Island News & Views
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General · 3rd February 2011
Jim Abram
Here we are at the last day of January! As cold as it was today, the signs of spring are all around. Soon it will be time to think about gardens again, although I am still thinking about mine from last year and all the things I didn't get time to do in the way of preparing for winter, let alone spring!

So, on to the topics for this report.

Rumours

It sometimes really surprises me at some of the things I hear though the "kelpvine" on this island. I write a detailed report twice monthly in this publication and on line with all of my contact information: phone number, fax number, email address and mailing address. And yet I am rarely contacted by people who have questions or concerns about rumours that they have heard about local government business. It baffles me. I am available. I return calls and answer emails as soon as humanly possible, usually in the same day. However, somehow, rumours seem to circulate that are not necessarily accurate or true. For those of you who read my reports, I would hope that the first thing you would do when a question comes up, is call me! Ask me what I know on the topic. Ask me anything that you like. I will tell you what I know or direct you to the person who might know more. No one seems to have a problem calling me up about pot holes, parking issues, animal issues, RCMP issues and anything else you can imagine (none of which are in the jurisdiction of local government). I always do my best to help out no matter whose jurisdiction it is.

So, please, when you hear something that seems incredible or wrong or questionable, give me a call! I'll try to help you out. There is nothing more disturbing than to see my name in a letter to the editor suggesting that I am doing something that I have not done. I then need to wait two weeks to clear up the misconceptions. And who knows if the same people that have read the first bit of misinformation will read the correction?
Don't be shy. Call me!

Gowlland Harbour Views (Schellinck) proposal

This is the proposal that prompted me to write the above passage. There sure is a lot of "rumour" out there on this one. I have written I don't know how many articles on this proposal to try to keep people up to date. And I heard the other day that I was "shepherding" this application through. WRONG! I am trying to inform the public of what is being applied for and trying to make sure that due process is followed.

Just so you are aware of the latest, the proposal did not receive first and second reading at the Board last Thursday. I met with all of the planning staff for almost two hours prior to the board meeting to try to sort out the questions that were being posed in the community. I worked out with staff a different process that puts the public at the front end, rather than having to wait for the public hearing to have your voice heard. I then went to the Board meeting and made a motion to refer the proposal back to staff and then to the Electoral Area Services Committee for further discussion. I also asked that the public meeting, hosted by the applicant, be held as soon as possible and a date of March 3rd has been set to be held at Quadra Elementary. Time to be announced (evening). It will be very well advertised both here on Quadra and in CR papers.

So I would like to clear up some commonly held misconceptions about our Official Community Plan (OCP) that I received in the meeting with the planners:

Since OCP's are policy documents, they cannot prohibit. They can strongly discourage or other similar language, but they cannot prohibit. That comes in the zoning bylaw, which is regulatory. Language to prohibit would fetter the discretion of the Board, and that is not allowed

Anyone can apply to change an OCP at any time. The staff then will tell the person if it is a good idea or not, but it is up to the person applying to decide if they will proceed. So, to say something is against our OCP, while factual, does not mean that it cannot be amended through the process. That is what this applicant has decided to "pay his money and take his chances" at: an amendment to both the OCP and the bylaw.

All applications must be considered by the Board as individual applications. So if the language in the OCP must be changed, to meet the requirements of the Act, that does not mean that all Silviculture land is open to the same provisions being applied for by this applicant. Each one would need to be considered on a case by case basis on its merits.

According to staff, amendments to the Residential Rural and the Country Residential designations in the OCP are required since the existing polices are regulatory in nature and belong in the zoning bylaw, not the OCP. Any amendments that might be made, in no way mean that any applications will automatically be supported. The discretion remains with the Board.

And last of all, I will just mention that there is no "trailer park" applied for (as you will read in another letter to the editor) in this application. It is a campground, just to be clear.

I am sure that there will be plenty of discussion about this application and this is great. But let's have it in the open and please feel free to ask me any questions that you like about the process. I will be glad to assist you in staying informed.

Upcoming Public Meetings - Please make note!

In an effort to make sure you know what meetings are coming up so that you can plan them into your calendars, I provide the following:

Thursday, February 17th, there is a meeting tentatively scheduled for the Steering Committee members only, concerning the draft plan for the Quathiaski Cove Local Area Plan. this is not a public meeting. That will happen in the next month or so.

Thursday, February 24th, there will be a meeting to explain the Quathiaski cove sewer taxation issue. Senior staff from the SRD will be in attendance. This meeting will effect those people within the Q.Cove Sewer Specified Area. The meeting will be held at Quadra Elementary, time to be announced (evening)

Thursday, March 3rd, Quadra Elementary, time to be announced (evening), will be the public meeting (not public hearing) for the Schellinck proposal which I talked about above. This would be the place to come and ask your questions and express your concerns and offer ideas.

Monday, March 7th, Quadra Island Community Centre, time to be announced (evening), will be a meeting to discuss the Q. Cove sewer expansion for 47 lots on the edges of the existing sewer service area. The costs and options will all be there for those effected by this expansion. this has been a long time coming and has been asked for mostly by the residents in the area that want to be on sewer. We are now ready to begin the official process if that is what people in the area want.

I have one night in February when I don't have a meeting! And all of the days are taken also. March is not much better. I cannot believe how much activity there is right now. Yet I am glad that there is, because it means we are getting things done. I have been waiting for this time and I am not complaining. It is exciting! I hope you will join me in the excitement. But most of all I hope that you will pick up the phone and call me when you need to know something.

I hope you have enjoyed the read! Feel free to call me between the hours of 8:30 am and 7:00 pm, Monday through Friday (please, not on weekends, folks!) at 285-3355, or you can fax me at 285-3533 or you can email me anytime at jimabramxplornet.ca , or by mail at Box 278 in the Cove, V0P 1N0... Lots of choices.

Please note my new email address.

Respectfully submitted,

Jim Abram
Director, Discovery Islands - Mainland Inlets (Area C), SRD