Brian Crumblehulme, Advisory Chair for the Economic Development Commission (EDC) for Mayne Island opened a vibrant and well attended meeting and outlined the format for the evening. He spoke to the collaboration of Islands Trust and CRD to advance community interests. He also extended a welcome to David Howe (CRD Director SGI) and introduced Ian Dow, Commissioner for the EDC.
Commissioner Dow stated that there had recently been a meeting of the EDC Commissioners to identify the benefits of consolidating the CRD and community services. It is felt that such consolidation could lower operating budgets and make better use of tax dollars.
The following reports were given on the progress of the EDC initiatives.
Mayne Island Pathways and Trails: Irene Barrett
Objective is to promote development of pathways and trails on the island as there is concern regarding cyclists and walkers as to safety due to narrow roads and shoulder conditions.
Three primary routes were identified: Village Bay/Miners Bay, Miners Bay/Bennett Bay and Miners Bay/Horton Bay.
Primary focus is on the Village Bay/Miners Bay route. This is a pilot project for the islands with funds from CRD, Lions Club and various donors, The expected outcome would provide a pathway allowing people to cycle and walk safely from the ferry terminal and would not only increase tourism and have an economic impact, but would benefit the locals year round.
Fallow Deer: Jeanine Dodds
This ongoing issue is now being addressed by the Ministry of Lands and Forests along with the community with efforts being made to eradicate this invasive species.
A Grant in Aid has been received from the CRD to offset permits and hunters costs.
Lobbying is ongoing to include the Ministry of Agriculture in this long term process.
Food and Agriculture: Heather Dow
Objective is to support local food production and education to ensure islands food security.
Some of the issues identified include:
• Recognition and support of work and efforts of growers/agricultural workers
• Climate/water needs
• Abattoir facilities and cold storage needs
• Small consumer base
More information is available on their web site
Festival Active Pass: Stephen Cropper
This will be held April 17th – 19th on Mayne Island, focusing on exploring nature and the arts. Activities include field excursions, art exhibits, workshops and a food fair.
Community engagement has been very encouraging. Full details can be found on the website www.festivalactivepass.com
Next year the baton will pass to Galiano to direct the festival.
Miners Bay Herring Project: Ian Dow
The area around Miners Bay has Area has been identified as an extensive eel grass district which in turn is a feeding ground for herring.
To encourage the herring to spawn, 330 ft of spawning material has been installed under the dock with the hope of attracting more birds and fish to this area.
Recycling: Ann Johnston
Ann spoke to the difficult and anxious times the island recycling centres have experienced due to the threats of reduced funding.
Through efforts of the CRD Director and lobbying by the recycling groups funding has been guaranteed for the next 4 years through the CRD.
Kitchen Scraps: Bob McKinnon
Mayne Island Improvement District is responsible to ensure garbage collection and management which to date has been handled through a private collector.
As food scraps are no longer allowed in the landfill, MIID is looking at models as to how to handle this issue and will be monitoring the situation.
Broadband: Sig Luft
A priority initiative of the EDC is to get better internet access for all the islands so as to encourage year round business. Broadband would give young families the opportunity to work virtually from the the gulf islands while enjoying a healthy lifestyle for their children.
Work is ongoing with Network BC and Beacon Wireless (Mr. Luft’s company) to improve service.
Application has been made for a Connecting Canadians Grant (supported by the CRD, BC government and Van City) in order to
expand the footprint and improve infrastructure, speed uploading and accelerate growth of coverage, capacity, stability and support staff.
Docks and Transit:
1. Docks: Carl Bunnin
SGI Harbours Commission is responsible for 11 docks throughout the islands. The issues being examined include safety, evacuation, transportation, and inter island access.
Commission has improvements approved for Anson Road dock water lease.
2. Community Bus: Alan Guy/Richard De Armand
An ongoing task is to access grant monies for operation costs. For 2014 costs were $7,500 with 1,500 riders over 1,500 km. Volunteers are desperately needed to help share the driving load which at present is being carried by just three people.
3. Water Taxis and Money: Ian Dow
Transportation between islands is a missing link so water taxis, or some such service is being studied. Because of the expense of water transportation, it is important to identify efficiencies and how to save dollars. One concept would be to integrate services. This is an ongoing discussion.
David Howe: SGI Director, CRD
Dave spoke about the balancing act of managing the gulf islands economic needs with the Islands Trust mandate to “preserve and protect”.
He expressed his appreciation to the Islands Trust Trustees and the increased co-operation between Islands Trust and the CRD.
Brian Crumblehulme thanked the presenters and all attendees.