Village Vision seeking Islands Trust help in modernizing policies and intergovernmental relations

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Tuesday, January 23 2018

The Village Vision organization is asking the Islands Trust to work with the Provincial Government and Regional District of Nanaimo to bring in inter-ageny policies to solve issues around the long-term future of the village core.

Diane Cornish, representing Village Vision, spoke to the Local Trust Committee this past Thursday at the LTC meeting. She was joined by a number of the Village Vision members.

Updating of road standards

The first thing Village Vision was asking for was for the Islands Trust to update the Letter of Agreement between the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure(“MOTI”) and the Islands Trust to include specific standards for village area streetscapes as rural complete multi-modal streets.

The current agreement, dating back to the early 1990s, asks MOTI to continue to refrain from upgrading roadways on Gabriola beyond a so-called rural standard - which does not allow for pedestrian or cycle-friendly shoulders.

Cornish said she understands this agreement applies to the entire Islands Trust, and would need to be amended at the Trust Council level.

“We need this to reflect the realities of 2018,” she said, pointing to issues of safety, and the different ways islanders travel on the roadways compared to 30 years ago.

Trustee Heather O’Sullivan asked Trust Staff to refer the request ‘as-is’ from Village Vision to the Trust Executive Committee, saying it is an issue the EC would need to first discuss before it can be further explored.

Pedestrian-friendly routes

Village Vision also asked the LTC, “Adopt a co-ordinated inter-agency (Islands Trust, RDN and MOTI) approach to:

a. the development of a Master Plan for the development of accessible, safe, pedestrian friendly routes not only in the village core but also down North Road to the ferry.” saying this was the number one priority of the community, taken from the various visioning sessions the organization ran in 2016 and 2017.

Greater freedom
for RDN and locals
to work with MOTI

Village Vision is asking the Trust (and the Regional District of Nanaimo) to pursue a way in which the local governments can better participate and guide the development of standards, processes and shared funding programs to more efficiently and successfully collaborate with MOTI on rural village complete street improvements.

For the inter-agency requests, Trustee Heather O’Sullivan requested staff put the items on the agenda for an upcoming LTC/RDN inter-governmental meeting, which will include both the elected officials and respective staffs.

The RDN is continuing seek ways to work with the Ministry to have a pedestrian route created through the village core, from the Post Office to Tin Can Alley.

Commercial Rainwater Harvesting

The final ask on the Village Vision list is for the Islands Trust to continue to push the Province for development of standards that would allow for the safe rainwater harvesting for potable use in multi-family, commercial and institutional settings.

For this request, O’Sullivan pointed out that a motion made by the RDN at the 2016 meeting of the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) was passed - requesting the province do exactly as Village Vision was requesting.

Movement on that from the province though has been extremely slow, as health authorities and other agencies continue to express concern over rainwater collection as a source of public water.

O’Sullivan said, “while this is important, it is a big shift for the province, but I’m not sure what will make them make the shift.”

She requested staff carry it forward to the next meeting of Trust Council, as well as the Islands Trust groundwater committee meeting.