May RDN Director update - June 12 2019 Sounder

I attended the grade 7 climate change action strike and heard their anger and worry about climate change. As Mia, in her powerful speech, said - we need to get away from the “vicious cycle of more”. A timely reminder of just what’s at stake.

The Drinking Water and Watershed Protection (DWWP) Action Plan committee, which includes Islands Trust freshwater specialist Will Shuba, had its first structured decision-making workshop where we prioritized focal areas. Next week we’ll meet to identify and prioritize specific actions.

An ongoing concern of Fire Chief Rick Jackson is how to dispose of land-clearing debris to minimize fire risk. When a site is cleared, provincial and RDN regulations govern if/when to burn debris, prohibit moving debris between properties for burning, and control waste management. Alternatives to burning such as piling or burying debris create fire risk or land instability. Rick and I were joined by Larry Gardner, RDN Manager of Solid Waste; Luc Lachance, Ministry of Environment Section Head for Solid Waste; Doug Gardiner, RDN Fire Services Coordinator; and Dion Klassen, RDNBylaw enforcement representative. We toured example properties identified by Chief Jackson, and came to a better understanding of potential solutions. See pic of some of the group at a stop on our site visits below.

Islands Trustees Scott Colbourne and Kees Langereis and I met with Stefan Yancey, Operations Manager for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) for a discussion/tour. Topics included road condition/potholes, intersection safety at Barrett and North Road, the Village Way Path and issues of pedestrian and cyclist safety, potential ferry lineup signage at Ivory Way, the issue of parking at El Verano, public accesses on Mudge, and the issue of developing secondary accesses to isolated neighbourhoods for use in an emergency. I am confident that MOTI understands our issues and is interested in working with us to address them. The RDN Board will also meet with MOTI representatives later in June where I will follow up.

I attended the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference in Quebec City, where over 2100 representatives from municipalities across Canada met to discuss issues of common interest. It’s clear that many of the issues here, including housing, reducing plastic use, concern about climate change, and the issue of funding for municipalities from the federal/provincial governments, is of concern across Canada. We passed several resolutions calling on the FCM Board to advocate at the federal level on a variety of issues. I attended several excellent workshops and have a list of ideas to follow up.

Board Updates:
• The Board approved our 2019-2022 Strategic Plan which identifies 8 focus areas: climate change, environmental stewardship, housing, growth management, transportation and transit, economic coordination, people and partnerships, and social well-being. You can find it and other long-term planning documents at
• The RDN Board approved a pilot project to live-stream meetings, so you’ll be able to watch RDN Board meetings online. I’ll let you know when we’re going live online!
• The Board agreed to explore the idea of Development Cost Charges to fund parks acquisition and infrastructure expansion. The Sounder had a good overview of the issue last week.…/rdn-considering-development-co… 
• June 11th starting 1:30 pm at the RDN Building: Electoral Area Services Committee and Committee of the Whole meetings
• June 17th starting 6 pm at the GAC Building: Parks and Open Spaces Advisory Committee meeting 
• June 18th starting 6 pm at the RDN Building: Public Hearing for Bylaw 500.426
• June 25th starting 7 pm at the RDN Building: Board meeting
If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact me at

For RDN meetings you can find agendas for upcoming meetings and see Minutes from past ones here:

April RDN Director update

Did you miss my April update in the Sounder? Here it is:

Thank you to all our amazing volunteers on Gabriola, Mudge, and DeCourcy! At the RDN volunteer thank you luncheon our Chair, Ian Thorpe, said – the RDN could not do what we do, without you! From emergency services, stream stewards, parks and trails groups, advisory groups and others, the RDN counts over 1000 people as volunteers.

RDN staff member Melissa and I participated in the Gabriola Volunteer Fire Department’s Open House. Melissa gave a presentation on emergency preparedness and had pamphlets and booklets. Representatives from Emergency Support Services, Pets and Livestock Services, and Emergency Communications groups were also present. Thanks to everyone who came by.

At the Commons I chatted with a group gathered for a 2-day Community Bus Forum organized by the GERTIE team. This Forum drew in-person and online participants from various locations around the coast. Congratulations for such a successful event!

Julie Sperber, our Community Economic Development (CED) Officer provided updates at the monthly Economic Development Advisory Group (EDAG) meeting. She is fostering a collaborative network on our islands, and is actively supporting both new and established businesses. Exciting things are happening! For more information check out the CED tab on the Chamber website.

The four days I spent at the Association of Vancouver Island Coastal Communities (AVICC) conference were full of invigorating discussions. Happy to see MLA Sheila Malcolmson there as well! I was honoured to be elected to the Executive as the Electoral Area Director representative. Delegates debated and voted on over 50 Motions of common interest to our coastal communities. Motions that received support will be discussed at the Union of BC Municipalities conference in the fall, with the goal of elevating the issues to a provincial discussion. If you’d like to know more about AVICC, see

The inaugural meeting between the Drinking Water and Watershed Protection (DWWP) Action Plan Steering Committee and the RDN’s Technical Advisory Committee began the process of updating the Action Plan. I was happy to see Trustee Scott Colbourne in the audience. We’re still gathering your input on drinking water and watershed protection through an online survey until May 27th. Take the survey and be entered to win a rain barrel!

The comments received on the draft Strategic Plan will be considered as the plan is revised. The eight focal areas of the plan are: climate change, environmental stewardship, housing, growth management, transportation and transit, economic coordination, people and partnerships, and social well-being.


·  At the end of May I will be meeting MOTI personnel on Gabriola to discuss issues of concern. Feel free to email me info/pictures of problem areas.
·  I will be holding drop-in office hours between 2-4 pm at the Islands Trust office on May 6th and May 27th
· May 14th  1:30~5 pm at the RDN Building: Electoral Area Services committee and Committee of the Whole
·  May 23rd  7 pm at the RDN building: Board meeting

If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact me at

We want to hear from you about water!

We want to hear from you about water!

We are all connected by water – it hydrates us, offers enjoyment and beauty, provides habitat. It is important for culture and recreation. Water allows us to run our businesses, to raise families, and to grow our food. Yet, water faces challenges, including a changing climate and increased pressures on land and water.

Since 2009, through the Drinking Water & Watershed Protection (DWWP) program, the RDN has delivered Education, Science, and Planning initiatives to our communities that benefit the long-term sustainability of
our region.

Now it’s time to re-energize the regional DWWP Action Plan for the next decade… and beyond!

Are you interested in the future of drinking water and watershed protection in our region? We want to hear from you! Completed surveys will be entered to win a rain barrel!

Get Involved at for survey details and register to stay up to date on this project.

GVFD Open House

The Gabriola Volunteer Fire Department Open House on Saturday April 6 was fun - and because we were inside, we were warm and cozy! Lots of fun activities for the kids who got to try blasting safety cones off a table with a fire nozzle, climb into a fire truck, and try CPR on a dummy. Emergency Support Services, PALS (animals and livestock) and emergency communications also had tables with information about emergency preparedness, and Melissa from the RDN provided a presentation on emergency preparedness. Thanks for coming out!

March update

We want to hear from you! The RDN Board has launched several public engagement initiatives, most recently our draft Strategic Plan and an update of the Drinking Water and Watershed Protection (DWWP) Action Plan. Additional projects include the Nanaimo Airport planning bylaw update, and a Regional Growth Strategy review, among others. Find links to these and other documents and opportunities to provide input at

The draft Strategic Plan (RDN Talks: Priorities on the above website) identifies 8 focus areas for the Board: climate change, environmental stewardship, housing, growth management, transportation and transit, economic coordination, people and partnerships, and social well-being. Under each focal area we identify several actions – each of which will require several steps. The timelines identified will give us momentum on some very important issues. What do you think of these priorities? Are there actions we’ve missed? Please provide feedback on the page above, or directly to me.

The DWWP Action Plan is undergoing a 10-year refresh. After a review of the plan and associated activities, we’re setting the priorities for the next 10 years. I am pleased to have been appointed to the Steering Committee. The website above links to the documents and a survey about your thoughts on watershed protection – if you answer the survey you have a chance to win a rain barrell! I know islanders are extremely interested in water – I’d love to see great participation by Area B in the survey!

Here are a few additional recent initiatives the Board/staff has undertaken:

  • we continue to discuss the opportunity to develop non-vehicular use in a road right-of-way with MOTI;

  • an asset management review and implementation staff report was brought forward at the March 12th Committee of the Whole meeting (all reports are available on the RDN website). This thorough report allows better management of our built assets, and it’s worth a read. We’ve also discussed the idea of doing a natural assets review (eg parks) as well;

  • the RDN was recently the lead applicant to the CleanBC Communities Fund along with surrounding municipalities. If received, the grant will allow the RDN to build up to 10, level-2 electric vehicle charging stations. I’ve got my hand up for a Gabriola station.

  • review of funding options for regional and community parks initiatives (eg Development Cost Charges) – next step: staff report;

  • review existing bylaws in each electoral area, recommend ways to address gaps, and identify cost-recovery options – next step: staff report;

  • review the cost of webcasting Board/committee meetings – next step: staff report;

Upcoming (all open to the public):

  • April 6th 10-2 pm at the North Fire Hall: Gabriola Volunteer Fire Department Open House – RDN staff and I will be there to promote emergency preparedness

  • April 9th 1:30~5 pm at the RDN Building: Electoral Area Services committee and Committee of the Whole

  • April 23rd 7~11 pm at the RDN building: Board meeting

If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact me at

Skatepark fundraising

I was privileged to be invited to attend a ceremony today where Ride Free representatives Gaye Smith and Gray Switzer donated funds raised with the goal of building a skatepark on Gabriola, to the Keep on Pushin’ fundraising group. The funds were raised in honour of Gaye Smith’s son Stephen Smith, who was killed in Nanaimo in 2003. The funds have been added to the growing total that the Keep on Pushin’ group has raised so far.

Provisional Budget

Provisional Budget

You might have heard that the provisional budget for the RDN came forward at the December 4 RDN meeting. This provisional budget has been in development since last spring, and is the staff recommendation. The budget will be revised in January and finalized in February. If you’d like to see more information about the budget, post questions to RDN staff about the budget, or answer a survey about how you’d like to provide input into future budget planning processes, you can visit the RDN page

I’ve had questions about the provisional budget, and I include answers to the most common below: