First meeting of new Gabriola LTC

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Tuesday, January 27 2015

The first meeting of the completely new Gabriola Local Trust Committee (LTC) saw the new trustees starting to set priorities for the next four years of their term.

Gabriola trustees Melanie Mamoser and Heather Nicholas were present. Trustee Laura Busheikin from the Denman Local Trust Area is the new chair of the Gabriola LTC.

Much of the morning section of the meeting was spent with staff bringing the new trustees up to speed on active applications and where various portions of the targeted Official Community Plan (OCP) review are. 

According to staff, there are four bylaws sitting with Coralee Oakes, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development awaiting approval. The bylaw which deals with Riparian Areas Regulation implementation has been on the Minister’s desk since May 6, 2014.

During the afternoon portion of the meeting, trustees were asked to start setting their work and project priority list, using the lists of the previous LTC as a starting point.

Currently, a housekeeping bylaw sits at the top of the work program and will likely go to a public hearing soon.

Sitting in second place for the work program are various pieces of the targeted OCP review.

During the Town Hall, former members of the Official Community Plan Volunteer Review Committee (VRC) - which operated during the 2008-2011 term - suggested that trustees go back to some of the reports completed by the VRC when considering where the next steps in the OCP review should be. Current trustee Mamoser was a member of the VRC and co-authored a report to the (then) trustees dealing with water and septic issues.

In considering the OCP review, as well as the larger term work project list, Mamoser said she was interested in looking for synergies with organizations on Gabriola where important work was being done that matched up with the OCP priority list.

She used the Village Core review as one example, suggesting that with a community process already happening, it might be better for the LTC to take part in the larger visioning process and then see what it could do from the land-use perspective.

   In terms of the work program, Mamoser and Nicholas both supported the idea of watching for issues which could be moved up on the priority list if they looked to be something which could be dealt with quickly.

Mamoser suggested the LTC and staff might want to talk at a future meeting about how to handle the bridge feasibility study being put together by the transportation ministry, saying the LTC may want to budget for having a consultant hired to help guide the LTC’s response to the study, as well as budgeting to host public meetings for people to be able to talk about a response.

Mamoser also suggested during the budget discussion that she would like to see the LTC host at least one meeting per year on Mudge Island.

Lower down on the work program, but in a position to actually be worked on - as opposed to sitting stagnant while waiting for other agencies to respond to Trust staff - is the update of the build-out map for Gabriola.

Nicholas said during the local government election this past November, there were different numbers being thrown around as to how many properties still remained undeveloped on Gabriola - particularly the number of cottage densities which were still unused. 

She asked that with any future work done with the build-out, undeveloped properties be included on that map.

Howard Houle, Regional District of Nanaimo Director for Area B (Gabriola, Mudge and DeCourcy), was at the meeting and said there needed to be some discussion between the Trust and the RDN regarding the transfer of densities by the Trust out of parks, which the RDN administrates.

During the last term, trustees had approved taking the densities from parks and placing them in the Gabriola “density bank” to be used at a future date for affordable housing.

Houle said he had concerns that if the density from Coats Marsh is transferred, it could have financial implications for the Nature Trust as well as the RDN.

He added that in terms of the Cox Community Park densities, “I don’t think the question has been asked if those densities should go to the affordable housing bank, or be left for the RDN to leverage for more park.”

The next meeting for the Gabriola Local Trust Committee is scheduled for Feb. 26, 2015, at the WI Hall starting at 10:15 a.m.

The entire Islands Trust Council will be on Gabriola for their next meeting, to be held March 10 to 12, 2015.