Keeping in touch
Welcome to the first issue of Electoral Area F Update.
As I start my first term as your Electoral Area Director, one of my main goals is to keep you informed of the many activities of the RDN, especially those involving our Area.
Since I started in my position I have been busy familiarizing myself with Regional Board policies, the RDN organization and its services. As your Electoral Area Director I represent you on the RDN Board, the Committee of the Whole and the Electoral Area Planning Committee. I have been appointed to several committees including the Climate Change Standing Committee, the Regional Environmental Advisory Committee, the RDN Emergency Planning Committee and the Community Policing Select Committee. The RDN is your local government. It provides a diverse range of local services such as community planning, garbage and recycling collection, animal control, recreation and recreation facilities such as the Ravensong Aquatic Centre and District 69 Arena, fire protection (through agreements with local fire departments) and regional services such as regional parks and trails, regional planning and solid waste management. As you can see from this newsletter, there’s a lot going on in our Area and the Region. It’s exciting to see the new Arena Multiplex underway. Locally, the efforts of volunteer fire departments to continually improve their service is to be applauded. Other important initiatives are our zoning bylaw review and consultation around the purchase of the old Errington School.
I hope this newsletter and future editions will help keep you informed about your local government’s initiatives and activities. I welcome your comments and suggestions. 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
Community Services News
Construction Underway on Arena Multiplex
Ice sports enthusiasts of all ages from throughout the Oceanside community turned out on January 25, 2003 to celebrate the start of construction for the new Arena Multiplex.
Young representatives from Oceanside Minor Hockey and the Sandy Shores Skating Club joined myself, other elected officials and RG Properties President Graham Lee for the official ground breaking ceremony at the arena’s Wembley Mall location.
The new facility will provide the capacity to allow new user groups to obtain ice time and minor hockey and figure skating organizations to expand their programs. It will feature two NHL-size ice rinks, a leisure ice sheet, and offices for RDN Recreation and Parks. The existing rink will remain the property of the RDN and be leased and operated by the Parksville Curling Club Society with no public subsidy.
RG Properties is building the Arena
Multiplex, which will be owned and
operated by the RDN. Construction is
expected to be completed by September
Changes to RDN Recreation
Changes to RDN Recreation Grants Programs
At its February 11, 2003 meeting, the RDN Board approved the motion to provide $62,500 in funding for the 2003 Recreation Grants Program. During its provisional budget process the RDN Board had originally proposed reducing the grants’ funding to $40,000. However, on January 28 the RDN Committee of the Whole agreed to set funding for the 2003 Recreation Grants Program at $62,500.
Community and youth groups providing recreation programs in District 69 are eligible to apply for the Recreation Program Grants. Grant applications are available at the District 69 Arena and the Ravensong Aquatic Centre.
Input gathered on purchase of Old Errington School
At its December 10, 2002 meeting, the RDN Board approved a resolution to have me, as your Electoral Area Director, obtain community input on the proposed purchase of the old Errington School.
Last year, the RDN Board approved the purchase of the school property on Grafton Avenue from School District 69 for community use. Delays in the School District obtaining permission to sell the property resulted in the sale being postponed several times. In the meantime, questions have been raised about the level of community support to purchase the school building and property, the cost of repairs and maintenance and the impact on other community facilities.
I will report on the results of the community input process at the February 25, 2003 RDN Board Committee of the Whole Meeting.
Development Services News
Area F Zoning Bylaw Review -Site Office Opening
The RDN Board adopted Area F’s first zoning and subdivision bylaw in June 2002. Residents and property owners now have another opportunity to confirm their property’s zoning and raise any issues or concerns about the designation.
During the Area F Zoning Bylaw Review RDN Planning staff will work with landowners to identify uses that were in place when the bylaw was adopted but weren’t recognized. This may result in a review of some of the zones and amendments to the zoning bylaw. This spring, the RDN will be opening a Site Office in Area F. Planning staff will be available to assist people with questions about their property’s zoning and to collect information from people to recognise existing uses. Watch the local newspapers for details about the Site Office opening.
Area F residents and property owners who want to check their zoning can go the Planning section of the RDN Website (www.rdn.bc.ca), contact the RDN Planning Department by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 954-3798.
Fire Department News
Errington Fire Department uses innovative equipment
The Errington Fire Department (EFD) is close to achieving its goal of obtaining the same insurance rating as communities with fire hydrants. Once the EFD passes a simulated live tanker shuttle test and receives the rating, it would result in lower fire insurance rates for residents of the Errington Fire Protection Area.
Key to obtaining full hydrant protected status for the area is the innovative use of roll on/roll-off vehicles, which enable the department to provide large amounts of water at the site of a fire. A hook/lift system on these vehicles enables the EFD to drop a portable water tank at the fire and replace it with a full tank as needed. The department has also constructed a portable unit that contains an air tank refilling station and emergency lighting, which can also be dropped at the scene to provide support services. The EFD already has one roll on/roll-off vehicle in operation at Fire Hall #1 and has will shortly order a second truck with associated equipment for its other fire hall. In addition, the EFD recently upgraded its equipment by acquiring two compressed air foam fire trucks through vehicle trades with the BC Coastal Fire Centre.
In rural areas such as Area F, volunteer Societies provide fire protection service under service agreements with the Regional District.
Arrowsmith Search & Rescue Society finds new home
An agreement with the RDN on behalf of the Coombs Fire Department will provide a new home for the Arrowsmith Search & Rescue Society. The Society currently stores its search and rescue equipment at members’ homes. An agreement with the RDN will enable the Arrowsmith Search & Rescue Society to build an addition to the Coombs-Hilliers Fire Hall #2, which will provide an office, training facilities and storage for its vehicle and equipment. Construction of the addition is expected to be completed by the end of 2003.
Environmental Services News
RDN appeals Sewage Disposal System Permit
The RDN, Breakwater Enterprises, the Arrowsmith Watershed Coalition and the French Creek Residents Association have all filed appeals against a sewage disposal system permit issued for a property at the corner of Church and Valley Roads in Electoral Area F. The proposed sewage system would discharge an estimated 2,250 gallons per day. The RDN has appealed the permit on behalf of residents who might be affected by the proposed discharge. The RDN appealed the permit to ensure assessment and design of the sewage disposal system is adequate to protect groundwater in the area. The Environmental Appeal Board (EAB) hearing was held on January 8 and 9, 2003. The EAB will issue its decision after reviewing information presented at the hearing.