RDN Director's Report

Howard Houle

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

Tuesday, May 17 2016

March started off with the Parks and Open Spaces Advisor Committee (POSAC) meeting on the first day of the month. I would like to thank Jacinthe Eastick and Mark Wooley – two members who are leaving POSAC – for the years of service to the community on this committee. Two new members have joined the team: Kyle Clifford of Gabriola, and Allen Johnston from Mudge Island. 

We are still looking for one more member of the community to step up. The current POSAC membership is made up of residents over 50 years-of-age, so a younger member with children would be nice. If you think you may be interested give me a call for details. 

There was a presentation by a group looking to have a dog park at Rollo McClay Park. This is being proposed as the three phase park development and will need to go to a public meeting to see how much support there is for each phase. I do believe a small, fenced, off-leash Dog Park could be very helpful to people who are not able to exercise or socialize their dog like they could when they were a bit younger.

The Gabriola Softball Association also did a presentation for a batting cage at Rollo. That moved very fast and the cage is now in use as the association had the funds and were ready to go. 

There was also a request to receive cash instead of parkland for an Islands Trust subdivision application at 1520 McCollum rd. 

POSAC decided to accept the cash, and if the subdivision does go through that money would go into an account to buy parkland on Gabriola. This would be the first time we have done this, as everyone likes parks and we can only use the money to buy parkland. The POSAC decision will still need to go to the RDN board for approval. (Editor’s Note: the RDN Board gave preliminary approval for this at the May 10 Committee-of-the-Whole meeting. It will now go to the RDN Board meeting on May 23 for final approval).

The RDN are still waiting on our request to MOTI to construct a boat launch and a barge facility on Mudge Island. 

If MOTI is interested in allowing that, then the RDN can move ahead with looking at how, or if, that can be done, and how much we can fund through infrastructure grants.

I met with RDN and VIU staff about the Witness Blanket coming to Nanaimo from September until the end of November 2016. 

We have had some funding issues related to transportation costs that we were not expecting. 

We think we may have figured that out, but we do not have the cash in hand yet. I am very hopeful that things will come together, because it is so important for the greater community. 

The Witness Blanket will give us an opportunity to talk about reconciliation and what that means.  

The Gabriola Community Fund is moving forward with establishing a foundation for Gabriola. This group has held several open meetings and is working very closely with the Nanaimo Foundation. For those that have never heard of these foundations (Vancouver Foundation, Victoria Foundation, Nanaimo Foundation) they all work generally the same way. Donations are put into a fund and only the interest is given out in the form of grants to the community, so the principle never gets spent and the fund grows and gives grants back to the community for years to come. There is more information on the Nanaimo Foundation web site about the Gabriola Community Fund.

Gabriolans Against Freighter Anchorages off the Gabriola coast came to the RDN to request we write a letter of support in favour of NOT supporting proposed designation of new anchorages for freighters or bulk carriers along the north-east coast of Gabriola island. 

We agreed to write that letter, and also requested time for the Regional District to provide comment.

The Village Trail is stalled until we hear back from the Inspector of Municipalities on whether they will allow the RDN to amend the Area B Community Parks Bylaw. 

The amendment would allow us to do construction work and to do maintenance in the MOTI right of way. So now we wait. 

For how long, who knows? But I hope not long, as we are ready to go to tender.

The outfields at Rollo McClay have undergone a big face lift, the RDN had a contractor from town come over and do sand-leveling, seeding, fertilizing, and aerating. This will make a big difference to the play on the field as this much work has not been done in years. The back stops on both ball diamond were repaired or replaced so we are good to go for another season. 

GERTIE, now to be Gabriola Community Bus Foundation, has come to the RDN board with a request for a letter of support for their application to the Small Communities Fund under the new Building Canada Fund. 

This application is for funding to replace the well-used buses with newer models. That would build the system five years earlier than expected.

As summer approaches the need to drive your new ATV comes to the forefront once again. 

You are NOT allowed to use ATV’s or motorcycles in any of the RDN parks. 

You are allowed to use them on private land, so you will need to go off island to have your fun. 

For the rest of us if you see ATV’S or motorcycles in the parks get licences numbers and give us a call for enforcement of those rules.   

Still having fun. 

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