July 8, 2018
Good Afternoon Mudge Island neighbours,
This memo is a follow up to the short note I sent on July 6, 2018 where I posted a copy of the Draft Bylaw 299, a bylaw to amend Mudge Island Land Use Bylaw 2007. I have been asked by a number of you if I could provide thoughts on this draft bylaw, given my involvement from the beginning of this process.
As stated in the memo of July 6, I admit to being profoundly disappointed with the draft in its current form. I recognize that this is simply a draft as recommended by the Planners, and that the Trustees have the discretion to either accept, modify or rejectanything or everything as presented. Saying that, I truly felt that we were a lot closer to finding a mutually agreeable solution to our maximum lot coverage, than has been presented to the Trustees, and us.
From the onset of this initiative, it was apparent to all of us that two specific actions were needed to bring our bylaws into more real, and livable realities. The first was to increase the maximum lot coverage for the lots under one acre in size to 20%. The second was to redefine what constituted a “Structure” with specific exceptions being identified. This was the work that a tremendous number of you partook in.
The planners have looked at only one piece of these needed changes. In short, it is recommended by the Planners that the maximum lot coverage be held to 10%. As a reminder, to the best of my knowledge, there is no other Islands Trust Local Trust Area that is held to this 10% for the small RR lots. The norm for small Rural Residential (RR) is 20%, with significant exceptions to what is actually factored into the maximum coverage calculations. It is not my plan to rehash all previous arguments in this memo. That is something we can all do at the public meetings. However, let us all be reminded that Gabriola Island has a RR density of 20% and use that as a starting point.
The draft does in fact correct a lot of errors or omissions made at the time Mudge Land Use Bylaw (LUB) 2007 was adopted. For ease I have listed these changes below as they appear in the draft bylaw, with comments as needed. A few of theses changes were in fact recommended by the Mudge Island APC.
3. PART 5. ZONE PROVISIONS, Section 5.1 Rural Residential (RR), is amended by adding the
following as Subsection 5.1(4.1):
(4.1) For the purpose of Subsection 5.1(4) above, the following buildings and
structures shall not be included when calculating lot coverage:
Like the vast majority of you, I am convinced that we need to increase our maximum lot density to a more realistic 20%. The Planners suggest that increasing lot coverage would run afoul of our Mudge Island Official Community Plan (OCP). I disagree strongly and entirely with this assertion on their part. Our OCP was adopted in 2008 after public consultation with all of us. We were the ones who identified what type of community we wished to live in. We did so already living in the homes and on property we still own. We can not offend an OCP today, when it was arrived at using the same guiding values we all share this same day. Peace, harmony, respect for nature, respect for our environment, and respect for each other. These values have remained constant; they have been reinforced with the addition of many new people into our community.
Living a quiet rural residential life should not be mistaken as a rejection of livable comfortable homes. There was a time, well before any thought of an Islands Trust, or an OCP that the norm was off grid, small cabins with outdoor toilet facilities. Not so much any more. The ship has sailed; the horse has run; the tide has changed, and the homes are built. It is time for the Islands Trust to understand and respect that none of us was responsible for subdividing Mudge Island into these small lots. It is pointless to engage in debate about what should have been done in the past. It is my opinion that artificially creating road blocks to hinder or deny reasonable, livable development does nothing more than perpetuate the already hard feelings some Islanders have towards the Islands Trust structure.
My final thoughts and encouragements are that these bylaws, as presented, are simply Staff recommendations made to our Local Trust Committee. While they certainly carry the weight of professional service, we do have a voice in this discussion. It is a voice that must be exercised. Our Trustees, Melanie Mamoser,Heather O’Sullivan and LTC Chair Laura Busheikin have heard your voices. It is my opinion, they have done so respectfully, and when needed, stood with us. We need them to hear your concerns, but they need to hear them presented in a respectful manner. Frankly, I am not the best person to give such advice as I too get frustrated with the process and feel the need to vent occasionally. However, as long as we appear to be moving forward, let us all be respectful of the process, no matter how frustrated and agitated we may feel.
As a reminder, the meeting is this Thursday morning, July 12th at 10:30 am at the public access on Driftwood Drive. This is our time to listen to others, and likewise be heard.
I hope we can see as many of you as possible