From Our Regional Director:
The last month has certainly brought a lot of changes to our lives.
Local response to Covid-19: I continue to try to provide information directly relevant to Lasqueti, including local mitigation efforts, service information, Provincial public health officer orders, food growing, etc. I set up local information pages at: https://lasqueti.ca/covid-19
If anything seems incorrect, unclear or missing, please let me know.
False Bay Dock and Ferry: Changes are being discussed with the ferry committee, WPM, wharfinger and local response coordinator regarding how the dock is used for ferry passengers and freight to allow 2m physical distancing. A first step is that the gangway (ramp) will be one-way traffic for the time being, with priority for people coming up from the float. If you want to go down the ramp, and need to wait, please waitin the alcove.
Also: on the ferry, please do not sit in the covered cargo area (physical distancing isn’t possible there for passengers or crew). The crew has been asking people to not sit there.
Regional response to COVID-19: The regional district has been doing a number of actions to respond to the pandemic, and provide health information, guidelines, media releases and other information at: https://www.qathet.ca/2020/03/18/qrd-response-to-covid-19/
One recent item is the media release on the BC211 Safe Seniors Program to help provide more services for people 65 and older:
Budget: The budget was adopted by the Board on March 30, as required by the Province. It is on pages 37-43 of the agenda https://qathetrd.civicweb.net/filepro/documents/102947?preview=105771
Code of Conduct: I first asked the qRD to establish a code of conduct long before I was elected. The lack of a code of conduct meant that there was little recourse to address improper behaviour. Last December I raised the issue again (in the context of claims of improper conduct regarding another Board member), and the Board agreed to create a working group that included Chair Brabazon, Director Doubt and myself. We reviewed code of conduct policies from other local governments, and developed a draft based on a few key principles:
It will be considered for adoption at the April 30 Board meeting. 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: Notes from Peter: Tim has covered the recent happenings and meetings fully. At the March 27 electronic Lasqueti Trust Committee meeting, there was no provision for a Town Hall or any delegation. It is planned and hoped that we will have this capacity by the time our June 22 meeting arrives. Andrew Fall was “elevated” from audience to participant for a brief part of the LTC meeting, so he could give his regional director’s report. The technology to be able to hear audience members does exist, and we will hopefully use it in future, as we get used to the electronic meetings and more familiar with their possibilities.
My understanding is that a decision has not yet been made about whether the recording (audio and video) of the meeting will be posted publicly. I don’t know who will make this decision, but I have already and will continue to advocate for it to be posted publicly. In my experience, the recording of the qRD meetings is incredibly useful, as you can skip forward to the parts of the meeting you are interested in, or away from the parts you are not interested in. This isn’t possible in an actual, real-time meeting, electronic or not.
I hope that, even if the Islands Trust is granted the ability to hold meetings without the public being present, we will always allow the public to listen or listen and watch all our meetings, except the closed meetings, by computer/internet device or by telephone, as our LTC meeting allowed. I’m not sure why the March 20 Trust Council meeting didn’t allow the public to attend, except that we were permitted to not allow it, and it was our first electronic Trust Council meeting.
I was over that day for a minor medical procedure and was unable to attend the meeting, because the library’s WiFi signal was not strong and stable enough for me to participate, or even listen effectively.
The performance of Tim and my connections to the LTC meeting were not flawless and perfect, but they were adequate, and I will look into ways we can improve our connection for future meetings. I’d be interested in any feedback or suggestions from anyone who connected with the meeting, even briefly.
I am very hopeful that we can move ahead in revising our Official Community Plan in the next while, though nothing will be accomplished, other than staff planning, until after our next meeting, June 22. Huge thanks to everyone who came out to and participated in the forums that the LCA OCP Steering Committee held. They moved us far ahead on knowing what the community wishes are for revisions, in a process that we, and especially the committee members, ran. Their report, and reports on all their work, is on the Lasqueti web site at https://lasqueti.ca/lca/ocp-review The LTC will make sure that there are printed copies of information available, and that there are a variety of ways that Lasqueti people can respond and submit their input in the revision processes that will be coming up over the next months and years.
Please ask Tim or me if you have any questions, or let us know if you have suggestions or comments. Peter Johnston
Tim Peterson, Islands Trustee: The Lasqueti Local Trust Committee held its first electronic meeting April 27th. Due to legislative requirements, the physical location of the meeting was the Victoria Office, to allow for the possibility of public attendance. The meeting was available to be viewed live, and was recorded and will be available on the Lasqueti section of the Islands Trust website at a later date.and our most vulnerable.”
Guests currently in the region are asked to speak to local visitor information services and their accommodation providers with any questions. Guests with upcoming stays are strongly encouraged to listen to all directives from senior levels of government and to contact their accommodation and tour providers to rebook plans.
The LTC approved an amended Project Charter for the OCP/LUB review, which splits the project into four subprojects. Due to staffing issues and the formation of a new Policy Planning Team, this is the best way to advance the work of this project. A bylaw that incorporates the recommendations of the LCA and staff’s technical review into the OCP will be the first subproject, followed by a bylaw amending the subdivision regulations related to proof of water and public access to the water (shorefront). Both of these subprojects will be undertaken by staff from the Northern Office. It is presently contemplated that the final two subprojects may be undertaken by the Policy Planning Team, when it is properly constituted. Public Hearings will be held on each of these proposed bylaws when drafted, although the process for holding them is yet to be determined given Provincial health directives at this time.
The next LTC meeting is planned for June 22, and is likely to follow the same electronic format, although there are indications from the Ministry that the Islands Trust may be exempted from the legislative requirements for attendance by the public, in line with other local governments, for the duration of public health restrictions on public gatherings, as discussed below.
Trust Council had a brief electronic meeting April 20th. The following is quoted from the meeting agenda: “Under normal circumstances, a special electronic meeting notice must specify a physical location where the public can hear, or watch and hear, the meeting participants. However, on April 8, 2020, staff of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MAH) advised the Director of Administrative Services: “that they are adopting a policy that considers Islands Trust as a Regional District for the purposes of the Emergency Ministers Order, which grants the ability to conduct business without the requirement for public meetings”. Specifically, this meeting qualified because it concerned budget matters which must, by law, be submitted to the Ministry in a short time frame. The regular meetings of Local Trust Committees and Trust Council, at this moment, are not exempted from the requirement for public access, and there remain questions as to how these meetings can proceed. Several Local Trust Committees have cancelled meeting over the last few weeks. Islands Trust staff are in communication with the Ministry to determine how the business of the Trust can proceed during this unprecedented event.
Trust Council voted in favor of the following resolution: “That Trust Council amend the 2020/21 financial plan bylaw to reduce the property tax requisition to a 0% increase from last year and that this beachieved through reducing planned expenditures.” Financial Planning Committee recommended this change from the previously approved 2%, recognizing that this decrease could be almost certainly be covered by lower than expected operating costs due to travel restrictions and meeting cancellations.
Trust Council also cancelled its regular June meeting. It is contemplated that the in person meeting may be replaced by an electronic one, but, as mentioned, details are still being worked out.
The last item approved was the issuance of another Islands Trust press release, reminding potential visitors to avoid all non-essential travel, in accordance with recommendations from the Province.
As always, please feel free to contact your Trustees with your questions, comments, or concerns. Tim Peterson
ISLANDS TRUST CONTACT INFORMATION:
To email all 3 Representatives:
Powell River, B.C. - The qathet Regional District is pleased to announce the return of the Regional FireSmart Program for 2020.
This is the fourth consecutive year of the Regional FireSmart Program. With funding support from the Province of BC and Union of BC Municipalities’ Community Resiliency Investment Fund, the qRD is able to continue to offer education, training, and planning toward mitigating the negative impacts from wildfire to public and private properties across the region.
Regional FireSmart Coordinator Marc Albert noted that 2019 saw a significant increase in the number of residents contacting the program for FireSmart advice. This year the Program will continue to offer free home and property wildfire hazard assessments. Property owners may also qualify for rebates up to $500 for completing eligible FireSmart improvements around their homes.
Residents interested in information on how to make FireSmart improvements to their homes and properties are encouraged to contact the qRD office or Regional FireSmart Coordinator Marc Albert directly at email@example.com.
Ryan Thoms, Manager of Emergency Services
qathet Regional District
#202 - 4675 Marine Avenue
Powell River, BC V8A 2L2
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