Regional Director’s 2018 Summer Round Up

Howard Houle, Regional Director

Electoral Area B (Gabriola, Mudge, Decourcy islands)

Tuesday, August 28 2018

As summer started to slow down, I began to think about what we have accomplished so far in 2018.

Grants:

GIRO: received $15,000 for recycling education in the RDN

Gabriola Arts Council: $5000 yearly funding

Gabriola Community Hall: $17,000 for a new metal roof

$2,900 upgrades to the mechanical room and electrical updates

$25,000 approved for the flat roof pending funding from other grants

Rollo Seniors’ Centre: $42,000 ongoing renovations of the building. This project is almost done and will continue to be a great community asset for years to come.

Huxley Park: resurfaced the tennis court; new sports box; new playground.

All these facilities are well used by the community, and next is the parking lot update and the skateboard park. Many thanks to the Keep Pushing fundraising team and to community members who are working and are donating to make this park a reality.

Village Way Trail:

I know this project has been around for a very long time and we are getting closer. We needed to change government policy and it takes time to turn that ship around. Myself and RDN staff met with Minister Claire Trevena to plead our case and were fortunate to get changes to policy and a consultation with MOTI and other RDs that have the same problem we do.

Rainwater harvesting:

We are still working on this one if we can get regulation governing rainwater use in commercial business (lodges, B&B, stores) it would save groundwater depletion.

First Nations:

First Nations relationships are very important to Gabriolans and to me. My two terms in office have allowed me to use that office to pursue the relationship with the three First Nations in the RDN. I started with a motion to have the RDN recognize the First Nations territory at the begin of each of our meetings.

About six years ago I made the motion for $30,000 to be spent on First Nation’s art for the RDN administration building. This project is to recognize the three First Nations in the RDN, and the installation will be in September of this year.

For the last year, I have worked with the From Truth to Reconciliation group. This group of people has been great to work with. We have had great workshops, a speaker’s series, and a film series. There was also the Munu Canoe Family Fundraiser where I flipped about 250 burgers and we raised $4,300. It was a super event with lots of singing, dancing and drumming. These events have really improved our understanding of First Nations and of relationship building.

I have also attended the launch of Saysutshun (Newcastle Island). The Snuneymuxw people are developing Newcastle as a place for people to come and enjoy First Nation’s culture.

The launch and naming of a canoe built from a solid piece of tree was interesting to see. Qixune’tun (Moon Beam) was launched then paddled to Puyallup in Washington State as part of the Tribal Journey.

The passing of Ellen White O.B.C. (Order of British Columbia), and O. C. (Order of Canada), is a big loss to all our communities. Auntie Ellen was a driving force in her community for electricity to the reserve, for a school close to the reserve, and for teaching culture and language to many nations. Her work at VIU made a big difference to the lives of both First Nations and non-aboriginal students.

The RDN also worked with Parksville and Qualicum Beach to have the RDN removed from the speculation tax. It took a lot of hard work and a trip to Victoria to speak to the Minister and we were removed. This tax would have hurt a lot of owners in Area B; I am sure there was a big sigh of relief from both Mudge and DeCourcy islands.

At the 2018 Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) the membership supported a motion from the RDN on microplastic in our marine environment. The RDN Chair also stopped by Parliament on the way home and talked with the Minister about this problem in coastal waters.

If you have not heard, I am going to stand for re-election as your representative on the RDN Board. I am now in my second term (seven years) and have found the job interesting and rewarding. When you see projects come to completion and the community embrace them you know you’re on the right track.

Still having fun,

~ Howard

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