Otter Point & Shirley Residents & Ratepayers Association
Annual General Meeting
Held on Tuesday, January 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), Virginia Boyd, Wendy Miller, Mitch Moneo, Frances Stocks, Byron Tweedy
Absent: Wendy Morton
Public: Approximately 31
The President called the meeting to order and began by introducing OPSRRA as a fire extinguisher for the community. Government bodies tend not to pay attention to individuals but will pay attention to a block of voters. The President then briefly described what the executive has done since the last annual general meeting.
Regional Growth Strategy
A presentation was made to the CRD regarding the Regional Growth Strategy. The Regional Growth Strategy is in limbo; municipalities are in the process of signing the document. Municipalities that have not signed the document have entered the arbitration process.
Spraying of Pesticide on Private Forest Lands in Jordan River and Shirley
Two public meetings were held in Shirley in response to an application to spray pesticides on private forestlands. Numerous directors were in attendance. The meetings were emotional and the second meeting was adjourned before the all the presenters had an opportunity to complete their presentations.
Proposed Logging in the Kemp Lake Watershed
The Ministry of Forests has reapplied to log in the Kemp Lake watershed. A public meeting was arranged but not advertised and invitations were only sent to individuals who had made previously expressed a concern about logging in the watershed. The issue is ongoing.
OPSRRA organized two information meetings in Shirley and Otter Point to present information on the possible amalgamation with the District of Sooke. Both meetings were very well attended. Since then the boundary restructure committee was struck with representation from both the District of Sooke and the rural areas.
At this time, the President introduced Regional Director Erik Lund. The Regional Director agreed to run the election and field any questions from the floor.
The President advised the membership that he would stand for President, that Arnie Campbell would stand for Vice President and that Wendy Miller would stand for Secretary/Treasurer. With the exception of Lorraine Simrose, all directors have agreed to stand for another term.
It was explained that, in the event that more than one member was nominated for a position, ballots would be distributed and votes collected. At this time, the executive joined the floor and the Regional Director proceeded to call for nominations. By affirmation the following positions were declared:
President: Ken Pungente
Vice President: Arnie Campbell
Secretary Treasurer: Wendy Miller
The following members were nominated for the five director positions:
The Regional Director advised that the vote would have to go to ballot. The nominees briefly introduced themselves. The Regional Director and the Otter Point fire chief, John McCrea, excused themselves from the room to count the ballots.
At this time the Vice President took the floor.
Thanks to the help of two Edward Milne Community School students, there is an OPSRRA website. The website includes the OPSRRA constitution, past minutes, a map of the local area as well as a monthly newsletter. Upon enquiry, it was explained that, at this point in time, e-mail addresses are not being taken. E-mail addresses will be taken once a system is in place. It was also explained that, in addition to a Sooke News Mirror article highlighting the launch of the website, a thank-you letter was sent to the teacher and the two students who assisted with the creation of the website.
The Vice President advised that OPSRRA made a presentation and submitted a letter to Land Use Committee “A” regarding CRD Bylaw 3009 indicating that OPSRRA was not in favour of the elimination of amenity bonusing. Amenity bonusing would have required a developer of the rural lands covered by the bylaw to donate land for parks, etc. (or cash in lieu) in exchange for increased density.
Juan de Fuca Electoral Area & School District #62 Voters’ List
As revealed during the recent election for Regional Director, there is a twenty percent error rate on the JDF Voters’ List. Upon enquiry, the CRD has advised that they do not consider this to be a major concern. OPSRRA will continue to strive to see the list updated.
Upon review of the ballots, Regional Director Lund declared the following positions:
Director: Wendy Morton
Director: Frances Stocks
Director: Byron Tweedy
Director: Mitch Moneo
Director: Virginia Boyd
The President thanked outgoing Director Maurus for his years of service and extended a welcome to Frances Stocks and Virginia Boyd.
MOVED AND SECONDED THAT the ballots be destroyed. CARRIED.
2. Regional Director Lund: Question & Answer Period
At this time Regional Director Lund advised that he would endeavor to answer any questions that the membership may have.
A member questioned if there was any further information on a bus route. Although supportive, the Regional Director did not have any new information to pass on.
Bruce Lemire-Elmore enquired about the rational behind the shrinking of the Boundary Restructure committee. Although it is understood that the consultant had advised that two studies would be performed, it was explained that the District of Sooke struck the initial committee and that the last Regional Director had requested the addition of four electoral members in an attempt to expedite the review process in view of the approaching vote. As the review process has not been as rapid as expected, the four additional positions were removed as requested by the District.
It is felt that the District of Sooke is not pleased with the offer presented by the Province and that the District will most likely continue deliberations with the Province. If the District pursues the process, the committee structure/review process will be reexamined.
A member questioned if the Regional Director had any further information on logging in the Kemp Lake watershed and if there are any parks in the area. The Regional Director advised that he attended the public meeting on the proposed logging and that it is felt that another proposal will follow. In addition to proposed logging, it is understood that there is concern regarding the impact recreational activities are having on the water quality of Kemp Lake.
At this time, the Regional Director advised that a town hall meeting in Otter Point is planned, to solicit the community for its concerns.
In regards to parks, the Regional Director advised that he is unfamiliar with parks in the Otter Point area. As Chair of the Parks Committee (SEAPARC), the President took the floor to advise that there are many parks in the area including Otter Point Park which is just over five acres overlooking the water, Wells O’ Weary Park (Elrose Park) which is a ball field located off West Coast Road as well as a new trail that runs from the new pumping station up to Corby Ridge.
The President advised that the current parks plan is in a review process to reflect the incorporation of the District of Sooke. It is hoped that a Rediscovery Parks program will be implemented as a means of increasing the community’s awareness of these amenities. Currently, the majority of parks are passive as there are no funds available for development. Volunteer work would be welcomed.
3. Restructuring Assistance Grant
As member of the boundary restructuring committee, Bruce Lemire-Elmore took the floor to report on the restructuring assistance grant information forwarded by the Province. The greatest factor in determining the affect on taxes is the forestry lands in the electoral area and the taxes received from these lands. Currently, the CRD collects the forestry land taxes. If amalgamation proceeds, taxes collected from the forestry lands would go to the expanded District. The consultant has divided the area into near west and far west. The question of determining which forestry lands falls under which sub area remains. It is understood that forestry land in Otter Point/Shirley accounts for ninety percent of the forestry revenue and only ten percent comes from Jordan River and Port Renfrew.
It is understood that, if a provincial road terminates inside a municipality, the municipality is responsible for highway maintenance. As it is felt that all areas will eventually incorporate, it is felt that forestry tax revenue should be distributed between all areas to ensure sufficient funding for maintenance of Highway 14.
The Province has offered basic financial assistance of $200 per person. Given this figure, the expanded District would receive a total of $390,000 for amalgamating with Otter Point and Shirley. However, it was noted that this grant would not necessarily go toward services in Otter Point and Shirley.
Bruce Lemire-Elmore closed by advising that the next boundary restructuring committee meeting is scheduled for January 30 at 5:00 p.m. at the municipal hall.
George Miller questioned if the $200 grant is a one-time grant. It was confirmed that the per resident grant is a one-time grant and that half of it is given upon amalgamation and the other half is given one year later.
A member questioned if a second incorporation study could be performed strictly for determining general costs and highway maintenance costs for Otter Point and Shirley. It was advised that a study would be dependent on the Province’s willingness to pay. Although a request for a study could be submitted, the current stance of the Province is against incorporation of smaller areas. As well, the Province is not currently offering the option of incorporation to Otter Point and Shirley. However, pending the results of the referendum this option may be offered.
Bruce Lemire-Elmore affirmed that the Province should be approached regarding incorporation of Otter Point and Shirley simply as a means of hearing the Province’s response. It is felt that OPSRRA should forward this request.
At this time Director Moneo noted revenue from the forestry lands in the electoral area is going to the CRD. It was questioned if this revenue is earmarked for the electoral area community and what it is being used for. The Regional Director advised he does not know where this revenue is going but will investigate. It was also noted that if the expanded municipality chooses to raise forestry land taxes, there might be a tendency to subdivide that land.
At this time, the Vice President noted that the Province is in favour of the forestry lands coming under the jurisdiction of the expanded municipality as an amalgamation incentive and as a means of offsetting the costs of providing services to the newly amalgamated areas. However, if the District chooses not to expand to the Far West, the Province may maintain jurisdiction over the forestry lands. It was advised that this issue would be taken to the next Boundary Restructuring committee meeting for clarification.
At this time a resident noted that her rural tax is $250. In consideration of the condition of electoral area roads and the lack of water and sewer amenities, it was questioned what services the rural tax provides. The President and the Regional Director explained that breakdown information on the rural tax is available from the CRD. Upon enquiry, the President and John McCrea explained that the fire hall upgrade was funded under the regular fire hall budget supplemented by a grant-in-aid provided by the last Regional Director. Bruce Lemire-Elmore advised that he would investigate the rural tax and forward his findings to OPSRRA for inclusion in next month’s newsletter.
As for the affect amalgamation would have on the fire departments, John McCrea advised that meetings have taken place to gather and document the concerns of the fire trustees.
4. Treasurer’s Report
It was reported that OPSRRA is required to submit a financial statement on a yearly basis from October to October. The balance at October 19, 2001 was $581.25. The balance at October 18, 2002 was $ 280.54. Revenue collected is from memberships. Expenditures include advertising OPSRRA meetings and postage.
5. Spraying of Pesticides on Private Forest Lands in Jordan River and Shirley
An application for spraying was submitted by the American company Merrill and Ring. The two spray zones are in the French Beach/Jordan River area. The pests targeted include salmon berry, elderberry, wild cherry and alder. As other methods of pest control are available, OPSRRA is appealing. A public meeting was held in Shirley with representatives from Merrill and Ring, the Province, the Private Forest Landowners Association and an aerial sprayer. The meeting was very emotional resulting in some representatives not being able to speak. The appeal will continue, as there are wells, winter streams and run offs in the area. If the application proceeds, there is some concern that precedence will be set and spraying will be allowed in other areas including Otter Point. OPSRRA has submitted a letter. Letters can be forwarded to the Minister and the Senior Pest Management Officer, Conrad Berube, at the Ministry of Air, Land and Water as well as the MLA and the Regional Director.
6. Proposed Logging in the Kemp Lake Watershed
The public meeting was poorly advertised. Invitations were only sent to individuals who had submitted letters of concern during the first proposal initiative. There is a lot a concern in the area because Kemp Lake acts as a residential water source. It is felt that the amount of trees on the Crown Land in the watershed does not warrant logging. The current government has discontinued the watershed restoration program. Nonetheless, restoration work would be needed. It is felt that it is false economy to log and then restore.
MOVED BY MARNIE WILLIAMS
SECONED BY TOM EBERHART THAT logging discontinue in the Kemp Lake watershed until more information is obtained or until there is more public input.
In response to the motion, it is understood OPSRRA will send a letter requesting a moratorium until more information is obtained and until there are opportunities for public input.
A discussion ensued on the motion.
It was confirmed that the land is Crown Land. Numerous concerns were raised regarding the affect logging could have on the watershed land including if wind factors had been addressed and if water would be potable. As well, it was noted that, although Kemp Lake is declared a watershed, people continue to swim and boat. It is understood that there are farms in the area and some concern was raised regarding the impact of animal waste. It was also noted that there is an active log sort with gravel pit in the watershed. Jack Story noted that Bylaw 2336 designates Kemp Lake as watershed.
The President called the question and it was CARRIED.
On a regular motion, the meeting adjourned at 9:30 p.m.