Regional Director’s Report October/November 2014

fall bridgeThe month of October was just crazy, with 14 days in town for meetings. Everyone wanted to get things finished before the election in November. There were all kinds of meetings, but the Nanaimo Parks, Recreation, and Culture Committee meeting on Protection Island was one of most fun. The residents of Protection Island are embarking on a rebuild of Beacon House to allow more uses.

Also enjoyable was Tillicum Lelum Aboriginal Friendship Center’s excellent workshop on increasing cultural competency, and the museum fund raiser at the golf club.

The Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) board and staff were invited by the Qualicum First Nations (QFN) to a meet and greet at their community hall. This was the first time we have met informally and is a step forward in our relationship with the QFN

The RDN has been doing brushing in the Whalebone parks; several trails were overgrown and in need of a general clean up. We will be decommissioning several old wells in the parks over the next few months for public safety reasons.

After 18 months of RDN consultation with First Nations, I recently made a motion that the RDN recognize that we are meeting in the traditional territory of the Coast Salish people (PDF)  at the being of our board meetings. I am glad to say the motion passed, as it shows respect for the First Nations and moves our relationship a bit further forward.

The Witness Blanket Project reported in the Gabriola Sounder is moving forward with Vancouver Island University (VIU) and the RDN working on the draft proposal to host the project.

With a motion made by Director Howard Houle, the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) will be putting forth a request to Snuneymuxw, Snaw-Naw-AS and Qualicum First Nations and the City of Nanaimo to make them aware of the Witness Blanket project and the opportunity to host the art installation during its national tour. Houle is the director representing Electoral B made up of Gabriola, Mudge and DeCourcy Islands.

In making the motion, Houle said, “I believe that we can all come together to support and host the Witness Blanket. By hosting this project we will be opening the door to reconciliation and the understanding of what happened to the aboriginal children that were sent to residential schools. With your support we can continue to move reconciliation forward.” RDN seeking partnership to bring Witness Blanket to Nanaimo

The two biggest issues are where to display a very large art project like this, and providing security for it. The timeline for the application is a few days away, if it is successful we could see the blanket in mid-2016.

The Witness Blanket



November was a bit different with only three off-island and eight on-island meetings … which works for me. On Nov.10 the museum did a wonderful commemorative to the Gabriolans who served in the First World War. On Nov. 11 we were all at the cairn to remember those who fought and died in past wars. Every year there are fewer veterans and more people coming to remember.

I would like to thank the outgoing Gabriola Islands Trust trustees: Trustee Gisele Rudischer for your many years of service to the community and for your part in acquiring parkland for all of us to enjoy; and thanks Trustee Sheila Malcolmson your leadership both locally and as chair of the Islands Trust Council. I hope to see you in the political arena as the NDP elected Member of Parliament.

Thanks to all the hopefuls who stepped up to run for the Islands Trust. It’s a big decision to stand for public office and not everyone is successful.

The two new trustees will be working very hard these next few years to get up to speed on all the projects and what they can do, I wish them both the best.

The last people that get thanked are the voters. In Area “B” out of 3,455 voters 2,948 came out and voted – the highest percentage in the RDN

Still having fun.

Howard Houle,

RDN Regional District Director,

Electoral Area B.

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