RDN Director’s Report

Vanessa Craig Director, Electoral Area B Gabriola, Mudge, Decourcy

Regional District of Nanaimo

Wednesday, November 18 2020

Village Way project updates

As you have no doubt noticed, the Village Way Path project is well underway. To retain as many trees as possible along the pathway the plan was varied in front of the school to avoid trees – only two already-dead trees will be removed in that section. In addition, a professional arborist used a hydrovac machine to excavate around the trees to assess potential impacts on the roots. Where, in the arborist’s professional opinion the tree’s health and/or stability would be critically affected by the project, the tree was marked for removal. The project activity was slowed during this process to ensure as many trees as possible were retained. For more information see https://www.rdn.bc.ca/gabriola-village-trail. 

Parks

· I was pleased that the RDN, with the generous support of GaLTT and the Islands Trust was able to purchase an addition to the 707 Community Park. This parcel is an important addition which will help preserve the park’s ecology and the Coats Marsh watershed and riparian area. This purchase will be reflected in the Area B budget for 2021.

· Planning for Phase 2 of Huxley Park, which will include construction of a skatepark, is underway with the continuing goal of beginning the project next spring.

· As reported earlier, the RDN is moving forward with an Alternate Approval process to determine the support of residents to create an Electric Vehicle Charging Service. The first part of the program will include a feasibility analysis of sites of potential locations. Although Descanso Bay Regional Park has been identified as a suitable location, Huxley Park will also be considered as a potential site for an EV Charger.

· The Regional Parks and Trails committee discussed whether Development Cost Charges (DCCs) could be a means of acquiring additional funds for park development and acquisition. The idea is that adding a DCC fee to a new development would ensure that land developers contribute funds towards park acquisition and development. A DCC would be paid at the time of applying for a building permit. I was in favour of exploring the idea further, but the committee did not support moving forward with consultation with the community at this time.

· The Board supported my request to have staff update tables with information about what the taxation for different areas within the RDN would be if we followed a consultant’s 2017 recommendation to change funding for regional parks acquisition from a parcel tax to a value tax (population and assessment). The report suggested that equity of funding could be improved by such a change.

Emergency Management

·  Have you signed up for the RDN’s new (as of October 1st) emergency alert system? Voyent Alert! allows residents, businesses or visitors to receive messages through an app, text message, voice call or email for critical events such as extreme weather or wildfires at a variety of locations. Learn more and register here: rdn.bc.ca/voyent-alert For assistance registering call 250-390-4111 or 1-877-607-4111 or email emergencyservices@rdn.bc.ca

Waste collection

· If you would like to recycle your current garbage and recycling bins here’s your opportunity. You can drop off your clean, empty containers at the landfill until November 30th, free of charge. The RDN will also be collecting clean, empty containers curbside - leave them out the day AFTER waste collection day (on Gabriola that means you can leave them out on Nov 17th or Nov 24th) and they’ll be picked up. More info here: https://www.rdn.bc.ca/used-collection-containers 

Other updates

· At the most recent RDN Board meeting Director Tyler Brown was elected as the new Chair of the RDN. I was honoured to again be elected as the Vice Chair for the coming year.

· The Board is set to begin its budget discussions for the 2021 budget at the December meetings. We’ve already had discussions over the year about the effects of COVID on our budgets (both negative in terms of income and progress in some projects, and positive in terms of reduced expenses in some areas).

· The Board supported my Motion to support an Islands Trust-led study on a potential active transportation connection between Taylor Bay Rd and the new Village Way Path. If the Islands Trust is successful in receiving a grant from the province, $5000 will be contributed from Area B Community Works Funds to support the project.

· I was acclaimed as the Electoral Area representative on the executive for the Association of Vancouver Island Coastal Communities. The AVICC represents and advocates on behalf of its members (which includes municipalities and regional districts along the coast, including the Islands Trust) on specific issues of interest.

Upcoming

· RDN Board, Electoral Area Services Committee (EASC) and Committee of the Whole (CoW) meetings are being held virtually at this time and can be viewed online – links to the video are on the RDN website.

· The next Board meetings are on December 8th and January 26th starting at 1 pm. The next EASC meetings will be held November 20th and January 7th(1 pm start), and the next CoW meetings will be held November 24th and January 12th (1 pm start).

At this time I won’t be holding in-person office hours. However, you can reach me by email at vanessa.craig@rdn.bc.ca (preferred) or contact me via my Facebook page or my website, or via cell at 250.741.4589