Keeping in touch
Welcome to the second issue of Electoral Area F Update.
Welcome to the third issue of Electoral Area F Update. I extend a warm welcome to all new residents and businesses. This newsletter is part of an improved communications strategy adopted by the Regional District of Nanaimo Board to keep you informed about RDN activities and initiatives. I hope you find it informative.
Area Fís first zoning and subdivision bylaw continues to be fine tuned. The RDN Board adopted the bylaw in June, 2002 but agreed to a fine tuning process a year later. Residents and property owners had another opportunity to confirm their property ís zoning and raise any issues or concerns about the designation. RDN staff worked with landowners to identify uses that were in place when the bylaw was adopted but weren ít recognized. During an extensive public consultation process, property owners were given the opportunity to come forward with documentation to support pre-existing uses. Three newsletters were distributed in the summer and RDN staff opened a site office at Pine Tree Centre in September and October for two weeks. RDN staff received over 125 requests to recognize pre-existing uses. An amendment bylaw was given first and second readings by the RDN Board and a public hearing followed during the first week of January. Approximately 110 people attended the public hearing, with good representation from Errington to Hilliers. At the hearing, a number of residents and landowners raised concerns about some of the proposed changes to the zoning bylaw and there were also requests to recognize additional existing uses. As a result of the submissions, the proposed amendment bylaw will be referred to the February Board meeting to be reconsidered and sent back to a public hearing.
A public information meeting will be held on January 26, 7 p. m. at the Arrowsmith Agricultural Hall on Ford Road in Coombs to discuss possible changes to the Coombs Hilliers Volunteer Fire Department budget. The department needs a tax increase to upgrade fire trucks and equipment. For more information, call Nancy Avery, Manager, Financial Services, at 1-877-607-4111.
Elsewhere in this newsletter, you will find information about upcoming public meetings. I encourage residents to get involved and make your voices heard. I welcome your comments and suggestions on any community matter. Please feel free to reach me at the phone, fax or email contacts on the back of this newsletter.
Lou Biggemann, Director, Electoral Area F
The Regional District of Nanaimo will host a full day Drinking Water Protection Workshop in May. Specific stakeholders with concerns about the provision of drinking water in the region and the general public are invited to attend. The purpose of the workshop is to clarify agency roles in protecting drinking water and identify where the gaps are to ensure our water supply is safe. Right now, drinking water is provided to residents in many different ways. Residents receive drinking water from municipal water systems, improvement districts, private water utilities, water user communities, individual wells or other systems. The catalyst for the RDN Drinking Water Protection Workshop was the Provincial Government ís new Drinking Water Protection Act passed in 2003, which sets new requirements for providers of drinking water. Some of the new requirements could present challenges to non-municipal water service providers in terms of having appropriately skilled personnel, the necessary infrastructure and financial resources to fulfill new obligations under the Act. A Drinking Water Protection Workshop was also identified as an action item in the RDN Board ís Strategic Plan. Watch for more details about the workshop in community newspapers and on the RDN website.
The Regional District of Nanaimo ís 2004 Annual Budget and five year Financial Plan (2004 to 2009)must be adopted by March 31. The requirement to prepare a Financial Plan reflects changes in the Local Government Act that took effect January, 2003. The RDN Board will review the Financial Plan at meetings scheduled on February 17 and March 2 at 7 p.m. in the Board Chambers at the RDN Administration Building, 6300 Hammond Bay Road, Nanaimo. The meetings are open to the public. Open houses regarding the Annual Budget and Financial Plan are scheduled for March 4 (District 68)and March 11 (District 69). Locations will be advertised in community newspapers and on the RDN website.
The Regional District of Nanaimo will host a Sustainability Workshop in April for stakeholders and interested members of the public. Sustainability is the concept that humans are a part of the ecosystem and need to balance the economic and social aspects of life in ways that maintain and enhance the environment. The workshop aims to raise public awareness about sustainability, the RDN's role in advancing it, the Regional Growth Strategy as a tool for advancing sustainability, and the assessment of progress towards sustainability within the Region. The workshop is an opportunity for the RDN to receive public feedback on the characteristics of a sustainable region, and identify possible indicators or measures of sustainability for the region. The workshop will include discussion on the three legs of sustainability ®- the economy, environment and the social/human sector. Creating a more sustainable region is the overall intent of the RDN's Regional Growth Strategy. One of the key components of the Strategy is to raise public awareness about what individual citizens can do along with local government to enhance sustainability. The RDN Sustainability Project is spearheaded in conjunction with the Regional Growth Monitoring Advisory Committee, which includes representation of nine residents appointed by the RDN Board. Watch for further details about the Sustainability Workshop on the RDN website and in community newspapers.
|Area F residents can enjoy a new regional park along side the Englishman River|
Area F residents can look forward to a new regional park. The RDN, The Nature Trust of B. C. , the Province of B.C., the City of Parksville and other funding partners recently announced the purchase of Block 602, a 439 acre property (178 hectares)from TimberWest on the north side of the Englishman River. The RDN will manage and operate the property as a regional park through a 99-year lease with The Nature Trust. A detailed Management Plan will be prepared to protect the outstanding recreational, fishery, wildlife and other biodiversity values of the site. The property includes a fish hatchery. A series of salmon enhancement projects are planned, with funding from the Pacific Salmon Foundation. Opportunities for trail linkages to Top Bridge Community Park and the potential for numerous other recreational activities will also benefit the whole area.
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.
Cold winter weather means more people are using woodstoves. Wood smoke has become a serious kind of air pollution in B. C. That's because it contains fine particulates. Exposure to high levels of fine particulates can cause respiratory illnesses such as asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia and emphysema. A few simple steps can make wood stoves more efficient.
Electoral Area Director |Lou Biggemann
250-248-9078 |Fax 250-951-2316 |email@example.com