March “the mad scientist” has transformed into the spring blossoms of April. The qRD business keeps on rolling:
2021 Budget Adopted: The Board adopted the 2021 budget. If you are interested, the budget is in the March 25 Board meeting agenda on the qRD web site.
Island Health “Whole Community” Vaccination Clinics: Island Health is organizing vaccination clinics in small and isolated communities, including Lasqueti. Their goal is to provide an opportunity for everyone who wants to receive a vaccination to be able to do so on Island. A team of nurses came on March 29 (the day I wrote this), and will also be coming on April 1, 8, 9 and 12.
The initial spaces available were booked within two days. To accommodate the stronger than expected demand, Island Health has expanded the resources for Lasqueti.
If you haven't yet booked, call soon to either get a time slot, or to add your name to the waiting list to help Island Health with planning.
To register, call: 1-877-795-0755 7am - 7pm Mon - Sun
Thanks to our nurse Dianne for helping to coordinate a smooth roll out, and to Susan M. for volunteering to provide transport for the nurses.
Coastal Flood Mapping: The Board will be undertaking virtual public meetings for phase 1 of the coastal flood mapping project (mainland part of qRD). Work on the Lasqueti, Texada and Savary Islands part (phase 2) is underway and will likely be released in a similar manner in a year. The work takes into account wind flow patterns (which can raise sea levels above normal heights, especially where there is higher exposure), tidal patterns, and projected sea level changes.
Letter to Telus and CRTC: On request from David and Laura Slik, the Board sent another letter to Telus and CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) to request more attention to address land-line reliability on Lasqueti.
Dispatch Update: About 24 letters were received in March supporting the provisional use of the Northern911 emergency call answer/transfer and fire dispatch service. I appreciated the support, and I believe it was helpful for the Board and staff. Thanks also to the LIVFD volunteers who have been preparing for this service change, which will hopefully be soon.
Library: The library continues to expand digital resources (including audiobooks, streaming movies, and music), and to continue and improve all library services. The library is starting a strategic review, so if you have any ideas for improvements, please let me know.
Please feel free to contact me. I am honoured to be your regional representative.
Director Andrew Fall, qathet Regional District
Contact: Tel: 250-333-8595
This has been a very busy time for me, with the Safe Island Land Alliance (SILA) proposal and notice that the Minister of Forests, Lands, Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) had invited the Snaw-naw-as (Nanoose) First Nation to apply for a First Nations Woodland License (FNWL) that includes two parcels of provincially administered (crown) land on the south end of Lasqueti. This letter is posted on the Lasqueti web site at node 6759.
SILA I informed Michael Ruge, the founder and manager of SILA, that many of the opportunities and developments suggested in his promotion were not in accordance with our Land Use Bylaw. I met with Michael and his wife Elly, who have also bought Glen & Kristen’s place on Elderberry Lane, close to the ¼ Section that SILA is proposed to be located on. They tell me that they intend to live here, and they are doing renovations to the house. Michael also told me that over half of the people interested in SILA are from Lasqueti.
FNWL After we received the FLNRORD letter, I wrote to Snaw-naw-as Chief Gordon Edwards, and have had telephone contacts and email exchanges with Councilor Brent Edwards. I also received a letter from their Economic Development Corporation and Snaw-Naw-As Forest Services CEO Cindy Stern. This letter is posted on the Lasqueti web site at node 6770.
In it she says, “Snaw-Naw-As Forestry has no plans in the foreseeable future to develop harvest blocks on Lasqueti Island. Should we consider harvesting in the future we will consult with the community on Lasqueti”, which I regard as very positive and generous.
The south end of Lasqueti is part of the Snaw-naw-as First Nation traditional territory. I have recently learned how important traditional territory is to First Nations Peoples, whose connections go far beyond history. The Ancestors are here, and the Ancestors’ belongings are here, and the Ancestors are of tremendous importance. This is something I’m coming to recognize, now nearing 50 years of being “settled” here. I can begin to nearly imagine what it might be like to have been settled in place for hundreds or thousands of years.
I requested that a special meeting of the Lasqueti Trust Committee be held, tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, March 30. I just learned, Monday morning, that both of the other trustees voted against holding a special meeting. My desire was for the LTC to discuss ways that both Reconciliation and preservation & protection of the Coastal Douglas-fir forests and ecosystems might be achieved. I will have this discussion put onto the agenda for our next scheduled meeting, April 26.
Trust Council – policy statement & budget March 9 – 11 we held a grueling Trust Council meeting, largely centered around both the Policy Statement Review and the Budget for next fiscal year (April 21 through March 22). We decided that community well-being and housing issues would remain part of our Policy Statement and work, though the Trust does not provide services, just land use planning, but planning can be friendly towards affordable and rental housing. We also decided on a tax increase averaging, for Local Trust Areas (but not Bowen Island Municipality) of 3.5% to allow some expansion of services. This level is probably above inflation, but there have been a number of previous years where the tax revenue increase has been 0%, and this has led to the need for this increase, which will allow keeping current services and adding a little that trustees wanted.
OCP revision There has been significant response to the proposed Official Community Plan, and its revision will be a part of our next scheduled meeting, April 26. You can read submissions (and all the other background reports, etc.) on the Lasqueti Comprehensive OCP Review page.
There have been a considerable number of the form letters about the sheep issues returned. I hope that sheep are not the most important issue for most people.
I’ll repeat that my term as trustee ends in the fall of 2022, some 19 months from now, and I will not be running for re-election. Two trustees will need to be elected, so think about who might be a good person to run for the positions. I’m happy to provide information and opinions, if asked.
I’ll post this on the Lasqueti web site, with links, soon after the printed copy comes out. I believe that Dianna will also post it on her Isle & Times web site.
Thank you for your involvement with our community. Peter
The main item on the agenda for our April 26th meeting is the OCP review project. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to share your views. Please remember that correspondence must be directed to the Lasqueti Local Trust Committee as a whole, in order to be considered in our meetings. If you write to just me, or just Peter, we will likely ask if you would like your letter sent to the LTC, so it can become part of the public record. LasquetiIslandLocalTrustCommittee@islandstrust.bc.ca is the email address; regular mail should be addressed care of the Northern Office, 700 North Road, Gabriola Island, BC, V0R 1X3.
I sat on the Reconciliation Working Group last year, as part of the Trust Programs Committee. In learning about what steps toward respectful, appropriate Reconciliation should be, one thing that stands out for me it that it is best to reach out to First Nations directly as a first step, before other public dialog about First Nations related issues. I will be seeking support from the Trust’s Senior Intergovernmental Policy Advisor to help set up meetings between the LTC and those First Nations with interests on Lasqueti, in order to start a direct dialog and begin relationship building. As in any relationship, building mutual respect is key to having productive dialog.
I’d like to thank outgoing Editor Dianna Maycock for her dedication to putting out our local paper for the past few years, and welcome Dave Olsen as our new Editor.
As always, please feel free to contact your Trustees with your questions, concerns, or comments. We are now in the second spring of the pandemic, and many folks are exhausted by the stress and ongoing restrictions. Let’s all try to remember to be kind to our neighbors, and, if we disagree, to remain respectful of each other and our differences.