A Year in Review

  • 2018 Annual General Meeting – over 30 members in attendance, hosting guest speakers Jeff McArthur (RCMP policing issues), Ryan Evanoff (Ministry of Transport upgrades to Hwy 14), and Arnie Campbell (presenting a new Interactive History of Otter Point website), in addition to an announcement by Mike Hicks (CRD Director) on major provincial funding of $2-3 million for safety upgrades on Otter Point Road.

  • New Board Appointments – including president (Bill Dushenko), vice-president (Cheryl Wirch-Ryckman), new treasurer (Diane Foster), secretary (Fiona McDannold), membership (Sandy Barta) and director at large (Brenda Mark) following April 2018 AGM.

  • Annual Board Retreat – held on May 13 (2018) to do some new director orientation, development work and planning for the coming year including communications, building community relationships, on-going projects (membership recruitment, fundraising, aquifer groundwater studies, new Jordan River/diitiida signage and Hwy 14 upgrades).

  • Pacheedaht First Nation Celebration in diitiida – OPSRRA President attended festivities on June 21, 2018 (National Aboriginal Day and summer solstice), along with the Ditidaht First Nations, to celebrate the return of diitiida (old Jordan River hamlet) to the Pacheedaht, their ancestral point of origin.

  • Internet Speed in Jordan River (JR) – expected within the next five years (via subsea fibre-optic cable) with the assistance of federal and provincial funding of $45.4 million, and management by Strathcona Regional District and CityWest as part of the Connected Coast project. OPSRRA has reached out to the Project to help ensure our region’s needs are addressed.

  • Membership Drive – OPSRRA hosted a booth at Shirley Day on August 19 with 8 new members (seven full and one business) added to our ranks, and many thanks to Diane Foster for volunteering!</p>

  • New Welcome Signage for Jordan River (diitiida) – funding was requested and received ($3000) from B.C. Hydro and CRD (many thanks!) for designing, developing and erecting new “Welcome to Jordan River – diitiida” wooden signage (similar to Otter Point and Shirley) to acknowledge the community’s continuing vitality and Aboriginal ancestral roots. Signage to be completed and erected by early summer.

  • Funding for Community Notice Boards and Existing Community Welcome Sign Maintainance – funding requested and received ($700) from CRD (many thanks!) to support maintenance and upgrades, along with requests sent out for volunteers to assist in spring 2019.

  • Shirley Adopt-a-Highway and Clean-up Project – OPSRRA expressed support for the establishment of an Adopt-a-Highway Program proposal, along a 14 km stretch of West Coast Road within Shirley limits, being prepared for the Shirley Community Association with the hope that support will come from multiple agencies, in addition to local residents and business.

  • Launch of New (Updated) OPSRRA Website (https://opsrra.ca)– Fall 2018 in celebration of OPSRRA’s 25th anniversary, with more user friendly design for viewing on different devices, improved security settings and more robust business directory to help our community shop local and support our local economy.

  • All Candidates Meeting: September 30, 2018 – hosting of candidates for JdF EA Director and Milne’s Landing School Trustees candidates in advance of October 20 municipal election, as well as introducing nominees for the Land Use Committee and Advisory Planning Council for Otter Point and Shirley/Jordan River. The session was well attended by almost 60 people, along with lots of good questions, and recruitment of several new OPSRRA members.

  • Future CRD Regional Park Acquisitions Visioning Workshop (November 9, 2018) – attended by OPSRRA directors to identify areas of high ecological and social value west of the Sooke River, with the idea of supporting the development of a Land Acquisition Strategy for potential future CRD Regional Parks expansion. The Muir Creek watershed and its protection as parkland from further degradation was particularly stress to the CRD by many of the attendees, including OPSRRA.

  • Soil Deposit Activities on Clarke Road – Soil permit application submitted by Granite Resources to the CRD Land Use Committee (LUC ) in December 2018 to deposit soil (up to 20,000 m3) for the purposes of its proposed residential subdivision and improvements (Section 42), has been revised to 14,000 cubic metres (m3) of soil and will no longer include creek restoration. This was in response to concerns expressed by local OPSRRA residents and CRD site visit. A series of terms and conditions have also been placed on the developer related to timing, traffic, soil testing, monitoring and reporting.

  • Land Use Zoning Bylaw 2040 and Tourist Accommodation – Letter sent to Regional Director, Mike Hicks, on March 13 (2019) requesting amendments to, or a new zoning bylaw altogether, replace long-outdated Bylaw 2040 providing up-to-date language and definitions as well as regulations for short-term or vacation rentals that will protect everyone in our communities, including landowners wishing to rent and their affected neighbours. As the regional director has responded that he has no plans to amend the bylaw, OPSRRA will continue to educate and advocate but also urge members to express concerns to the CRD.

  • Sooke Farmland Trust – Letter of support sent to CRD Planning and Protective Services Committee on March 16 (2019) for the creation of the proposed Food and Farmland Trust in the Sooke Region, and “proposal” to acquire ownership of historic Woodside Farm. OPSRRA also noted that a long-term funding model for this initiative is needed.

  • Low-flying Airplanes – Complaints on small, noisy planes flying low over the Otter Point, Sheringham and French Beach areas. An OPSRRA member (Doug Harvey) has expressed concerns with the airport and island flight training schools, encouraging others to do the same; a link has also been provided on the OPSRRA site to track flights online.

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