Fall is almost here!

Hope you are still enjoying the fleeting days of summer and starting to get ready for autumn and harvest season. OPSRRA has also been busy over the summer break with the following activities…

All Candidates Meeting (September 29)

As you’re probably aware, we have been organizing an all candidates meeting for the upcoming federal election (scheduled for October 21) for Sunday September 29 from 2 – 4 PM at the CRD JdF Services Building, #3-7450 Butler Rd. in Otter Point.

We will be hosting candidates from the four major federal parties  to provide a short overview of their platforms and address questions as part of a panel. To this end, we also sent out a survey to you as our members to pick the three top questions for them before we open the floor to questions. We thank everyone who has completed the survey and look forward to your participation at this important event.
The three questions picked by you were:

  • The Climate Crisis is a real issue globally and locally as extreme weather events become the norm. What tools and strategies would you advocate using to solve the crisis?
  • Federal infrastructure dollars for programs like high-speed internet access and clean water are critical for our region. Over $45 million in federal and provincial tax dollars was allocated between 2016 and early 2018 to create high speed access for our region and the coast of BC. To date no progress has been shared with this community, nor is there a clear confirmation that the program will do anything beyond delivering potential access. Without a provider agreeing to connect up end users, local residents will still be without access. How would you work to ensure that this program proceeds in a timely way with real results?
  • Chinook fishing restrictions and closures were imposed this year to protect fish stocks and local orca populations. What regional and national solutions would you work towards to address this issue?

Update on Welcome to Jordan River diitiida Signs
We are pleased to announce that Camosun College has completed the wonderful woodwork on these signs which will be posted at the east and west CRD boundaries along West Coast Road. Many thanks to Dana Lajeunesse, Sergio Solares and the students at Camosun Innovates for completing this work for us. We are in the process of putting on the finishing touches before we get these installed with thanks to Cheryl Wirch-Ryckman, Scott Ryckman and Diane Foster.

We have run into a bit of a snag in that, unlike the previous welcome signs, Mainroad is not able to donate the roadside installation or build it into the existing road budget as their contract ends on Sept. 30. As we don’t have addition funds in our budget to cover this, we are investigating options, to complete the installation of the signs; hopefully sometime early this fall. If you can donate or know someone looking to fund a worthwhile project, please contact info@opsrra.ca 

Otter Point (Rd.) Shoulder Widening Project
For those of us living in the Otter Point Rd. area, you may recall the flurry of tree removal activity that occurred this spring to prepare for shoulder widening and upgrades, and may be wondering why things have come to an abrupt halt. In speaking with the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure (MOTI) OPSRRA has found out that the “(Ministry) is currently finalizing designs and working with impacted utilities to initiate relocations. The project is anticipated to be tendered in the late fall of 2019 and targeting completion in the summer of 2020.” More details on the design can be found here.

The Drive to Revisit Bylaw 2040 (Vacation Rentals) Continues…
OPSRRA was recently copied on a letter sent by one of our members to CRD regarding a land-use bylaw violation in which the absentee owner of a neighbouring property along West Coast Road rents a cabin next to the primary residence on the property as a secondary suite. It does appear that the suite may be illegal and does not comply with the bylaw. The series of short-term renters on the property have been disruptive in a number of ways to the complainant (some potentially hazardous) and interfering with their ability to enjoy their own property. 

We commend this member’s courage to document their concerns with CRD and push for the revisiting of Bylaw 2040.  As we’ve noted previously, there are no doubt many others in our communities who have been afraid to speak up for fear of repercussions. This again pinpoints the need for Bylaw 2040 to be updated with language and guidelines that properly protects property owners (and their short-term rentals), as well as their affected neighbours. We will continue to advocate this with CRD. 

As noted previously, if you have any concerns or complaints about neighbouring renters, please don’t be afraid to contact the local CRD (250-642-8100 or email: ilawrence@crd.bc.ca). In the case of emergency or safety issues, please contact the Sooke RCMP (250-642-5241). We would also appreciate it if you could copy us on any correspondence at president@opsrra.ca. For more details on this issue click here.

OPSRRA Membership Drive
OPSRRA hosted an information booth at Shirley Day again this year at the Shirley Community Hall and grounds on August 18. We were fortunate enough to garner new memberships and talk to people about issues affecting our communities that we’re working on, in addition to handing out a number of our new brochures – all and all great exposure for our association. Thanks to Diane Foster (board treasurer) and James Gaston (communications director) for helping to staff the booth. We hope to do more events with greater volunteer engagement from our membership in the future.

Membership Renewal Process
At our AGM, it was announced that, as our region has grown and OPSRRA’s expenses have increased, lifetime memberships no longer cover our costs. It was ratified by the general membership that the duration of regular, associate and business membership in OPSRRA be changed from lifetime to five years. To this end, our membership committee has established a renewal process which starts this fall by sending out notices to those members who joined more than five years ago.  

You can renew several ways, and it’s only $10.00 per person for 5 years and $10.00 per year for a business. You can fill in the form at www.opsrra.ca/membership, send an e-transfer to info@opsrra.ca, or mail a cheque to the address below:

c/o 9193 West Coast Road
Shirley, BC V9Z 1G3

Have a safe and happy fall, everyone and we’ll see you at the federal all-candidates meeting on Sept. 29.

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