia’s preparedness and response capacity for oil spills impacting the coastal environments with a copy to the appropriate Federal Ministers, Environment Canada (MP Peter Kent), and Ministry of Transportation, Infrastructure and Communities (MP Dennis Lebel).”

The motion was carried.

At the beginning of February the local streamkeepers group held their first training course. The course was two days with mornings in the class room and afternoons in the stream applying what they learned. That same weekend there was an RDN ‘Burn it Smart’ workshop, all in all a busy Saturday.

The Gabriola lands and Trail trust had their annual general meeting on Feb. 4. Their speaker was Ken Millard from the Galiano Conservancy. Ken gave a good overview of the past work they have done at conserving land on Galiano, and a glimpse of where they are going in the future. I was fortunate to have had 5 minutes with Ken before the meeting to talk about what their future may have to offer the greater community.

Sally Robinson was also honored for her generosity to the community in protecting her property for the future. The opening up of the trails on the property has provided great community connector trails for everyone.

As the new member of the RDN Agriculture Advisory Committee (AAC) I spent the day at their agriculture workshop. There were lots of good thought-provoking topics and good presentations. The RDN has just finished the agriculture plan and now we need implement it. The terms of reference for the AAC are being changed to move us from making the plan to implementing it.

A workshop with Gordon Hume on the Nanaimo cultural plan proved to be just what we needed to consolidate your thought on what culture means to the health of our communities. All very positive.

After all that food for the soul it was time for food for the body and I went off to the food forum at the Community Hall. It was great to see how local food production has increased and the variety we have available. We need to support Gabriola farming to have it continue and grow, so get out there and ‘buy local’.

Still having fun,

Howard

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