Regional Director’s Annual Report: 2015 in review

2015 kicked off with repairs to the Descanso emergency wharf, which were needed as one of the attachments to the shore had pulled away.

The repair was also the excuse to upgrade, as we added a ladder to get out of the water and more bumpers around the whole dock. Green Wharf has been on my list of to do’s for some time. The federal government rebuilt the dock from the pilings up and did some safety fencing on Wharf Road. They have also settled the road issues with the upland owner. With all the issues taken care of, the RDN has entered into talks to possibly take over Green’s wharf.

The upgrades to the Whalebone parks and trails will continue into 2016. The RDN will be surveying some trails as they may be blocked by people who have been storing things on the trail for years. We also did brushing on some trails to improve access to the waterfront parks. There will also be more signage, bridges, and the walkways to the ocean are to be graveled.

Some brushing was done in the 707 park for emergency access. That too will continue in 2016.

Coats Marsh had a berm built along one side of the property to keep the neighbouring properties from flooding. The top of the berm turned out to be a good place to put a trail, which will be completed in 2016.

Huxley Park improvements got slowed down at the end of 2015 as we did not get the Canada 150 grants we applied for. RDN Staff and myself are working on the details of what we can do instead, so I will get back to you on that one.

The parking lot at Rollo McClay Park has been completed, along with the playground for 5-12 years olds. In 2016 we hope to do some fencing and renovate the ball diamond outfields with deep tining, extra sand, seed, and fertilizer. There is also a group working on having a off-leash dog park on a corner of Rollo. We should hear more about that at the POSAC meeting in February 2016.

Cox Community Park got some new directional signage in 2015, and with the help of GaLTT we will do two benches and an entrance sign in 2016.

On Mudge, we abandoned the parking lot upgrades at Davidson bay as they were too costly for what we would get. The need for a public boat ramp and barge facility is still on the table. With this on the plate of RDN staff, we should hear something this year. Water accesses on Mudge are being marked by a volunteer group of islanders. They are marking this access with the official Mudge crab signs, so watch for them.

The taxi-saver program ran into a snag but we got past that. We are just about to make some changes to the contract, and then we are good to go. We are trying to roll the program out in January 2016.

GERTI has just completed two and a half years of a three year pilot study, to see if a bus service was needed, and how it would work. Island Futures has done a great job at collecting the information to support the need for a publicly-funded bus system. The public will have a chance to vote on supporting the continuation of the service or not. I sure hope you will vote to have our own locally-run transit system that can serve the needs of Gabriolans.

The RDN has moved forward with our First Nations partners in areas of sewage service, transit, and Handy Dart service. We have just created an intergovernmental legislative position that will mean that we have a dedicated person to work with First Nations rather than a staff member trying to do it off the side of their desk.

The failure of the deal for the EMCON lands was a big disappointment, as those lands would have been ideal for the recreational facilities we will need in the future. As the Village core fills up, it could be a problem not to being able to have a space for these facilities.

The end of 2015 saw the finish of the expansion to GIRO building. The RDN managed to find funding at the provincial level to finance $75,000 of the costs and the rest came from GIRO itself and volunteer labour. I know I keep saying this but we could not do what we do in this community if it was not for all those volunteers.

Our own Shelia is an MP! Now how great is that? She will do a great job for the whole area and we are lucky to have her.

Hope you and yours have a great 2016,
Still having fun,
Howard

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