Well it’s budget season and we are working on try to keep the increases reasonable. Unless things change it look like the increase in area B will be $7.00 per 100,000 dollars or $24 for a 400,000 dollars home. With this increase there will be service level increases in regional parks, southern community recreation .D68 emergence 911, and the Vancouver Island Regional Library.
I went to two workshops this month one on First Nation’s mental and physical health. The other was on village visioning of Gabriola’s main business area, it was interesting to hear different views on what people would like to changed or enhanced.
The Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation (NEDC) is going through its yearly change 1/3 of the board. The RDN areas A, B, C, and the city of Nanaimo contribute to the NEDC and we all sit on the nominations board to make those changes. Economic activity on Gabriola is something the NEDC is working on and that is tourism. We have received countless hours of work from the NEDC and the Gabriola Chamber of Commerce promoting the island and its beauty.
Oh that village trail cleared another hurtle, MOIT, the RDN, Topographic and the engineers all met we are all on the same page and agreed to a number of small issues. The hope now is to have the final plan to MOIT by early April and approval by the end of April and going out for tender in the first part of May 2015 for a start on construction as soon as we can. Knowing how these things go my guess is midsummer right when Gabriola has the most people walking about and the best weather to build.
The RDN and the directors for area A,B,C met with Ministry of transportation and infrastructure (MOIT) Deputy director of the south coast region Renee Mounteney to talk about the social economic study of the effects of a bridge verse the ferry at the RDN’s requested. It was a good meeting with a wide range of topics, of interest would be no they are not looking at putting a large ferry terminal on Gabriola. This study on a fixed link is to get the information on the costs so we can have a wider discussion on what is best.
The Taxi Saver bylaw to help low income seniors and people with disabilities has one more meeting to get through before it goes to the community. The service will allow people who qualify to purchase up to $60 dollars of taxi fare for $30 dollars every 3 months. My hope is that it will make life better for about 40 people the first year and close to 60 thereafter. The alternative approval process will be used on this one as going to a referendum for a $15,000 dollar service when the referendum would cost $17-$20 thousand dollars seem a waste of taxes. The increase in taxes is about $1.50 per 100,000 dollars of assessment which is already planned for in this year’s budget.The only other way to provide this service would be with BC Transit at a cost of $70,000 per year for Handi Dart. Unfortunately there will be no wheel chair service with this service as the taxi company is not equipped to do that.
I sure you all have heard about the possible density transfer and related road and additional park land to be added to the 707 park. I see how this would be a nice addition to the 707 park but there are some major changes that would need to be made to our OCP, is that good or bad the islands trust and the community will have to figure that one out. The only thing the RDN would be commenting on is the park land if there is a application and if there a referral from the trust to the RDN and then to the area B parks and open space advisory committee (POSAC).
Still having fun,