RDN Director's Report for June

Vanessa Craig Director, Electoral Area B

Regional District of Nanaimo

Wednesday, June 12 2019

I attended the grade 7 climate change action strike and heard their anger and worry about climate change. As Mia, in her powerful speech, said - we need to get away from the “vicious cycle of more”. A timely reminder of just what’s at stake.

The Drinking Water and Watershed Protection (DWWP) Action Plan committee, which includes Islands Trust freshwater specialist Will Shuba, had its first structured decision-making workshop where we prioritized focal areas. Next week we’ll meet to identify and prioritize specific actions.

An ongoing concern of Fire Chief Rick Jackson is how to dispose of land-clearing debris to minimize fire risk. When a site is cleared, provincial and RDN regulations govern if/when to burn debris, prohibit moving debris between properties for burning, and control waste management. Alternatives to burning such as piling or burying debris create fire risk or land instability. Rick and I were joined by Larry Gardner, RDN Manager of Solid Waste; Luc Lachance, Ministry of Environment Section Head for Solid Waste; Doug Gardiner, RDN Fire Services Coordinator; and Dion Klassen, RDN Bylaw enforcement representative. We toured example properties identified by Chief Jackson, and came to a better understanding of potential solutions.

Islands Trustees Scott Colbourne and Kees Langereis and I met with Stefan Yancey, Operations Manager for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) for a discussion/tour. Topics included road condition/potholes, intersection safety at Barrett and North Road, the Village Way Path and issues of pedestrian and cyclist safety, potential ferry lineup signage at Ivory Way, the issue of parking at El Verano, public accesses on Mudge, and the issue of developing secondary accesses to isolated neighbourhoods for use in an emergency. I am confident that MOTI understands our issues and is interested in working with us to address them. The RDN Board will also meet with MOTI representatives later in June where I will follow up.

I attended the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference in Quebec City, where over 2100 representatives from municipalities across Canada met to discuss issues of common interest. It’s clear that many of the issues here, including housing, reducing plastic use, concern about climate change, and the issue of funding for municipalities from the federal/provincial governments, is of concern across Canada. 

We passed several resolutions calling on the FCM Board to advocate at the federal level on a variety of issues. I attended several excellent workshops and have a list of ideas to follow up.

Board Updates:

• The Board approved our 2019-2022 Strategic Plan which identifies 8 focus areas: climate change, environmental stewardship, housing, growth management, transportation and transit, economic coordination, people and partnerships, and social well-being. You can find it and other long-term planning documents at https://www.rdn.bc.ca/long-term-plans.

• The RDN Board approved a pilot project to live-stream meetings, so you’ll be able to watch RDN Board meetings online. I’ll let you know when we’re going live online!

• The Board agreed to explore the idea of Development Cost Charges to fund parks acquisition and infrastructure expansion. The Sounder had a good overview of the issue last week.

Upcoming:

• June 17 - starting 6 pm at the GAC Building: Parks and Open Spaces Advisory Committee meeting 

• June 18 - starting 6 pm at the RDN Building: Public Hearing for Bylaw 500.426

• June 25 - starting 7 pm at the RDN Building: Board meeting

If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact me at vanessa.craig@rdn.bc.ca

Vanessa Craig is the locally elected Director for Electoral Area B of the Regional District of Nanaimo, which includes Gabriola, Mudge and DeCourcy islands.

 

 

Photo courtesy RDN Director Vanessa Craig

Fire Chief Rick Jackson (second from left) and representatives from the RDN and Ministry of Environment discussing the issue of burn piles on Gabriola.