From Our Regional Director:
(a) Financial plan (draft 2):
The Board reviewed the 2nd draft of the 2020-2024 financial plan (the most important part of which is the 2020 budget) at the Finance Committee meeting on February 19th, 2020
The 2nd draft of the financial plan can be found: https://qathetrd.civicweb.net/filepro/documents/102524
The draft will change between now and March 31. A summary of draft tax rates for Lasqueti can be found on page 288 of the agenda (page 18 of the plan report). The tax rate looks like it will go up a bit, and the total taxes to levy look to increase, primarily due to increases in the LIVFD service.
Budgets for individual services that affect Lasqueti (e.g. waste management, LIVFD, ramp, etc.) are detailed individually in the report.
(b) Regional Park Acquisition:
The Board adopted a strategic priority to acquire more land for regional parks and has established a reserve fund for parkland acquisition with some funds identified in the budget. The Board will develop some guidelines and policy in the upcoming year regarding how to identify land for protection, leveraging funds, etc. before any acquisition takes place.
(c) Fire Department Asset Management:
The Manager of Emergency Services (R. Thoms) presented an “asset management” report on the fire halls and apparatus (fire engines and water trucks) of each regional Volunteer Fire Department (page 223 of the Feb 19 Finance Committee agenda, linked above). This staff report recommends (on page 229) replacement over the next few years of the north fire hall ($720,000), one of the fire trucks ($350,000) and both water trucks ($250,000 each). Because of the financial scale of these numbers, the Board directed staff to undertake a public engagement process in 2020 to develop and prioritize capital asset management plans and to develop a funding strategy to support those plans. No date has been set yet.
There has been significant discussion in our community about the need for if, when and how the fire hall might be replaced. There has been less discussion about replacement objectives for apparatus (e.g. when apparatus might need to be replaced and whether apparatus must be new or can be used equipment).
It should be noted that asset management planning for regional Volunteer Fire Departments attempts to develop long-term funding strategies based on condition assessments, requirements (e.g. WorksafeBC) and guidelines. The replacement schedules for the fire halls and apparatus were derived from Fire Underwriters Survey guidelines (which are to be used for guidance, not strict adherence). There is plenty of community discussion to be had on this topic.
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
Peter Johnston, Islands Trustee: We had our first Lasqueti Trust Committee meeting in nearly four months. Exciting news is that we will be receiving a presentation from the LCA’s OCP/LUB review committee. Hopefully this will be a big step forward and will speed and possibly simplify public engagement and involvement in this project to make our Official Community Plan and our Land Use Bylaws more closely aligned with the values and goals that we have for our island and community.
The OCP/LUB review process will have ample opportunity for everyone to learn about and give us opinion and feedback about proposals, and we will hopefully be able to come to a fair level of agreement on many, if not all, the issues that come up. It will take dedication and patience, time and energy, but the revised OCP will be a plan and blueprint for the future of Lasqueti, and the LUB will lay out the land use regulations that we will be expected, as a community and as individuals, to live by.
FLASH: At Monday’s meeting we heard from the LCA committee, but their report had not made its way into our agenda package, so we weren’t as well prepared for it as I would have liked. Their very valuable work with the community is much appreciated, and starts us off well along the road towards organizing a series of reviews of proposals and ideas. I’m hoping that we’ll have a report and some indication of next steps before our next meeting on April 27.
We finally managed, at the recycling centre, to present Mark Bottomley with the stewardship award that he won for his inspiring work on beach cleanup around Lasqueti. By the time you read this, the waste, mostly Styrofoam, will hopefully have been sorted by Ocean Legacy and sent to where it can be repurposed, reused or disposed of. I’m hoping that the provincial government will come up with regulations so that these materials, especially styrofoam, no longer end up in the ocean and on the beaches.
On March 10 through 12 Trust Council will be meeting on SaltSpring Island. Agenda package will be posted on the Trust’s web site early in March. Go to the meetings calendar and click on one of the days of the meeting, which will take you to a link to the agenda package and other information about the meeting. This is the meeting at which Trust Council must agree on and adopt a budget for the next fiscal year, from April 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021. There will be much information in the agenda package about the proposed budget, and lots of response to our budget consultation with Trust Area residents and landowners, and a significant amount of other stuff, too.
If you have any observations, questions, etc., please talk to me or to Tim, or both (but not both of us together). Peter
Tim Peterson, Islands Trustee: Greetings, all. At the Local Trust Committee meeting of February 24, we received a delegation from the LCA’s OCP Steering Committee about the structure of their public forums, and an outline of some of their findings. Their report was included as part of the Project Charter for the LTC’s OCP review project, which we approved in principle as the next step in the process.
Many thanks are due to the OCP Steering Committee members for their diligent work over many meetings and months. Also included were the following items: Review of consistency with Islands Trust policies related to the Douglas Fir Toolkit; staff’s suggested changes to the OCP and LUB based on a technical review; and LUB amendments for subdivision regulations related to proof of water and public access to the water. We also adopted a Standing Resolution regarding First Nations Reconciliation, which is an important step in that regard, and indicated the LTC’s interest in filming and streaming our local meetings.
In March, we will be attending Trust Council on Salt Spring, where a major focus will be the budget. More information on the Trust Council agenda will be available on the Islands Trust website soon, for those interested.
I am very pleased to have been selected by the Executive Committee as one of three Trustees sponsored to attend the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference in April. Administered by Western Washington University’s Salish Sea Institute, the conference has become the premier scientific research and policy gathering in the Pacific Northwest, to build shared policies, practices and procedures necessary to guide future actions for protecting and restoring the Salish Sea and its watersheds.
Our next LTC meeting will be April 27. Please consider attending if you are able, and, as always, feel free to contact your Trustees with your questions, comments, or concerns.
Tim Peterson, Islands Trustee
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