Otter Point & Shirley Residents & Ratepayers Association
Held on Tuesday, October 21, 2003
At the Otter Point Fire Hall, 3727 Otter Point Road at 7:30 p.m.
Present: Ken Pungente (President), Arnie Campbell (Vice President),
Wendy Miller (Secretary/Treasurer), Virginia Boyd, Francis Stocks,
Mitch Moneo, Byron Tweedy
Absent: Wendy Morton
Public: Approximately 25
The President called the meeting to order at 7:35 and began by introducing the executive.
1. Review of OPSRRA Activities Since Last AGM
A list advising of OPSRAA activities since the February annual general meeting was distributed for membership review.
1) Five Executive meetings.
2) Monthly newsletter published on OPSRRA web site.
3) Attended meeting on proposed pesticide spraying in Shirley/Jordan River.
4) Corresponded with CRD, MLA and Regional Director to have the voters list updated.
5) Corresponded with BC Transit requesting restoration of local bus link to Sooke.
6) Corresponded with District of Sooke concerning support for sewers but opposition to sewage outfall.
7) Attended meeting on lot averaging proposal (Sheringham Estates) in Shirley.
8) Corresponded with SD #62 to register opposition to school bus levy.
9) Corresponded with BC Timber Sales regarding proposal to log crown land in Kemp Lake Watershed.
10) Kept in touch with the CRD planner responsible for the Regional Growth Strategy.
11) Opposed Regional Director’s plan to develop a separate Official Community Plan for Shirley, thereby excluding Jordan River.
12) Lobbied the Regional Director to move forward on identifying urban containment boundaries.
13) Corresponded with CRD Noise Bylaw to clarify compliance of Forest Lumber Company’s proposed saw and planner mill with Bylaw No. 1527.
14) Corresponded with Timberwest to clarify their intended reopening of the Otter Point Road dry land log sort 24 hours a day.
15) Met with Timberwest to identify where they intended using pesticide sprays.
16) Kept membership informed on proposed boundary restructure with the District of Sooke.
2. Boundary Restructure Up-Date/Proposed Amalgamation with Sooke
At this time, the Vice President asked the membership to forward any changes of address or contact numbers. E-mail addresses were also requested.
It was advised that a newsletter is in the process of being distributed to all Electoral Area mails boxes. The newsletter is a summary of the consultant’s report as to boundary restructure and amalgamation with Sooke. The newsletter also advises of the following public sessions:
November 5 Otter Point
November 12 Shirley
November 18 East Sooke
The comprehensive report is available at the Shirley and Otter Point fire halls, through the fire trustees, the Kemp Lake Water District, the Sooke municipal website and the Sooke branch library.
It was advised that the comprehensive report is not a complete document and that the document is silent on four concerns.
i. Separate Vote
It is understood that the three rural representatives on the boundary restructure committee lobbied for a rural vote ahead of a Sooke vote and that there be a separate vote for East Sooke, Otter Point, Shirley and Jordan River. Although the results of the vote will be public information, a separate count of votes would prevent one community from pulling another community into amalgamation with Sooke. At this point, the Province has agreed to the first request and has expressed a willingness to review the second request after the November public sessions. Although the rural representatives unanimously support a separate vote, there is not unanimous support on the committee.
ii. Properties Adjacent to the Sooke Municipal Boundary
It is also understood that a few large land parcel owners adjacent to the District of Sooke applied to join the municipality at the time of incorporation. At this time, the Province decided not to consider the applications until the amalgamation process was concluded. In the event that there is no vote or the referendum vote fails, the Province had also advised that it will look favourly upon the applications to join Sooke. Marcus Farmer, the Chair of the boundary restructure committee, has written a letter to the Province requesting confirmation on this earlier offer. It is felt that rural voters should know what the Province will support and not support.
iii. Urban Containment
It was advised that comment would be made under the fourth agenda item.
iv. What Will Happen Next
It is also unclear as to what the Province will do if the process does not go to referendum or if the rural areas vote no. It is understood that the process was driven by rural concerns including governance limitations and land issues. If there is a no vote, it is unclear as to what will happen next. It is understood that the option of incorporating the areas of Otter Point to Port Renfrew was offered in an earlier report by Ben Marr. However, at this time, the Province and the Capital Regional District has advised that this is not an option. Upon enquiry, it was advised that the process was initiated and will be paid by the Province and the CRD.
3. BC Transit – Local Bus Service Update
At this time the President introduced Regional Director Erik Lund and extended a thank you for attending the meeting.
It was advised that there was an article in the Sooke News Mirror advising that OPSRRA has lobbied for expanded bus service to Otter Point and East Sooke. Although residents support the transit system through taxes, no service is extended to these communities. It is understood that BC Transit is in the process of forming a committee and that, in response to a letter from the Regional Director, Director Moneo volunteered to stand on the committee. Upon question, the Regional Director reported that there is no new information on the status of the committee.
4. Urban Containment Boundary/Regional Growth Strategy Bylaw
The President read a letter verbatim from Mark Hornell regarding the Regional Growth Strategy:
The growth strategy includes population and unemployment projections to the year 2026 as well as policy direction on how that projected growth should be accommodated. The main policy direction in the growth strategy is the containment of urban development in areas within or adjacent to existing urban areas in order to reduce pressure in rural communities, the agricultural lands and the environmental sensitive areas. The containment policies are also geared to reducing the financial and environmental cost of expanding infrastructure to serve new development. The urban structure strategy places a strong emphasis on improving access across the region through changes to land use, more compact urban form, development of mixed use centres and more travel choices including transit, cycling and walking.
It was explained that the document recommends keeping outer areas green and keeping density in urban areas. The document is available from the Capital Regional District and on-line.
As mentioned earlier, the Vice President explained that the consultant’s report is silent on urban containment. It was explained the District of Sooke, under the Regional Growth Strategy, has defined its municipal boundary as its urban containment boundary. Under this definition, the District of Sooke can develop any area within its municipal boundary to an urban level. In the event of a yes vote or a no vote, it is unclear if the District’s urban containment boundary is able to expand or will it remain as currently defined.
The Vice President advised that he spoke with Mayor Evans regarding Sooke’s urban containment boundary. The Vice President read verbatim the Mayor’s response:
It is my understanding that through the Regional Growth Strategy Sooke had to define its urban containment boundary which we have done. Even if amalgamation did occur, that boundary would not change. Council of the day would have to make a request to the Province to make the urban containment boundary change and that would be a very difficult and timely process.
To confirm, the Mayor referred the enquiry to the District Administer, Tom Day. In addition to approaching the Province, Tom Day explained other things that would have to happen.
Although the current position of the District is known, it is understood, from further investigations, that there is a process for expanding the municipality’s defined urban containment boundary.
As there is a process for redefining the municipality’s urban containment boundary, it is unclear what would happen to residents living in rural areas wishing to preserve the rural nature of their community.
It was also advised that there is a section in the Regional Growth Strategy that notes that the CRD and member municipalities agree not to extend urban sewer and water services or increase servicing capacity to encourage growth beyond designated official community plan limits at the date of adoption of the Regional Growth Strategy. It is understood that of this past August, every municipality in the Capital Regional District, with the exception of Sooke and the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area, has defined their urban containment boundary and that those municipalities can no longer extend water and sewer services beyond their defined boundaries. Sooke and the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area have received a two year extension and have until August 2005 to define their urban containment boundaries. Although Sooke has already declared its urban containment boundary, the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area does not have a clearly defined urban containment boundary. The 1996 Local Area Plan for Otter Point and Shirley makes no mention of urban containment boundaries. As there is no definition, it is unclear as to how sewer and water service would be affected upon amalgamation or upon the Province approving large parcel applications to join Sooke.
5. Lot Averaging/Official Community Plan
The President advised of a development at the end of Sheringham Point Road. The development consists of one hundred and sixty acres. Current zoning calls for ten acre parcels. Under Provincial statute, the developer has been allowed to proceed with implementing lot averaging. Although zoning calls for ten acre lots, the use of lot averaging has allowed the developer to proceed with fifteen one-acre waterfront lots and one additional lot consisting of approximately one hundred and forty acres. The community’s Local Area Plan does not permit lot averaging. It is understood that the subdivision application has proceeded with very little community input and that the Approving Officer for the Ministry of Transportation is the approving authority.
MOVED BY DIRECTOR MONEO
SECONDED BY BREN KEECH THAT, given the concern of Shirley residents and the fact that lot averaging is stated as not being permitted under the area’s Local Area Plan, that OPSRRA lobby the Provincial government to revisit the appropriate statute.
The President opened the floor for discussion.
As to the one hundred and forty acre parcel, it was advised that the parcel can be subdivided through CRD application. To further clarify, the Regional Director advised that the one hundred and forty acre parcel currently has a covenant that does not permit further subdivision. However, it was advised that a covenant can always be removed.
Although the current Local Area Plan allows for growth, the President reiterated that the plan does not permit lot averaging. Use of lot averaging and approval of Provincial standards, circumvents the planning process and limits input from Shirley residents. From comments expressed at meetings in Shirley, there is great community concern regarding lot sizes and the proposed gated development.
Sandy Barta questioned whether approval of the development would be precedence setting. It is felt that approval would be precedence setting.
The Regional Director suggested lobbying the Electoral Area for its own Approving Officer. Upon question, the Regional Director advised that the current Approving Officer is a representative of the Province.
Upon enquiry, the President confirmed that lot averaging has been used to accommodate fifteen waterfront lots.
Although sufficient water supply must be proven, Director Stocks advised that water is another concern of Shirley residents. There is concern that the development will tap into Sheringham Estates’ existing water system which is limited.
It was confirmed that, if the developer proceeded with ten acre parcels, each ten acre parcel could proceed as a “4 on 10” development.
The President called the question and it was
14 IN FAVOUR, 5 OPPOSED, CARRIED.
MOVED BY MARY ALICE JOHNSON
SECONDED BY DIRECTOR TWEEDY THAT OPSRRA request that the area have its own Approving Officer.
The Regional Director advised that residents currently pay for the Provincial Approving Officer and that there would be no change in taxes. It was also advised that the requested Approving Officer would be an employee of the CRD rather than the Provincial government.
The President called the question and it was
20 IN FAVOUR, 1 OPPOSED, CARRIED.
6. OPSRRA Web Site – New Additions: Business Listing Service; Parks & Trails
The Vice President introduced Sandy Barta and advised that that Sandy has been volunteering with the technical aspects of the website. The Vice President provided the website address (firstname.lastname@example.org) and advised that, in addition to website posting, the OPSRRA’s monthly newsletter is available via e-mail.
It was advised that the website also includes a business listing service as a means of promoting local small business. Registration forms are available for interested parties. Complimentary listings are available to members; non-members can be listed for a suitable donation. Links are also available for businesses with websites.
It was also reported that OPSRRA is working toward posting parks in the Otter Point and Shirley area on the website. In addition to parks, highway right of ways to water accesses will also be posted.
George Miller advised that Shirley has a business catalogue and that this catalogue should extend to Otter Point.
7. Timberwest’s Proposed “Pesticide” Spraying Plan for 2004
The Vice President reported on the map provided by Timberwest. In August the Ministry of Water, Land and Air posted notice advising that Timberwest had submitted a pesticide management permit application for TFL 46.
The approving officer, Conrad Berube, for pesticide management permit applications advised that two other applications have already been approved for the Shirley and Otter Point. The first application is above Otter Point Place and Randy Place. Assessment of the property will be performed in November. If work is deemed necessary by Timberwest, work is expected to take place in the spring of 2004. The second application is up Anderson Road across from Malahat Farm. Typically, the chemicals Round Up and Vision have been used to eliminate such pests as salmon berry, broom and salal. It is understood that use of such chemicals is a concern for residents with wells and live stock within the spray application zone.
Concern was also raised as to the affect pesticide spraying would have on wildlife and further encroachment.
Upon enquiry, it was advised that the pesticides are used to eliminate any competition that may discourage the growth of fir. It was advised that there a numerous means to apply the chemicals. As to aerial spraying, it was reported that aerial spraying is normally done when the weather is good. Good weather leads to evaporation which then results in greater pesticide travel. As logging is a community employer, support for a more environmentally friendly application was put forth as an alternative.
Youth employment training was suggested as another alternative.
A comment was raised advising that such flora as salmon berry and alder can improve the soil for fir growth and that alder can be harvested for fuel.
8. Timberwest’s Proposed Logging on Poirier Lake
It was relayed that a notification of harvesting operations has been forwarded by Timberwest. Timberwest is planning to log a parcel behind Poirier Lake. Logging is expected to start by the end of October and be completed by mid November. It is understood a number a residents rely on the lake as their primary water supply and that it is unclear if the topography of the land will affect the water source. It is also unclear if there will be any public meetings.
In regards to the subdivision development adjacent to the lake, Bren Keech expressed concern regarding encroachment, water supply, damage and repair to Otter Point Road and salmon habitat. In addition to the subdivision, it was advised that logging will take place in the south east corner of the lake and continue to the log sort. It was also advised that trees will be felled within ten meters of the lake although residents can only reside within thirty meters. Habitat on and in the lake includes owls, herons, fresh water clams and salmon fry. It was also advised that the ridge surrounding Poirier Lake falls within the Kemp Lake water board. It is felt that protection of Poirier Lake will also protect the integrity of Kemp Lake watershed. Upon enquiry, Bren Keech advised that, if Timberwest is going to log in the community, jobs should be offered to local residents.
The President solicited the membership for comment regarding forwarding a letter to the Regional Director and Timberwest requesting a greater set back due to the sensitivity of the lake.
Heather Phillips expressed support for the proposed letter and, in addition, suggested requesting that any logging take place within five meters of the surrounding property lines.
George Miller advised that the Sooke land use bylaw states that there is a reservation of thirty meters for De Mamiel Creek and surrounding creek systems. As a source of De Mamiel Creek, it is felt that the reservation should also apply to Poirier Lake.
Henne De Gruijter suggested that Timberwest be lobbied to support a land exchange.
As to salmon, David Stocks received resident confirmation that Poirier Lake feeds to DeMamiel Creek which in turn feeds to Sooke River. David Stocks repeated concern for Kemp Lake.
A resident requested clarification from the MLA.
Another resident asked if support could be obtained from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
The President advised that a request could be submitted for a public meeting.
Ken Douch asked if there is vulnerability due to the lack of a proper community plan and, presumably, if there was a proper community plan, that such a logging proposal in an environmentally sensitive area would not be allowed. The President replied by advising that the property in question is private land. Ken Douch asked for review of the community plan to determine if the plan has any control over such a proposal.
Regional Director Lund advised that a new provincial water act has been recently passed. If there is a water license, the new act stipulates that the water license takes precedence over everything including fish.
MOVED BY BREN KEECH
SECONDED BY ROSEMARY JORYA THAT the Otter Point and Shirley Residents and Rate Payers Association write a letter to Regional Director Erik Lund to make an enquiry as to the new water right act and its affect on Poirier Lake.
The President called the question and it was CARRIED UNAMIOUSLY
9. Other Business
As to the Official Community Plan, the President advised that there is currently a Local Area Plan. Prior to incorporation, the Local Area Plans for Otter Point, Shirley and East Sooke were addendums to the Sooke Official Community Plan. The Local Area Plans will be revisited to produce Official Community Plans. The plans have to be completed by 2005.
The Regional Director advised that funding for an additional planner is needed to complete the community plans required for the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area. An additional planner is expected to cost $25,000. It is hoped that planning revenue will offset the cost of the additional planner. The Willis Point community plan is complete and the Port Renfrew community plan is nearing completion.
The President advised the review committees consist of local volunteers and that names are still required for Otter Point’s review committee.
In regards to large property applications to join Sooke, Director Tweedy advised that it is his understanding that watershed control can only extend to a single jurisdiction.
The President introduced the representatives for De Mamiel Estates Ltd. and owners of 2901 Otter Point Road, Laurie McBride and Wally Vowels. It is understood that the development is planned for the property. It was advised that the owners are seeking community input and that there will additional public meetings. The Vice President questioned the application’s use of density averaging. In response, it was advised that although the Local Area Plan offers a statement that opposes density averaging, the application requests use of density averaging in situations where the land dictates.
The President closed by welcoming Henne and Jacque De Gruijter and Rosemary and Sid Jorya as new members.
On a regular motion, the meeting adjourned at 9:25 p.m.