LUB update September 12, 2018

Below is a short (?) update of what happened at the Community Information Meeting(CIM) held last Sunday, September 9th.

 

Never mind the very windy an rainy day, 26 Mudge Islanders showed up for the scheduled meeting.  Thanks to the MICS folks and a number of volunteers, tents were set up and chairs provided that allowed people some level dryness, despite the weather.  Special thanks to Mark Woolley who provided us with a portable microphone and speaker setup that allowed speakers to be heard, particularly as the rain pounded on the tents.

 

Islands trust staff provided a presentation on Proposed Bylaw 299, then proceeded to take questions and comments from our community.  Several questions were raised about not only the specifics of the Bylaw, but the process moving forward.  Sadly, a lot of us were hopeful that the Bylaw would receive 2nd and 3rd readings at the Local Trust Committee Meeting (LTC), schedule for September 27th.   This is not going to happen as the proposed Bylaw needed to be sent to 5 different agencies for comment.  These agencies, such as First Nations, MOTI, Forestry etc, are given 45 days to comment.  I think it is possible to have 2nd reading at the LTC meeting on the 27th.   There may also be a need for an additional CIM between 2nd and 3rd readings, though it sounds as if there may be an easier and quicker process.  We will have to wait to hear more about that.

 

Never mind what has happened in the past during this process, we ALL still have a role to play moving forward.  The General Election Day for new Trustees is October 20, 2018.  So far there are three people running for the two Trustee positions.  There may be more as Friday September 14th is the last day for nominations.  Of the three candidates so far, two have reached out to us to discuss our concerns.  These two have been very knowledgable about our LUB saga, having attended past LTC meetings and reviewing our letters posted on the Islands Trust website.  This is great news for us as a community.  Every single property owner on Mudge has a vote, whether you reside here full time or not.  Mudge and DeCourcey Islands are given a special voting privilege owing to being designated as “remote from voting places”.  We can send in mail ballots, which is great for the vast majority of you who do not reside on Mudge year round.

 

I have copied a link to the RDN election site where you will see an application for a mail ballot.  You need to print this off, fill it it, sign, date then send to the RDN.  You can return either by regular mail, email, or drop the application off if you live in Nanaimo.

 

https://www.rdn.bc.ca/2018elections-mail-ballot-voting

 

In addition to registering to vote, and actually voting, we are working to have an all candidates meeting on Mudge.  This was done for the last election with great results.  I am trying to figure out the exact process of arranging this meeting, along with the when and where.  Once we get it sorted out we will let everyone know.

 

Two things became abundantly clear to us as we worked our way through the Lot Coverage process.  The first, in our opinion, is that the Islands Trust didn’t try hard enough to fully engage our community.  The second is that neither did we as a community get engaged in the process.  Our normal and preferred stance of being left alone has resulted in a very restrictive Land Use Bylaw.  We have a great opportunity to actually make a difference in the upcoming elections.  My understanding of the last election results is that the Trustees elected (Melanie Mamoser and Heather O’Sullivan) won with roughly 1100 and 1000 votes respectively.   We truly have enough votes, if exercised, to make a real difference in this election.  Let’s, as a community, work to elect Trustees that will continue the work of Heather and Melanie.

 

It is an old adage, but very true, “the world is run by those who show up”.

 

I think maybe it is time for our voice to be heard.

 

As always, if anyone has questions of comments, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

 

Doug MacDonald

 

Campfire Ban to be lifted

Although the media release has not yet shown up, I have received word from the BCWS that the campfire ban will be lifted today at noon.this means campfires only, and I have attached the definition of a campfire in this message. You may see me out over the next day or two taking the signs down. Thanks, Chad
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/public-safety-and-emergency-services/wildfire-status/fire-bans-and-restrictions/bcws_campfireposter.pdf

Fires/Burning

A reminder to everyone that burning is still prohibited. You can still run your wood stove inside your house, but backyard burning, campfires etc. are still prohibited. Just putting it out there as I’ve had a few inquiries. Thanks, Chad

Fire Hazard Status Update

> Hi there everyone. As we have had a recent rain, we are now into early shift. This means a 1pm shutdown for high risk activities, followed by a 2 hour fire watch. I expect if the weather continues, that we will soon go into regular shift. All that said, I was just talking to my supervisor at the Forest Service, and he tells me that there has been fires already started today, some of which have started from chainsaw use. So they really want to emphasize that everyone continue to be very careful. Especially if using things like chainsaws under the canopy of a tree and such, as we have not had much rain and the ground is still quite dry. > Reminder that we are still on a total fire ban. > With more rain in the forecast, things are looking good, but we’re not out of the woods yet. Thanks, Chad >

Community information meeting Sept 9 2018 1pm

Coastal Fire Centre Wildfire News Issue 9

Attached is Issue 9 of the Wildfire News. This issue focuses on the fire weather forecast and lightning.

 

 

Have a safe, great Labour Day weekend,

 

Coastal Fire Centre Information Team

For sale 20 foot aluminum walkway

For all the info please follow the link. wp.me/P6D5TG-H6

 

 

 

MICS AGM 2018

Hello All,

               MICS would like to remind it’s members that our AGM this year will be on Saturday September 1st, 10 AM at the MICS property located at the top of Lovers Loop. It’s a busy weekend for AGM’s on the island but we hope you will be able to join us. 

Hope to see you there!,

Scott Flemming and the Board of MICS

     Thank You.  M.I.C.S find us on the web www.mudge.ca/mics


Land use bylaw (LUB) Update

Greetings to all. Mudge Islanders,

 

This quick note will try and provide an update on our on-going land use bylaw (LUB) saga.  Yesterday eight Mudge Islanders attended the Gabriola Local Trust Committee (LTC) meeting on Gabriola Island.  As advised in an earlier note, the Islands Trust Planning Staff had prepared draft bylaws that would amend both our LUB and Official Community Plan (OCP).

 

Like most of you who read the document, I was astounded at how far from our original LUB objective this paper seemed to take us.  Please recall that all we asked for was a simple change to our LUB to increase our maximum lot coverage from 10%, and redefine what a “Structure” was.  A simple analysis of the August 16 Staff Report showed that if adopted, we would be mired in more bureaucratic regulations than we already are.  This, the opposite to the preferred manner in which we both like, and are proud to live by.  Our mission yesterday was to stop any plan to initiate an action that required opening up our OCP for amendment.  That process is time consuming, costly and in many respects, contrary to your wishes. 

 

We went to the meeting with two objectives.  The first to request that our Local Trustees reject draft Bylaw 301 out of hand as being unnecessary, and second, to have them give first reading to LUB Draft bylaw 302.  This was the amendment that provided a tiered system of maximum lot coverage.  We wanted the first reading done yesterday as we were made aware earlier this week that neither of our Trustees, Melanie Mamoser and Heather O’Sullivan are seeking re-election this fall.  This is horrible news to Mudge Islanders as Heather and Melanie have been ardent champions for Mudge Island initiatives.  We felt that if the process was delayed past the election, we would be compelled to start again.

 

We spoke at the meeting about what, and how we felt things should progress, stating our goals to all in attendance.  We knew it was more than a long shot that we would be successful.  Elected officials must rely on the professional advice of their Staff, no matter how much we may disagree.  There was a closed “in camera” session at yesterdays meeting where we learned that a legal opinion was presented regarding the Mudge Island OCP/LUB amendments.  Once back in session, it became pretty apparent to us that our Trustees were troubled by the legal advice.  While not privy to what was actually advised, the gist was that the Trustees could not simply reject one draft bylaw and accept the other.  They, by necessity, went together.  Moreover, we were advised that even if the Trustees did as we asked, the chance of having the Bylaw approved by the Islands Trust and other legislative agencies was nil.

 

Sounds really bad so far, however Melanie and Heather came up with an alternative suggestion to relook at the draft Bylaw 299. That was the Bylaw we discussed at our community meeting on Mudge last month.  They asked advice from the Planners if this was appropriate, and whether they could make some small amendments to that document.  Planning Staff advised that this action was appropriate, and when asked if these proposed changes would require an OCP amendment, they advised that they wouldn’t.   While not great news, I admit to feeling more confident that we were again moving in the right direction.

 

The amendments adopted were (in this I am relying on memory alone so may not have the exact wording correct) to remove the limit on pervious driveways (740 square feet) to simply reflect that pervious driveways, walkways and parking spaces were excluded in the calculation of structures;  increasing the size of a wood shed to 150 square feet; and adding another building not to exceed 150 square feet for home agriculture and or food production.  Again, these are simply from my notes and may not be exactly the same as what was adopted.  Things were happening pretty fast at that point.

 

Draft bylaw 299 was amended to include these amendments, and received first reading.  A motion was made to hold a Community Information Meeting (CIM) on Mudge Island (not sure date but very soon I hope while the weather is still good.)  This is really good news for us, at least in my opinion.  If the CIM is held soon enough, there is a very real possibility that proposed bylaw 299 could receive second and third readings while Trustees Heather and Melanie are still in office.  At this point I think that must be our goal.

 

So, where are we exactly?  The short answer is that we are a lot further ahead than we were one year ago.  Did we get everything we wanted?  No, but neither did we really expect to.  Will the changes satisfy everyone?  Probably not, nor did we ever expect to meet that objective.

 

Our primary goal at the beginning was to increase maximum lot coverage from the current 10%.  We soon found that the bigger impediment to us was the very narrow definition of structure which reads, “means any construction and human made land alteration fixed to, supported by, or sunk into land or water; for clarity septic fields, septic tanks, absorption fields and related appurtenances, concrete and asphalt paving or similar surfacing of the land, and retaining structures are considered structures.”   Adoption of Proposed bylaw 299 would fix that huge problem.

 

Frankly, this has been a very long and at times a very frustrating journey to get where we find ourselves today.  I am hopeful that we are finally near to completion.

 

Once we hear the date for the meeting, be assured that we will contact you and let you know the where and when.

 

Respectfully

 

Doug MacDonald

 

Coastal Fire Centre Wildfire News Issue 8

Attached is Issue 8 of Coastal Fire Centre’s Wildfire News.

 

As always, please let us know if you’d like to be removed from the Coastal Fire Centre’s distribution list or know of someone who would like to be added.

 

Have a good weekend,

 

Coastal Fire Centre Information Team