Keeping in touch
Welcome to the second edition of Electoral Area C Update.
The purpose of this newsletter is to keep you informed about Regional District services, initiatives, and events. As your Electoral Area Director, I have been busy representing you on the RDN Board, the Committee of the Whole, the Electoral Area Planning Committee (Chair) and the Executive Committee. I am also the Board representative to the Treaty Advisory Committee, the Central Health Region Joint Capital Planning Committee (Alternate) and the Grants-in- Aid Committee (Chairperson). The Treaty Advisory Committee, with representatives from the Region, the Province, the Federal Government and the Snuneymuxw (Nanaimo) First Nation, reached an Agreement in Principle earlier this year. The Committee is now waiting for a vote to take place among the Snuneymuxw First Nation on this historic agreement. Many residents throughout the region are aware that Lantzville has formed its own municipality. As a result, the Province has contacted the Regional District of Nanaimo about its interest in blending the remaining sections of Area D - East Wellington and Pleasant Valley - into Area C. The Province has included in the Letters Patent that this change will take place to coincide with the November, 2005 local government elections. In the summer, an RDN Advisory Committee was formed to discuss this issue in detail. Myself, Director Denise Haime from Lantzville and Board Chair Joe Stanhope serve on this committee with two residents each from Areas C and D. The RegionalDistrict is planning to hold public open houses in early January to discuss with residents in Areas C and D the implications of the Provinceís direction. I welcome your feedback on this matter. Further information will be available to residents in a special edition RDN newsletter in January.
In the meantime, I wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season. You may reach me by phone, fax or email contacts on the back of this newsletter.
Elaine Hamilton, Director, Area C
RDN Reviews Draft Airport Master Plan
Residents in Cassidy may be interested in an update on the draft Nanaimo Airport master plan. The RDN continues to participate in a review of the draft master plan prepared by the Nanaimo Airport Commission.
The master plan is a long term guide or roadmap for development over the next 20 or 30 years. It looks at the entire infrastructure of the airport, including requirements for runway extensions, taxiways, aprons, service facilities, the air terminal building, highway access and internal roadways, and identifies areas that should be set aside for future commercial development. Many of these issues are also addressed in the Official Community Plan for Electoral Area A and have been discussed as part of the community planning process for other nearby communities, including Electoral Area C. Therefore, it is important that airport planning and community planning objectives are compatible.
The existing Electoral Area A Official Community Plan recognizes and supports the importance of the Airport as an economic and transportation hub for the RDN and Vancouver Island. Residents in Electoral Areas A and C have had opportunities to provide input on the airport master plan at several open houses organized by the Nanaimo Airport Commission. The most recent public meeting was held on October 30 in Ladysmith. Everyone hopes that the master plan, once finalized early next year, will reflect the desires and needs of the community. In order to implement the master plan, the Nanaimo Airport Commission is requesting some amendments to the Electoral Area A Official Community Plan and zoning regulations for the airport. The RDN has also agreed to work with the Airport Commission to establish Airport Approach Path protection regulations to protect aircraft manoeuvre areas from encroachment, and to ensure that overflight and straying issues are addressed for surrounding neighbours. Before any official community plan and zoning changes take place, the RDN will initiate a public consultation process to receive input from residents. Since airport activities particularly affect residents in Electoral Areas C and A, your comments are very important to the process. Details about upcoming public meetings will be advertised in local newspapers and on the RDN website at www.rdn.bc.ca.
Residents in Area C enjoy Haslam Creek Suspension Bridge, which officially opened last spring.
Earlier this year, the RDN renewed a five-year contract with the Cowichan Valley Regional District to provide fire protection to residents of the neighborhoods of Yellowpoint/Cedar and Cassidy/Spruston Road. In renewing the agreement, the Cowichan Valley Regional District requested that the RDN consider introducing a fire season burning bylaw for the RDN contract service area that is consistent with the Cowichan Valley bylaw. The RDN is holding a public meeting at North Oyster School on January 21 at 7 p.m. to discuss the implications of introducing a fire season burning bylaw. Residents who live within the Cassidy/Spruston road area who receive fire protection from the North Oyster Fire department are encouraged to attend.
RDN 2004 Annual Budget
The Regional District of Nanaimoís 2004 Annual Budget and five year Financial Plan (2004 to 2009) must be adopted by March 31. The requirement to prepare a five year Financial Plan reflects changes in the Local Government Act that took effect January 2003. The RDN Board will review the proposed Annual Budget at a meeting on January 6, and the five year Financial Plan at meetings scheduled on February 17 and March 2, 2004. These meetings will be held at 7 p.m. in the Boardroom at the RDN Administration Building at 6300 Hammond Bay Road, Nanaimo, BC. Members of the public are welcome to attend. Open houses regarding the Annual Budget and Financial Plan are scheduled for March 4 (District 68) and March 11 (District 69), 2004. Locations will be advertised in community newspapers and on the RDN website at a future date.
Community Policing Costs Deferred
The Provincial Solicitor General Ministry, responsible for policing, has deferred the issue of additional policing costs for residents in unincorporated areas and municipalities under 5,000 until the year 2007. The RDN remains opposed to the proposal in its current form because it would significantly increase taxes in an unfair and inequitable manner. Under the provincial plan, rural areas and municipalities under 5,000 would contribute an average of 50 percent towards the cost of rural policing. The formula is based on a Province wide assessment, which would result in
RDN residents in the unincorporated areas paying 86 percent of our policing costs. The RDN has prepared a position paper that states that any formula implemented to recover policing costs should be established on the principle of fairness and equity, in which all regional districts pay their share based upon service provided to their area. The RDN will continue to advocate its position to the Province.
A Burning Issue: Reduce Wood Stove Smoke
Cold winter weather means more people are using woodstoves. Wood smoke has become a serious kind of air pollution in B.C. Thatís because it contains fine particulates. Exposure to high levels of fine particulates can cause respiratory illnesses such as asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia and emphysema. To reduce wood stove smoke, pay attention to what you burn and how you operate your wood stove. A few simple steps can make wood stoves much more efficient.