Regional Director’s Report August 2017

As I write today, the weather has turned a bit cooler which is welcome, but we are looking for more warm sunny days ahead.The Potlatch density transfer and subdivision are awaiting RDN Board approval and then that will be forwarded to the Islands Trust. Once the Islands Trust gives final approval then the transfer of title will take place at time of subdivision. RDN staff has done a minimum budget plan for development of the lands on Church Street at about $186,000. When we receive the lands around Coats Marsh, we will start work on new management plan meetings for the 707. Those meetings will tell us what you want in the park and help establish a budget.

With the collapse of the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation (NEDC), I have been working with the Gabriola Chamber of Commerce to develop tourism and economic planning in Area B. There has been a lot of work to do as they are starting with nothing from the NEDC and need to build it all from the ground up .

The Chamber has been working with Community Futures Central Island and the Island Coastal Economic Trust to develop a strategic plan, economic readiness project, commercial demand forecast, an economic development strategy and an economic development plan for 2017-2020. The funds for this project come partly from the taxes already collected to fund the NEDC and the rest is from grants. It is a bit of a step into the dark but I believe we are headed in the right direction for Area B.

I would like to respond to Fire Chief Jackson’s concerns about land clearing debris. The disposal of land clearing debris is NOT an RDN issue. This would be a decision between a land owner and the contractor they hire to do the work. I see several on and off-island contractors hauling this waste to town for chipping and to be turned into compost and landscaping products.

We did have a land owner on Gabriola who was accepting this waste to burn at a per truck load price. When the RDN received a complaint about this activity an investigation revealed that the land owner did not have a permit from the department of the environment to burn waste. There was also no waste management license and the land owner declined applying for those permits and closed his property to this activity. RDN Staff are ready to help where they can if someone would like to apply to burn land clearing waste rather than trucking it to town, but for now our only option is to truck it.

The planning of the development of Huxley Park is going well and we are hoping to start work on the resurfacing of the tennis courts, new sports box and the tot lot when the weather changes.

Commercial rainwater harvesting and the Village Trail are still on the table. With the recent change in government, we are approaching the government ministers involved to get policy changes in this area.

The water access points in the Whalebone area have been closed for part of the summer and we understand how important they are to people and hope to get them all open as soon as we can.

I was at a well and groundwater meeting sponsored by the Islands Trust recently. There was good discussion on the subject and lots of good information. I would like to remind you there are rebates on the RDN website to help you upgrade your well and septic systems. If you’re interested in rain water harvesting we also have a very good handbook on the subject.

August is always a busy month with the AGM on DeCourcy Island,  The Concert on the Green, Community Hall BBQ,  The Theatre festival and street art – all great events!

GERTIE is doing well with a newer bus and passenger loads per week in the high 300s with a max. of 400 this summer. They are working hard on a grant to buy another bus but need to raise a portion of the money to complete the grant.

This has been a hot, dry summer and we all need to be on guard and watch for fire. We are well-protected by our excellent fire department.

Have a great summer and fall!

Still having fun,

Howard

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