Mayor Turner began the meeting with an announcement that came out of a closed meeting just prior to the public one that had just begun. Council had to address the concern revealed by OCP Chair, Dave Witty, at the previous Council meeting that the Committee's progress was in jeopardy due to the absence of a Municipal planning support. As a result of the discussion primarily between Mr. Witty, CAO Slegtenhorst and the Mayor they came up with a solution where Dave Witty resigns as Chair and becomes the Planner on a fee basis and Sue Ellen Fast, the Vice Chair of the OCP Steering Committee becomes the Chair.
First item on the agenda was an instructive and fascinating presentation from Kate Emmings, an Ecosystem Protection Specialist from the Islands Trust. She explained that she works for the protection branch of the Islands Trust, a division that focuses on land protection. Her presentation focused on explaining the nature of mapping ecosystems and why they are doing this. One of the key functions is to identify unique, rare and fragile ecosystems. Prior to the start of this project the knowledge of the ecosystems in the region was limited. The mapping is done essentially into six units: climate, topography, surface material, vegetation, soil and geology. There were some interesting findings presented in the preliminary data in this project that would be contrary to most people's thinking on the matter. There is a lot of dry maritime vegetation on Bowen and the wet maritime vegetation is found on the mountain tops where the cloud layer can often settle in. There is much more of interest on a broad variety of topics but you will have to go into the presentation to get the goods.
Grants-in-aid, fall cycle was next up on the roster. Kristen Watson, Deputy Treasurer for the Municipality, gave a report. The applicants were, The Youth Centre, The Historians, The Bowen Island Heritage & Preservation Society and the Coast Animal Welfare Education Society (CAWES).
Following Grants-in-Aid was a letter, a request from the Bowen Island Chamber of Commerce for additional funding. $6,000 had been put aside earlier during the Community Grants process. Councillor Morse brought forward a motion to grant the $6,000. to the Chamber. In the questions to follow the motion, Councillor Hooper took exception to the motion in that his strongly held view was that this was "budgeting-on-the-fly". Daniel Heald, Chamber Chair, defending the application in that the funding request was a for a shortfall in 2009 and not going forward in 2010. It was only after the 2009 was approved in May that the Chamber found out was their expected revenue would be from the Muni. He further stated that it was difficult to budget for a fiscal year when the amount given is revealed almost half way through the fiscal calendar year. The motion was brought to the table and then subsequently passed.
Next, the Noise Control Bylaw, was brought forward again by Chris Buchanan, Muni Bylaw Officer. He recapped the problem with the bylaw which is too confusing and difficult to enforce as a result. His recommendation was to rewrite the Bylaw. The CAO concurred with Mr. Buchanan's analysis stating it would be quicker in terms of staff time and would result in a better bylaw being issued to deal with noise matters. The Bylaw officer continued that he recommends they approve the on table amendment to deal with the "continuous noise" matter but instruct staff to do a rewrite of the noise control bylaw.
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In the public comments portion of the meeting, Coral Tipton thanks Council for the grant that allowed this past year's "Haunted Dock", the pirated themed event on the North Dock during Halloween. Edna Thomson also spoke asking if Council could consider the former Crippen Park portion of the Community Lands (aka Surplus Lands) for inclusion in the proposed National Park initiative on Bowen Island.
Corporal Donald Southern from the Bowen Island Detachment of the RCMP presented a police report. He began with an announcement that all 3 RCMP members of the Bowen detachment are due for a transfer out during 2010. Cpl. Southern would be the first one transferred out. The Mayor asked if there was a way to stagger the departures so "all of the corporate memory isn't lost". The Corporal understood this issue and was doing his best given the circumstances to find the appropriate individual for the Community and brief the person. He then gave a summary of the major investigations that are underway. He wasn't at liberty to discuss details... He brought up a take down of a grow-op on "the night of the Barn Dance" with a capacity of growing 200 plants. Charges are pending. Next up from the Corporal was the "traffic report". Violations are up from the previous year, drinking and driving suspensions and criminal charges are up from the previous year. On a positive note, he stated compliance with wearing seat belts is up. In the Seven Hills area, he noted that speeding is down. Corporal Southern then fielded a series of questions from Councillors on topics ranging from off-road vehicles to DUI suspension matters.
In the "business arising" OCP Chair, Dave Witty provided an update. He mentioned a process called "Integrated Landscape Modeling" that creates mapped growth scenarios using a high tech methodology and implementation. Murray Journeay has agreed to meet with the OCP Committee about using this tool. The OCP Committee is going to have a retreat in December to review all of the submitted material from the Community. "Next steps' in the process is to summarize the Community input and "build towards options" in order to have a presentable piece for the Community in January.
Dave Witty continued on in the second part of his update mentioned there were a series of "challenges". The big challenge is the managing the OCP update process is taking up far too much time as a result of there not being a Planner on staff at the Muni. This problem came about after the OCP Update Committee was struck. Further to wit is The Chair, Dave Witty, is in two roles as the Chair, the mediator and then switching hats as "The Planner" who is giving direction on the shape of the plan. In terms of timelines, the OCP update process is falling behind due in large measure to the absence of a Municipal Planner. CAO Slegtenhorst weighed in on the discussion, at the behest of the Mayor, stating the role of the Planner has effectively been assumed by the CAO until a suitable planner has been found and accepts the offer. The Municipality is in active recruitment right now. The discussion moved onto the idea of hiring contract planners, however, contract Planners, are in short supply, almost impossible to find. The demand for Planners is significant at the moment. To validate the issue, Mayor Turner stated that Jason Smith, the former Planner, had allocated 50% of his time to OCP Update matters.
Councillor Poole stated it would be a good idea if the OCP Update Committee took advantage of the scheduled Island's Trust Public Planning workshops that outline how to roll in the 'reducing greenhouse gas emission requirements" into the OCP Update. She further stated that this is a requirement of "Bill 27" which requires this to be in OCP's by spring of 2010. OCP Update Chair, Dave Witty, agreed that it would be a good idea to organize the Island's Trust planners to have a workshop on Bowen about "Bill 27" matters, however, he and the CAO raised the issue of resourcing. Who was going to organize this.
Councillor Wrinch jumped into the fray stating that we need a Planner that is schooled in Bowen Island matters and perhaps the Vancouver Regional District could be convinced to allow former Muni Planner, Jason Smith to be brought back "by arrangement" to the Muni for 1 day a week. The Mayor stated it is worth pursing.
Next significant topic was relating to the National Park initiative. Councillor Poole brought up a requirement to produce decent documentation for Parks Canada on Bowen Island which would cost some money to produce. Consultant, Mel Turner, who has had experience with Parks Canada suggested this would be beneficial. A motion came forward to allocate "an amount not to exceed $5,000." to go towards these documents and publications.
There was a discussion about whether or not to conduct a physical fact finding mission on Saturna or Pender Islands between now and May. It was generally agreed upon that this would not be necessary.
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National Park Initiative was the topic for the November 2nd BIM Council Meeting. Consultant Mel Turner who is conferring with governing agencies on the Park Initiative on behalf of the Municipality gave an overview of his background and brought the group up to speed on his work to date. He has spoken to individuals at Parks Canada. There, in his words, is "qualified interest" in the initiative. Parks Canada will do a review of land & marine resources on Bowen to determine if any of their programs for a National Park reserve might be applicable to Bowen. He has prepared a document for the working group to review that deals with "issues" they have to consider in order to be prepared for Parks Canada's review of Bowen Island as a candidate for some of the island to be considered as appropriate for a National Reserve. The Mayor spoke about the need to communicate this idea effectively to the Community and to consult with people on Saturna and Pender Island who have been living with National Parks.
When Mel Turner spoke later on in the meeting he emphasized they will be looking for ecological information and to some extent recreational & cultural information. This material, Mr. Turner continued, should be outlined by the Municipality in the documentation so Parks Canada can get on with the analysis. Next he emphasized that the Municipality should define what they are "supportive of" in terms of the National Park initiative. This, he went on, should be defined in the revised OCP working documents so the community can weigh in on this initiative. The proposal document from the Muni should be in Parks Canada's hands by mid-December, if it were to meet all the best timelines given all the players involved, if it were to go ahead in an expeditious manner.
Mel Turner explained after a probe from Mayor Turner that with National Park initiatives on "settled islands" such as Saturna ond Pender, there were people both for and against the initiative but without a "real" rationale. He suggested that it would be useful with these islands close by to draw on this experience so the facts can come forward on what it is like to live with a National Park.
Councillor Poole emphasized that what began this whole process was the result of a resolution that was passed on May 11th to see what kind of interest or money could be "drummed up" with the purpose of securing an agreement based on "willing seller, willing buyer with the CRC owners to purchase some or all of the Cape Roger Curtis Lands at fair market value.
Mel Turner stated that part of the process will be that Parks Canada will ask has any private land been identified as possible park. He continued to state that Bowen's OCP process has identified some private areas.
The Mayor spoke to the need to "not to get ahead of the Community". To make sure there is a good information process that informs the Community about what is taking place as the process evolves.
Next on the agenda was the Advisory Planning Commission, APC, being directly to review the OCP policy relevant to the "Village periphery" with emphasis on the areas west of Snug Cove and provide "options" on its use and bring the report forward on December 14, 2009. The Mayor noted the present OCP briefly touches on the "village periphery" and should be properly addressed in the present OCP discussions. Councillor Morse felt that there were other areas on Bowen that deserved attention as well. Councillor Frinton jumped into the fray bringing a strong case for proceeding with the APC reviewing the "village periphery" issue on its own, as it is "very much on the horizon" whereas the other areas are not. He went onto say that he carefully worked the words in the motion in such a way that the reporting of the APC could be to either the OCP Committee or to Council. He went onto say that he felt this approach made the matter uncontentious. Councillor Hooper wanted some clarification on what the "village periphery" was and why other lots in the Surplus Lands were not being included. The Mayor reiterated his previous points with some clarification and Councillor Frinton visually showed on a wall map where the land in question was. This was caught on video and is instructive. Councillor Hooper was admanant that all of the public/Surplus Land should be considered and not just the "village periphery" piece. It was decided to defer the topic and the motion giving direction to the APC till the next meeting when Dave Witty, Chair of the OCP Steering Committee, would be present before Council.
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A regular Council meeting ensued to wrap up business that had been vetted at previous Committee of the Whole Meetings.
The meeting began with Public Comments from Stephen Foster, Chair of CRC, Daniel Heald and Kim Desanté. Resulting from this segment was the Mayor speaking to an apology from the CAO on a misunderstanding between the CAO and Council on the vetting of major DPs before Council prior to issuance. The Mayor continued that following the acceptance of the apology from CAO Slegtenhorst that "Council was moving on". Daniel Heald speaking as a citizen but as a prominent business person and volunteer on the island, issued a strongly worded critique of Council (present & past) focusing on the need for good "management" to get things done. Finally Kim Desanté, resident of Tunstall Bay spoke to Council about how a "technical" approach to evaluating the CRC DP was not accounting for the human and social cost to the neighbourhood of Tunstall Bay.
Joanne Cunday, Director of Finance, gave two reports...
First Report from Ms. Cunday was on the Tangible Capital Asset Program. In essence, it needs to get done in order to an "unqualified" audit done this spring. Without this there is a high probability of being ineligible for major government funding in the near term. This is the real issue the CAO stated. Staff's workload is such that she is recommending that Dayton & Knight, who are familiar with much of the Muni's infrastructure, be retained to pull together the "Tangible Capital Asset" document in the next 2 and a half months. It requires additional funding to be approved by Council.
Second report from the Director of Fianace was the proposed One-Year Tax Exemption Bylaw.
Next up is a Rezoning Application being brought forward again by Michael Rosen who was assigned the file after Jason Smith resigned in the early summer. The essence of the rezoning app was to allow "commercial accomodation" in the Davies orchard cottages. A public hearing on this was held in June of '08 & Council subsequently reviewed the public comments and gave the bylaw 2nd and 3rd reading. The major caveats that came forward was to limit commercial use to the Davies Orchard cottages. The bylaw passed.
Second piece of business from Planning Consultant, Michael Rosen, was a rezoning application for the subdivision of a property owned by Walt Ruloff. The application was largely a technical one due to the odd sizing of one of the lots. The Mayor commended the Ruloff's for the care and foresight taken in the infrastructure provided for the 3 lot subdivision. He felt it was a standard by which future subdivisions should be measured.
Staff Reports were up next. CAO, Hendrik Slegtenhorst, presented documents demonstrating the amount of workload being carried by the CAO and staff, at this time. Both Councillor Frinton and the Mayor commented that the workload being carried was huge and the quality of reporting has set a higher standard for the Municipality.
Councillor Poole requested through a motion that the CRC Development Permit be brought forward to a public hearing. Councillor Morse stated she would be more compfortable if the DP was brought forward as a information item to the public.
Council direct the Advisory Planning Commission (AKA APC), to review the OCP policy pertaining to the "village periphery" and give options including use, form & character, as well as environmental constraints (among others). The Mayor went onto explain the reasoning behind this was to include the matter of areas around The Cove, such as the area known as "Parkview Slopes" above Chris Leigh's garage to properly roll it's use into the OCP document.
Councillor Morse mentioned that December 5th will be the 10th Anniversary of the first Municipal Council on Bowen suggested a celebration be held in commemoration of the day. Councillor Morse was to look into securing a space for the occasion.
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