Regional Director’s Report 2013 in Review

2013 the year in review

Completed Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) tasks (in no particular order):

Community parks:

  • Completed the pond liner replacement and renovations to the pump house at Rollo McClay, and upgraded the water system
  • Completed phase one of the Huxley park master plan. Phase two – a consultation with stake holder groups – should be done this by the end of the year. The next phase, public consultation, is scheduled for early 2014.
  • Staff removed unsafe skateboard ramps from Huxley Park and replaced them with ramps that are safer, but not as much fun to ride. We hope to have a better idea what is needed in a skate board park when the master plan is completed in early 2014.
  • Completed community consultation on Mudge Island water access. We will start work on Mudge as soon the surveys are done. There is $10,000 for this work in the 2013 budget and $5,000 more in the 2014 budget.
  • Completed the $58,000 dollar bank stabilization in the 707acres park was completed. That took awhile, and it was good to get that off our list. I was impressed with how little damage was done to the vegetation and hill side getting the posts and stainless steel netting in place.
  • The stairs to South Road Beach Park were completed, and are well used. I stop by on my way to another part of the island to enjoy the view from the bench tucked away in the trees.
  • The Parks and Open Spaces Advisory Committee (POSAC) reviewed and made recommendations on Islands Trust bylaw changes, to officially designate new parks.
  • The gate on South Road into the 707 park has been delayed pending discussions with the land owner.

Regional parks

  • After years of discussion, completed a bream at Coats Marsh bream to prevent flooding of neighbouring properties, and a new pond lever was installed to keep the beavers from blocking the outflow.
  • Upgraded the campsites at Descanso Bay Regional Park, and installed new gates and speed bumps. This is one of two RDN campgrounds the other is at Horn Lake. If you want to get away for the weekend camping try our camp ground on Gabriola. No one will look for you there and the travel time is short.

Other Things:

  • Terms of reference for the design and consultation phase for the Village trail are due early next year. We estimate the trail will be about two meters wide, have a compacted gravel surface,   and run along North Road from Tin Can Alley to the old T&T gas station.
  • GERTIE – the community bus – has done very well with over 5,000 passengers in the first six months. Island Futures was given $30,000 from the Community Works Fund to do a three year pilot study. Island Futures has worked out a few bugs and found that they needed a second sprinter, bus shelters, signs for the buses, and filtering equipment for the used vegetable oil that helps fuel the buses. At the Dec. 10 meeting the RDN board agree to give them $27,000 more from the Community Works Fund. This pilot study has about 30 months to go. At the end of the study the community will need to have a conversation about whether we want a community run system or one from BC transit.
  • GIRO received $73,000 from the Regional Significant Project program to improve their facilities. GIRO’s receiving area and the storage of donations all need work but that will be decided by the membership in 2014.
  • The Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation (NEDC) has been working with business, cultural and arts groups on Gabriola in the area of tourism. I believe we get good value for the funds we contribute to economic development.
  • No decision has been made about the possible incinerator at Duke Point. I am not convinced we can stop it. We do need to be as vocal as possible and send those emails to try to head off this future for our grandchildren. Some local government officials have been getting soft on the incinerator, suggesting “we should hear them out; it could mean jobs for our community, etc.” I guess they live up wind from the smell and the ash fallout and feel confident that there is no hazard to health for the rest of us.
  • Drinking Water, Watershed Protection Program funds were put to good use in the phase one Water Budget project for Gabriola, De Courcy, and Mudge islands .The study gathered all the water information. It does have a few holes in it, but it’s a beginning and the results can be refined to be more meaningful.
  • The International Composting Corporation (ICC) smell that has been around Gabriola should end with the improvements to infrastructure being made by the new owners e.g.: new bio filter medium, covers on piles, proper water containment, limits to the over’s piles and more. It also helps that the RDN approved $293,000 of funding with a two per cent increase per year.

I also attended the Association of Vancouver Island Communities (AVICC) in Sooke, the Federation of Canadian municipalities (FCM) in Vancouver, the De Courcy Island Community Association annual pot luck lunch and three trips to Mudge.

The year ahead seems like it will be just as busy as the past two years with several projects to finish up and more to start in 2014.

Have a great new year!

Still having fun.

Howard  Houle,
Regional District Director,
Area B.

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