August 2011 Newsletter

A Summer Salad Bar of Community-Related Issues

 

Ferries: As BC Ferries contemplates options for the maintenance or reorganization of Route 9 (the Queen of Nanaimo run,) the Salt Spring Island Ferry Advisory Committee hosted a recent meeting with FAC members from Mayne, Pender and Saturna. This ferry is approaching retirement age, and her loss will threaten established expectations of service in the Southern Gulf Islands. As the ultimate owner of the system, the Province will have to review its ‘user pay’ agenda of incremental withdrawal of subsidy. User Pay might result in ‘user don’t use’, ‘user stay home’, and ‘user watch coastal communities shrivel’; all while inland ferries are operated as part of the highway network. Maintaining adequate subsidy of ferry access may be the most efficient tool for ensuring the survival of many BC coastal communities.

 

Roads: MIRRA’s Transportation Subcommittee expects to meet with officials from the Ministry of Highways in late July. We were given verbal assurances of substantial paving work to be completed on Mayne this summer, but doubts are beginning to outnumber the potholes. You may be a driver who is making the connection between deteriorating roads and increased damage to your vehicle. The Highways bureaucracy moves in mysterious ways, but we are attempting to interact with it.

 

Riparian Issues: AffectedMayneIsland property owners, having paid for a requested scientific study and providing information that there is no evidence of fish habituating our lakes, rivers, swamps and ditches, are now encountering a hardening agenda from Provincial authorities. At issue is the prospect of losing use of significant areas of one’s property – for no demonstrable reason beyond the usual that certain quarters prefer to establish and maintain rigid controls on what we carelessly refer to as ‘private property’. Mayne’s Island Trustees are the souls of reasonableness, compared to the shenanigans promoted by the Salt Spring Island Trustees, where they attempted to blanket most of the island with development permit regulations. Those plans were eventually put on hold after an aroused populace made their displeasure known. However, though activist bureaucracy may frequently under-perform, it seldom sleeps. Those inclined to vigilance can find more information in the ‘Links’ below.

 

Sensitive Ecosystem bylaws: Still pending are potential bylaws that categorize Mayne down to individual ecosystem ‘polygons’, the resulting database then to result in blanket DPA (development permit areas) regulations. We question whether this is all in response to an identified problem, or in fact is becoming a problem in itself. Long-time observers of Mayne’s flora and fauna can attest to Man’s ineffectual strategies for exploiting or limiting trees and deer, for instance. We might better expend our efforts on ‘preserving and protecting’ to affirming the mundane processes of ordinary owners taking care of their property.

 

Parks Canada Plans: ParksCanada recently presented stage 1 of their Gulf Islands National Parks Preserve Management Plan at the Ag Hall. As this expansive agenda enfolds us, we should take the opportunity to provide input to plans that will determine how we live in the islands.Ottawa is far away; speak clearly so they can hear you. Updates at: www.parkscanada.gc.ca/gulf

 

SSI Superior Shuttle info: As discussed during the fire hall referendum, gaining Superior Shuttle accreditation does not guarantee reduced insurance rates to property owners island-wide. Such accreditation makes it so islanders are eligible to apply for reduced insurance rates. A clear example of this comes from Saltspring, with three fire halls, many hydrants over the entire island and seven full time firefighters on staff; a significant part of the island is not eligible for these insurance savings. The bottom line is if you live at the end of a long driveway, in a remote part of the island or on the top of a hill your property may not be eligible for insurance savings under the superior shuttle program. The links to the maps showing the Saltspring properties eligible are posted on the MIRRA website.

We believe the long term goal of obtaining Superior Shuttle accreditation is honorable and worthy of support, but it must not be tied to inflammatory generalized statements at the time of referendum. If it can be done as part of a reasonable updating and upgrading of our firefighting services it deserves endorsement from all quarters. If such efforts result in substantial increases in taxation to all islanders when not all islanders would benefit from insurance savings, it must be questioned.

MayneIslandhas a well funded, well staffed fire department that, at times, is under appreciated. The service provided and countless hours put in by the members needs to be acknowledged by all members of our community.

 

Links: The days of Gulf Island communities coping with governance issues in isolation from each other are coming to an end. If the topics that MIRRA monitors interest you, you’ll probably find some cause for excitement at the following websites. These links and others can be found on our website www.maynebc.com

 

http://saltspringfolly.com/blog/  

http://atwww.islandtagteam.com/

http://speakoutsaltspring.blogspot.com/

http://islandstrust.wordpress.com/

http://atwww.islandtagteam.com/

http://islandposse.blogspot.com/

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sipoa/

 

All-Candidates Meeting: In the May Mayneliner, we announced two All-Candidates meetings for the November 19th municipal elections: October 29th for Islands Trust and November 14th forCRD. After further consideration, we’ve decided to swap these dates around.

Islands Trust All-Candidates Meeting: October 29th

CRDAll-Candidates Meeting: November 14th

Both meetings will be at the Ag Hall at 1:00PM.

This timing should give voters better candidate information sooner, and allow more time to consult and compare notes with each other before voting for Trustees.

We’re all pretty engrossed with normal summer activities right now, but in upcoming issues, MIRRA will examine specific questions regarding the relationship between the Islands Trust, candidates, and the community.

Enjoy your zucchinis!

 

Sincerely,

MIRRA Executive

Website: www.maynebc.com

Email: mayneratepayers@shaw.ca

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