RDN Director’s Jan/Feb Report. Rainwater harvesting, Village Way, and Huxley

Howard Houle Regional Director

Electoral Area B (Gabriola, Mudge, Decourcy islands), Regional District of Nanaimo

Tuesday, March 28 2017

Winter has not disappointed us with lots of snow and cold weather, but enough already, bring on spring. The moose hide campaign (moosehidecampaign.ca) got a big financial boost from the Masters of Business Administration (MBA) games held in Nanaimo this past January at VIU. The MBA games raised $150,000 and a private party matched those funds for a grand total of $300,000. The funds will be used to help women and children who have suffered from violence and to work together with men to end that violence.

I have been working to understand Truth and Reconciliation and have found VIU to be a great place to do that .There is a soup and bannock series which covers a wide range of topics as well as reconciliation and healing or land-based traditional teachings. There are many short courses in addition to Elder College for a more in-depth view.

Commercial rain water harvesting

As some may remember, the RDN held meetings with the Provincial Health Minister at the UBCM Convention in September 2016 and letters to remind them we are out here and waiting for standards for commercial use of rain water as a potable water source. RDN staff has been in touch with David Fishwich at the Ministry of Health who has said that the Ministry is waiting for the final report from the International Code Council and the Canadian Safety Association on rain water harvesting standards. 

Once that is released, the Ministry will adopt a standard. A link to some interesting reading will be posted with the online version of this report at soundernews.com

Village Way 

We have or had three options:

1: The one we had worked on with MOTI for several years is more like a sidewalk as we need to deal with the runoff from the road. MOTI did site visits, made suggestions, met with RDN staff repeatedly, worked with an engineer that dose work for them all the time, and then, when it came time to approve the final drawing, decided to not allow infrastructure in the right of way. I have asked RDN staff to ask for that in writing so we can ask to have that decision reviewed at a higher level.

2: We could add just less than two meters of asphalt to the road surface starting from the fog line. This option provides no safety for people and children walking along the side of the road. It would also be a nice place to park your car and the cost would be in the $250,000 to $350,000 range.

3: Off the road trail in the right of way but not right next to the road. Starting at the Madrona complex, all the trees would need to be removed in that area and at the Wine Cellar, the Ravine, EMCON lands, a few at the school, a lot of rock blasting by the Trust building and more tree removal all the way up to Tin Can alley. 

Add in a few bridges to get over ditches, a new design and it would cost about what Option 1 would be, but no trees. It is the plan MOTI now would support, but I would think the community does not.

Gabriola Economic Development

We find that with the collapse of the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation (NEDC) we have an opportunity to have a made-on-Gabriola solution to our issues. With that in mind we are working with the Gabriola Chamber of Commerce to provide tourism services for a six month period. The funding for that service comes from the 2017 tax requisition that would have gone to the NEDC and will be $1000 per month for up to six months. We are also funding an economic strategic plan workshop to build on past work that NEDC undertook in 2016. I encourage anyone in small business or thinking about it to look in to the courses the chamber is having on various aspects of starting and growing your business. There is a big economic spinoff from tourism and helping our small business means jobs and retaining younger people in the community.

Huxley Community Park

Work has started on the skate board/bike park at Huxley with a workshop on what you want in that park. The park designers is now working on a concept plan and costing before coming back to the community for the final approval. The whole process should take about 10 weeks with construction in 2018. The hope is the community will jump on board and fundraise some of the $300,000 or so needed for this project. We hope to get some funds from grants at the provincial, federal government level, reserve funds and Community Works Funds we have set aside. We are also waiting on the results of a grant application to resurface the tennis courts and build a new sports court. Hopefully that grant will allow us to get those underway in 2017.

Howard Houle is the locally elected Director for Electoral Area B of the Regional District of Nanaimo, which includes Gabriola, Mudge and DeCourcy Islands.