Noba Anderson - Regional Dir.
Hello all and welcome to Summer! Stay safe. Stay cool.
There are a number of pieces of long outstanding Cortes work at the SRD that are all coming to a close in the next few months. Terrible timing I know given the onset of summer. However it is wise to complete some of these files before the fall election and use that opportunity to bring others forward for your vote. Before an election, politicians generally want to work on non-controversial things – but I increasingly hardly know what those things would be on Cortes and believe that work should carry on. So, my intention here is to be totally transparent and accountable and all the more clear in my outreach to you as your lives fill with work, garden, friends and sun. The Cortes Zoning Bylaw
has been reviewed over the past year with community meetings, surveys, focus groups, Advisory Planning Commission meetings, your comments and of course my and staff’s thorough review. It will soon be before the Board for second reading after many good changes as advised by the APC, staff, myself and referral agencies. This bylaw review may or may not reach completion before the fall election given that we are likely going to public hearing in September. I will share more when we receive the next draft.Cortes Fire Protection
– The Cortes Fire Department has asked the Regional District to allow for three changes to the service they provide to our community. They would like to be permitted to respond to fires on wharves and boats tied to them. This change can simply be made with my consent, which I intend to do given that it will not incur any further costs. The Harbour Authority has been equipping some of their docks with fire suppression water lines and the fire department is keen to be able to formally offer this service to both public and private docks. The second requested change would formally permit the fire department to assist the ambulance when needed and help with road rescue and vehicle extractions. They already offer this critical assistance, but it has come to light that they do not have full protection and authority. They already have all the training and equipment and therefore do not anticipate any further funding to formalize this work. This change will require community assent, but given that I expect this to be widely supported, I intend to move forward to make this change unless there is formal community opposition through an ‘alternate approval process’ which will be advertised. This is the process requested by the Fire Department. Thirdly, they have asked that we create a new tax service to allow them to offer a new First Responder program to the community. This would allow them to provide life-saving skills to the public more quickly in critical situations until the arrival of the ambulance. In 2019 they are requesting an increase of $41,000 for training and $25,000 in subsequent years to sustain the program going forward. This matter will need public approval and I am hoping to bring this to you in a ballot question at the fall local government election, but time may be too tight, at which point a vote would needed at a later date. For more information see https://agenda.strathconard.ca/SRDAttachments/SRDBoard/Open/BRD/20-Jun-18/20180615-CI-Fire-Protection-Proposed-Service-Amendments.pdf
Connected Coast Community Forums - Improved broadband and cellular connectivity is a high strategic priority of the Regional District Board. The Board has made significant progress towards this priority over the last two years and taken a noted leadership position in this field through a successful award of $45M for the Connected Coast project as well as the development of a draft regional broadband strategy. The draft broadband strategy sets out several directions. While the Connected Coast project works to address some of these directions and is a significant undertaking, it is important that the Regional District also keep working towards last-mile service delivery and programs that will continue to attract funding and leverage the investments being made in infrastructure to achieve the strongest public benefit. Towards this end, we are developing a series of public forums and meetings with internet service providers (ISP's). The purpose of these meetings is to share the Regional District's approach to improved broadband and cellular connectivity, to better understand the existing connectivity landscape and how best to support lSPs as well as understanding the potential use and benefits of improved connectivity. Information gathered during these forums will be used to refine the regional district's broadband strategy for final adoption by the Board. I have suggested to staff that September would be a good time to hold the Cortes forum. To read more visit https://agenda.strathconard.ca/SRDAttachments/SRDCommittees/Open/EAS/06-Jun-18/20180530-Broadband-Initiatives-
Community-Forums.pdf Whaletown Commons Crown Land Addition
– The Cortes Official Community Plan identifies, as a park acquisition priority, both the Whaletown Commons land that we purchased a few years ago and the adjacent 10 acre Crown parcel to its west. Securing the Crown parcel as part of the park system has been in our work plan for years, and now that we have written support from both the Cortes Community Forest Partnership and the Klahoose First Nation, it is proposed that we make an application to the Province to lease this land and manage it as part of our park. The current main trail loop system crosses both pieces of land making the Crown integral to the park both from an ecological and human use perspective. For more info visit https://agenda.strathconard.ca/SRDAttachments/SRDBoard/Open/BRD/20-Jun-18/20180615-Proposed-Property-Acquisition-_Whaletown-Commons_.pdf Seniors Society Zoning Update
- The Cortes Island Senior’s Society has applied to amend the Official Community Plan and Zoning Bylaw to allow for the addition of four more cottages at the existing senior’s village; two on each end of the existing cluster of six. It is proposed that the public hearing date be set for July 19th to gather community input on this application. To read more visit https://agenda.strathconard.ca/SRDAttachments/SRDBoard/Open/BRD/20-Jun-18/20180615-Bylaws-No-311-_-312-_Seniors-Society_.pdf Nuisance / Unsightly Premise
– In the two-step process required for you to consider if you want an unsightly premise regulation, (see my previous article on the topic at http://www.cortesisland.com/tideline/show10482a5s/Nuisance_Bylaw)
the Regional District board has established a nuisance ‘service’ giving the District the right to regulate in principle. Find it here https://agenda.strathconard.ca/SRDAttachments/SRDBoard/Open/BRD/06-Jun-18/20180530-Bylaw-No-323---Cortes-Island-Nuisance-Control.pdf
It states that the service is established to regulate, prevent and prohibit unsightly premises. Next staff will bring forward a draft enforceable regulatory bylaw which I intend to bring to you as a referendum question with the fall election for your vote. More as it becomes available. In answer to the question about how ‘unsightly premise’ would be defined, in reaction to a complaint, it would be asked if the unsightliness of the premise, as viewed from a public viewpoint, offended against community standards. Hall Tax
– The matter of supporting our community halls through property taxation has been before the Regional District board for nearly 10 years. Last fall we received many letters, two petitions and presentations to the Regional District Board on this matter. Staff have prepared a summary report of that input and offered options going forward. I will continue to support sending this matter to a referendum vote at the time of the fall election as this is the only democratic way for you to decide what you would like. If this is the direction given by the Board this week more information will follow shortly. To read more visit https://agenda.strathconard.ca/SRDAttachments/SRDBoard/Open/BRD/20-Jun-18/20180615-Cortes-Island-Community-Hall-Service-Initiative.PDF Industrial Land Review
– A community delegation presented to the Cortes Advisory Planning Commission with a request that the Regional District initiate a community discussion to identify lands on Cortes that might be appropriate to be designated in the Official Community Plan for industrial use. There are a few current needs for industrial land ranging from lands for value-added production, to industrial equipment storage. There are only 4 pieces of land currently zoned for industrial use, all of which are small and three of which are arguably poorly located. Therefore a group of residents and business owners met with myself and Regional District staff to identify lands for consideration by the community at large through a future public process. More information will come shortly.
There is so much on the go. I will write again soon with an update on a Mental Health and Substance Use project, a Home Away from Home initiative at the Campbell River Hospital, a Community Housing update, Parks and Trails Committee update, composting options, and more...
In gratitude, Noba Anderson
Regional Director- Cortes Island