General · 21st June 2012
Another beautiful June-uary day on Quadra Island. With the first day of summer soon to arrive I am sure the good weather will follow suit.
Another busy month has passed and a lot is going on throughout the summer. I will touch on a few of the items, briefly.
As I said in the last report, things are moving along nicely and we can expect some good news in the near future. I am not in control of that news, but you will hear it when I do, so be patient. I want to give them some space to follow through on the items that they are working on for our benefit.
Quathiaski Cove sewer expansion
At the time of filing of my last report, the final word was not in. It is now. The petition failed. In other words the people in the area that asked the SRD to please look into the possibility of expanding the sewer system to take care of some of the failing septic systems, along with their neighbours, voted it down. There was a lot of misinformation out there, some negative advertising by one party and not enough good information from the SRD. It is very unfortunate that it did fail, since some of those properties are now not sellable and more pollution might enter the water table of the Cove. I asked the SRD to prepare an options report for the last meeting and we received that and it did give us the opportunity to go back to the public with comprehensive information and the possibility of a referendum within the expansion area. Less than half the people in the area took part in the petition process. That is a good indication that something was wrong with the process.
It is too bad that the people inside the present sewer area didn't encourage their neighbours to sign the petition since the more people on the system, the lower the user fee would be into the future. In my last report I wrote, "This expansion is a key element in servicing the Cove area and in helping to keep the annual user fees at a lower rate, not to mention to remedy the systems that were failing in the area." And that brings us to the next topic!
Quathiaski Cove Sewer user fees
I insisted that the SRD hold an information meeting to explain to the users of the sewer system why their annual user fees were going up by 132% this year. There just are not enough people on the system to make it work; operationally and economically. All of our senior staff responsible for the system, showed up for a meeting on the 14th to try and explain the reasons for this massive increase. It was a very good meeting and after the initial expected rage at the increase from a few, the group started to talk about solutions. This was a very positive change in mood and did help the SRD in planning for the future and how they will try to remedy this situation. The expansion is certainly one way. With the addition of those 38 properties, the cost would be reduced by about 30% and if more properties develop in the Cove due to the Q. Cove planning process, then the costs would keep going down. I have committed to trying to get more money form the UBCM and the Minister along with any other grants that might present themselves. This is really not an easy situation for anyone. I totally empathize with the users. I voted against this increase and spent endless hours with staff to find a way around it. I understand the predicament the SRD is in and I will try to help all parties come to a better solution. It will not be easy, but I will do my best.
Gowlland Views - Schellinck proposal (as I reported in my last report, repeated here)
The Regional District has had no contact with the proponent and I have only had one email saying that they are not ready. Where it was left was that the applicant needed to fulfill a long list of requirements prior to coming to a public hearing. I insisted upon that and the Board agreed. So, I am assuming that he has not finished with the list and when he does he will come back to the SRD.
I will ensure that the public hearing, when it is scheduled, will not happen during the summer months when people are away or otherwise distracted. The hearing would be in the fall at the earliest and I will keep you informed.
I hope that all of you have a great Canada Day, however you celebrate it. I am not going to be available during July and I hope that all of you have a great summer. My alternate director will be attending meetings for me as appropriate.
Director, Discovery Islands - Mainland Inlets (Area C), SRD