Happy Spring, Everyone!
After what seems to have been a long, cold start in the new year, we hope that you’re all beginning to enjoy the seasonally warmer double-digit daytime temperatures. Things have been far from “cold” with regard to activities of your OPSRRA Board…
2019 Annual General Meeting (AGM)
As you’re (hopefully) already aware, our AGM will be taking place on Sunday, April 14 from 1:30 – 3:30 pm at the CRD JdF Services Building, 3-7450 Butler Road in Otter Point. This year, given the impact we had with severe winter storm conditions, we will be hosting a special panel including representatives from the Juan de Fuca Emergency Program (Jeri Grant) and the Otter Point Fire Department (John McCrea) to discuss emergency services and a special update on the region from our Director Mike Hicks.
We are also looking for members to fill upcoming vacancies on our board of directors at the AGM and continue the important work we do for our communities. If you’re interested, or would like to submit a nomination, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lastly, OPSRRA needs to continue growing as an organization to effectively serve and add value to its communities. Given that this requires revenue to cover associated operating costs, the following motion was passed at OPSRRA’s February board meeting:
That OPSRRA reformulate its membership structure from the current $10 for lifetime (associate or regular) membership to $10 for a five-year membership, to be implemented on the anniversary date for each of its members.
This motion will be presented for ratification by OPSRRA membership at the AGM.
Hope to see you all there!
Volunteers Still Needed for Community Notice Board & Welcome Sign Maintenance
We’re still looking for volunteers to help repair and maintain notice boards in our three communities, in addition to the four large existing “Welcome” signs in Otter Point and Shirley this spring.
Zoning Bylaw 2040 and Tourist Accommodation
For any of you who have been reading our blog posts, you may be aware that OPSRRA sent a letter to our CRD Director re: a new zoning bylaw to replace the long-outdated Bylaw 2040 that will provide up-to-date language and definitions as well as regulations for short-term or vacation rentals. This is a perennial problem in BC, as well as in our communities, where the landowner is not on-site, introducing a host of problems ranging from safety and disturbances to environmental impacts (e.g., inadequate septic systems or an excessive drain on limited water) to effects on property values.
OPSRRA believes that our residents should be able to supplement their income by home-sharing, operating a bed and breakfast or other home-based businesses, including properly regulated vacation rental use as permitted by zoning. It is also important for ensuring housing availability in our communities through rental stock.
The current bylaw (2040), however, does not include, define or provide regulation for vacation or short-term rentals, nor does it determine length of stay for rentals in most instances. The only defined use for tourist accommodation, other than in a commercial zone, is Bed & Breakfast, which no longer represents a majority of the short-term rentals in the region. Those who have a bonafide commercial zoning and operate a commercial establishment pay increased property taxes accordingly, have increased insurance and other requirements and need to declare business income, creating an unfair business climate. Unfortunately, our regional director has indicated that he has no plans to amend the existing bylaw or create a new one. OPSRRA still maintains that it’s important we have clearly-worded language, definitions, and regulations that will protect everyone in our communities. We will continue to educate and advocate, but also urge you, our members, to express your concerns on this issue to the CRD.
Clark Road Soil Deposition – Update
Concerns were raised at the Juan de Fuca Land Use Committee December meeting and subsequent visits to the site were made by the Chair and the Manager, Local Area Planning. As a result, Granite Resources has revised their original request of depositing up to 20,000 m3 to 14,000 cubic metres (m3) of soil on the subject property for the purposes of road construction and landscaping for its proposed residential subdivision.
This has been accompanied by a series of terms and conditions relating to timing, traffic, soil testing, monitoring and reporting, and will no longer include creek restoration.
Sooke Farmland Trust
As part of OPSRRA’s mandate in supporting sustainable development in our communities, we have written a letter of support to the Chair of the CRD Planning and Protective Services Committee for the creation of a CRD, local government and possibly First Nations – supported Food and Farmland Trust in the Sooke Region, including the possibility of acquiring ownership of historic Woodside Farm (BC’s oldest farm). Food security, particularly in the face of climate change, affects all of our communities on southern Vancouver Island. Establishing a long-term funding model for this will be important, along with the Trust’s plans to help provide education and food security in our communities for generations to come.
Jordan River (JR) and ditiida Welcome Signage
We’ve used the winter to prep the wood for the new wooden sign faces, and with the advice of Murray Tompkins and his expertise, we’re ready to move to the next steps. As noted previously, we hope to have these signs set in place later this spring to support the continued efforts of Jordan River residents and the Pacheedaht First Nation and welcome everyone to this vibrant and culturally-rich community.
OPSRRA has received complaints regarding small, very noisy planes flying low over the Otter Point, Sheringham and French Beach areas; possibly a non-local flight school doing pilot training or other entity in our area with concerns over increasing traffic as summer approaches.
Doug Harvey, who lives near Muir Creek in Otter Point has been in contact with the flying schools and the Airport Authority as the planes have been flying very low over his property. Doug has also found out that they have to fly above 1000 ft and are not supposed to practice over built up areas. If you’re also being affected by this and wish to voice your concerns, please contact Doug at 778 365 0242 or email him at email@example.com.
For anyone interested in tracking the aircraft that are flying around here, the following link can be used to track flights: https://www.flightradar24.com/multiview/48.6,-124.05/10
Happy gardening, everyone, and see you at
OPSRRA’s AGM on Sunday April 14 at 1:30 PM!!!