Road ends and Public Lake Access
by: Area B Director Sierra Acton
On November 28th I hosted a Director’s Meeting that highlighted the many jurisdictions surrounding road ends and lake access. It was well attended, with almost 100 people filling the meeting space. There were representatives from CVRD Parks, CVRD Bylaw Enforcement, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI), RCMP and Conservation. Although MOTI clearly stated that road ends are public right of ways and the public has a right to use them, it appears that no one wants to take full responsibility for enforcing the rules that surround their use. The Ministry owns the road ends, but to date, has not taken action to address the blocking of road ends through fences, construction etc. However, going forward the MOTI has committed to helping the community with a few key offenders. The CVRD is limited to enforcing zoning; there is a W4 zone that allows for public use of a road end, but prohibits the construction of private docks. Conservation prohibits disruption of the riparian area and any removal of vegetation without proper permits. Finally, the RCMP is only a phone call away if a disagreement about the use of a road end requires police intervention.
Currently the CVRD does manage 3 Parks/Beaches, Memory Island and 4 Road ends:
In 2014 the CVRD was all set to manage two new road ends, but the CVRD and the Director at the time decided not to pursue them due to disagreements in the neighbourhoods in question. In any given neighbourhood there are always mixed feelings about making a road end into a public park. Increase use can create parking issues, litter and noise complaints to name a few of the challenges. The CVRD has a mandate for regional issues that benefit the community at large and in many cases, neighbourhoods want access, but not necessarily a CVRD ‘promoted’ public park. If you are passionate about increasing public access to the lake, I want to help make that vision a reality. Please step forward and let me know. This issue has been talked about for many years because it’s not an easy one to solve, but a determined community can accomplish a lot.
If you have a road end issue I would suggest the following:
There are over 70 public right of ways on Shawnigan Lake. However, not all road ends are accessible, since some may be too steep and some are better left as wildlife corridors. Road end maps are available online or at the Shawnigan Lake Museum for a small fee. There are many road ends that people currently enjoy, so be a great neighbour and share your favourite one in the community. My top 3 are Tranent/Kews Rd, Munsie Rd and Millicent Rd.
As always I’m available in person, by phone or email. LOVE IT, SHARE IT, PROTECT IT!
-Year in Review and what’s to come!
by Sierra Acton CVRD Area B Director
I am big on setting goals, but I also like to celebrate what has been accomplished before setting the intentions for the coming year. Here are some highlights from this year;
In 2020 we can expect;
On a personal note, I was just recently appointed Chair of Community Services at the CVRD and I am looking forward to the new opportunities and experiences that this position will bring.
I wish everyone a safe and happy holiday. As always, I am available. Let’s connect.
LOVE IT, SHARE IT, PROTECT IT!
November Director’s Report
by Sierra Acton Area B CVRD Director
It’s been a busy fall filled will meetings as budget season is underway at the Cowichan Valley Regional District. It is always a fine balance between taxes, keeping things running and executing our goals. Luckily the federal government has a grant funding program to help rural communities with infrastructure improvements. Locally we will have some upgrades through Gas Tax Funding at the Community Centre, Parks and Trails and Kerry Park Recreation planned for 2020. If you have a CVRD water system you too may be a benefactor to some upgrades through gas tax funding, details will be in the final 2020 budget.
Locally we just came out of the ThinkShawnigan Design Intensive. It was well received and has given us many projects that we can plan for. The final package will be available in January. Out of the process also came items that can be implemented in the next year. I will be presenting the NOW Plan at the Shawnigan Residents Association AGM November 21st 7pm at Shawnigan Lake School. This is where the little things add up to big impact, hope you will join the momentum.
The CVRD Board agreed to fund up to 4 roundtable discussions on milfoil. All agencies, ministries and jurisdictions will come together to help clarify a path forward for the community. Many groups and residents have been striving to mitigate this issue. As we have learned the lake itself is something we can all rally around. Insuring we are all on the same page will help us actualize our goals.
I often hear the community say they want more lake access and they also ask about the rules around road ends. The CVRD manages 3 beaches, 1 Island and 4 road ends. The CVRD has permits/approvals from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for lake access public improvements within the following undeveloped Ministry road rights of way fronting Shawnigan Lake:
·May Avenue (public trail access)
·Worthington Road (associated with CVRD’s waterfront park property at this location)
·Recreation Road (public boat launch)
·Bell-Irving Road (beach access launch for kayaks, canoes, cartop small boats)
November 28th at 7pm at the SLCC I will be bringing together all the agencies that have jurisdiction to present their roles and regulations around road ends and lake access. Hope you can make it.
As a community we are outraged about the ongoing saga of the contaminated soil dump (CHH), but not shocked by the continuing ridiculousness of the situation. Local government (CVRD) has exhausted its options to deal with this site. The Provincial Government has jurisdiction and they are refusing to act. In the history of remediation in BC, no site has ever been cleaned up unless it was being developed. In the New Year I will be bringing together a Think Tank of high level professionals to come up with a solution. If you believe you are part of that solution, please let me know, we need all “brains” on deck!
I look forward to connecting;
(250) 715-6763 call/text
If we can ThinkShawnigan, we can create it - by Sierra Acton Area B CVRD Director
No doubt Shawnigan Lake Village is the heart of our community. We all want to be proud of the place where we live, work and play. How do we insure we grow with connectivity and thoughtfulness? How do we keep our identity and at the same time meet the needs of our growing community? Our village has 13 acres of empty private land and many parks and public spaces. We have a special opportunity now to guide our village as it grows instead of trying to repair unsuccessful developments in the future.
From October 17th to October 19th the Shawnigan Lake Community will be involved in an Intensive Design and Planning process that will help shape the future look and feel of the Shawnigan Village. During this process we will look at the heart of the Village and the surrounding area. This intensive process will develop detailed three-dimensional drawings that will be grant and project ready. We have been gathering the communities’ input at events since this Spring and most recently at the ThinkShawnigan Gathering. So far, the common themes are: walking improvements, park enhancements, retail ideas/spaces and housing.
Mark your calendars to participate:
• October 17th Ideas Fair (Hear and add to what the designers have heard so far) 7-8:30pm
• October 18th Studio Drop-in (Watch the designers at work, See the ideas taking shape) 4-6pm
• October 19th Presentation of draft design concepts for the future Shawnigan Village 4:30-6:30pm
• All events are FREE and will be held at the Shawnigan Lake Community Centre! All welcome!!
After the intensive design process, the consultants will polish the results and share the final designs. This is anticipated for December 2019. Sign up to be kept informed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please get involved. Provide your input. Be part of the future of Shawnigan. More details:
PlaceSpeak - https://tinyurl.com/y6fuwy6b
Facebook Think Shawnigan Movement
Director Area B
COWICHAN VALLEY REGIONAL DISTRICT
175 Ingram Street
Duncan, BC, V9L 1N8
(250) 715-6763 cell/text
Think Shawnigan Gathering comes together to celebrate COMMUNITY!
“Love it! Share it! Protect it!”
In Shawnigan Lake we are very conscience of the future we want to create. We don’t believe in just “letting things happen,” we create our opportunities and reach for our goals. From October 17th to October 19th the Shawnigan Lake Community will be involved in an Intensive Design and Planning process for the future look and feel of the Shawnigan Village. During this process we will look at the area from Government Wharf Park to Mason’s Beach and from Bellendean Road in the west, along Renfrew and Hipwood Road and Wallbank Road to the east and Thrush Road to the south. This area was chosen because the community has expressed a desire to see our village developed thoughtfully and with the community’s needs in mind. This intensive process will also develop detailed three dimensional drawings that will be grant and project ready. It is expected that some of the challenges tackled will be: mobility improvements, level of desired development, amount of future retail space, amount of future commercial space, and a more detailed assessment of housing needs. These design guidelines will aid future development decision making and provide clear design directions for the streets, public areas, and other improvements. More event details: http://www.iloveshawnigan.com/events.html
In September the past, present and future come together to celebrate. The Think Shawnigan Gathering is all things Shawnigan under one roof at the Shawnigan Lake Community Centre. You can sample and experience all the Community has to offer from its businesses, groups, performers, artisans, services and associations. We will also be celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Community Centre itself and commemorating the anniversary by unveiling a brand-new Bouldering Wall! This is your chance to be one the first to try it out! Free admission to the community and did I mention, free birthday cake!!! The Gathering will also be an opportunity to introduce and highlight many of the assets of our amazing community to the Design Team of the Think Shawnigan Intensive; throughout the day artists will be sketching community ideas. Come share your ideas and celebrate all that is Shawnigan.
Think Shawnigan Gathering
When: September 21st
Where: The Shawnigan Lake Community Centre
email@example.com to reserve a table or offer entertainment
I look forward to connecting;
(250) 715-6763 call/text
Director’s Report-by Area Director Sierra Acton
We all love our Playgrounds and Galland Park is no exception. Recently the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) received a playground assessment report declaring the Galland Park Play structure was unsafe and removal was imminent. The kids in our community are our most precious resource, I applauded the CVRD for recognizing that limiting the risk is important. Sadly this play-structure is being replaced but the design and implementation is not decided yet so there will be a delay before the new playground is installed. It is unfortunate that the community, the Parks Commission and myself were not able to have this conversation earlier. In hindsight it would have been best to be planning for a new structure well in advance. Playground replacements are a conversation for the whole community to take part in, funding comes from our annual tax requisition from property taxes. This year the Park’s Commission (a community volunteer group who make recommendations in regards to Parks) was working towards replacing Old Mill’s playground and was just starting to discuss the Galland playground that replacement was coming up for next year. Now with removal on the horizon priorities need to be reviewed and gears shifted. It is not ideal that the Playground will be removed before summer. The positive is we now have an opportunity to look at the surrounding playgrounds as well so they can complement each other and we have a diverse range in the community. On June 24th at the Shawnigan Lake Community Centre from 6pm-8pm there will be opportunity to give your input on future playground design and planning for 4 Village Core Parks. From there ideas will be suggested and community input will be further requested on Placespeak. Also feel free to email me and I will forward to the right person at the CVRD.
We as a community can be so kind, inclusive and generous. These are the predominant characteristics in our community. There are times we fall short, especially on social media. As a community we have a presense online but don’t forget your neighbours have feelings and see what is written. I am thrilled to meet people who have been here for decades and some only a year. We have grown 6% since 2011, considering how beautiful it is and the Malahat has been rebuilt it may pick up. People who are a part of our community may “demand more” and ask the questions that might need to be explored. Should we be incorporated, should we have control of our roads and should we have more say at the local level? These are simply questions. The issue comes in when people are dismissing these questions with rude remarks such as “move back to the city” etc. We are all part of this community wether we pay taxes or not , wether we want sidewalks or not and wether we want to grow thoughtfully or just let it happen. This is not a lecture just a reminder that all are welcome to be part of this community and certainly all are entitled to their opinion. My hope is we continue these tough discussions in a respectful and inclusive way.
The Shawnigan Research Group (SRG) and the Shawnigan Residents Association (SRA) continue to push for removal of the contaminated soil dump on lot 23. Recently in the Legislature during Question Period Sonia Furstenau lined up 3 questions over 3 days to address removal to the Minister of Mines and Natural Resources, the Minister of Environment and the Premier. Many community members were in attendance, thank you for your perseverance and commitment to community and for the removal of the contaminants. The decision to bury the 100k tones of contaminated dirt is before Minister Heyman and a decision is expected by summer. If any of the letter writers in the community wish to help put pressure on the decision please do, (insert email).
Our community gets noticebly bussier in the summer, watch for bikes, kids and more traffic in general. Hope you all have a fun filled safe summer!!!
Community Playground Discussions Openhouse June 24th 6pm-8pm @SLCC
I look forward to connecting;
(250) 715-6763 call/text
Shawnigan Area Director’s Update
The Community was well represented at the CVRD board meeting on Wednesday April 24th; everyone from frontline protestors, to letter writers, to soil dump site monitors, to documentary photographers and other active community members filled the gallery in support of the long awaited Soil Relocation Bylaw. Many of you have probably noticed the endless stream of dump trucks headed up the Malahat everyday and wondered where all that dirt was going. Well, with this new bylaw, the CVRD will now know where the soil is coming from and where it’s going. Hopefully this much needed regulation will help reduce turbidity (from erosion) in our lakes and streams, protect the beauty of our natural landscapes and reduce the volume of heavy trucks on our roads.
The Community came together to celebrate “what NOT to do” with guest speaker Doug Griffith, author of 13 Ways to Kill Your Community. The satirical presentation was well received. It was upbeat, inspiring and the perfect start to many more conversations on the future of our village and where we see it going. It you want to join the conversation, please reach out so I can connect you with the ThinkShawnigan movement.
We are blessed to live in a beautifully forested area, but with our forests comes the unfortunate risk of wildfire. The best protection against loss, damage or injury due to wildfire is prevention. As we head into another long hot summer, I am pleased to host the Shawnigan Lake Fire Department at my next community meeting. They will present valuable information on how you can help to protect your family, property and neighbours from the risk of fire. Mark your calendar and see you at the Shawnigan Lake Community Centre on Tuesday June 11th at 7pm.
Recently I attended a crucial meeting with our team, the Shawnigan Residents Association (SRA), the SRA’s legal counsel and our MLA, at which the Ministry of Environment (MoE) staff made it clear that the Contaminated Soil Dump is a landfill and, as such, it requires a closure plan. The MoE is preparing to present a closure plan created by Sperling Hansen Associates (SHA) to the Minister of the Environment, the Hon. George Heyman. The plan entails trucking another 70k tons of soil up the Malahat to bury the 100k tons that was already dumped. This despite the fact that Justice Sewell’s ruling called into question the legitimacy of the entire permitting process. This despite evidence that the site is already leaking. This despite the fact that there is already a huge amount of fill sitting on the adjacent lot that was supposedly intended for this very purpose. When it comes to the contaminate soil dump, it appears the bureaucracy at the Ministry of Environment (MoE) is not interested in making a decision based on facts and logic. At the moment they are simply presenting the Minister a closure plan for approval and he will have to decide if the plan is “reasonable and necessary to protect the environment.” Removal of the soil is not even on the table!! It is clear now that this decision will ultimately be a political one; no amount of facts will change the outcome. Our pleas go out to our friends in the BC NDP and the BC Greens to once again stand up for Shawnigan Lake.
In Community, Sierra Acton
Monday May 6th 7pm Director’s Meeting at The Hub Cowichan Station
Tuesday June 11th 7pm Director’s Meeting at the Shawnigan Lake Community Centre
New Experiences, Renewed Appreciation and Fresh Starts
by Area B Director Sierra Acton
As most of you know, around mid March, Nick Colin’s memorial bus stop was hit by a car and demolished. Luckily no one was hurt. The CVRD does not have jurisdiction over Nick’s stop because it is Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure land and BC Transit is responsible for bus stops in unincorporated areas. However this community never ceases to amaze me; people rallied together swiftly, organized and before you knew it, the memorial had been replaced. Reading all the comments on Facebook has been so heart warming. I hope that this memorial is not lost on the drivers in this community and acts as a reminder to all of us to slow down.
By the time you read this, it is likely that ThinkShawnigan’s event with guest speaker Doug Griffith will have taken place. His book and presentation 13 ways to Kill Your Community was a great kick off to our Village Planning slated for this Spring. A Design Charrette will address the kind of village we want to create in both the near and distant future. The plan will help visualize our goals and specifically lay out the where, what and how, thereby bringing the private and public sectors together. This will ideally facilitate the services, development and lifestyle we want in the village area. The Charrette becomes a guide to get the infrastructure grants, housing development and businesses we want for our village core.
Removal of the contaminated soil dump continues to be a top priority, as this is the biggest threat to our watershed and future of our community. The upcoming meetings with the Ministry of Environment (MoE) may be the most important meetings to date; after these meetings the Minister of Environment will be making his decision. Currently I’m working closely with the Shawnigan Residents Association (SRA) and the Shawnigan Research Group (SRG) as we prepare to meet with the MoE. Please consider contributing to the SRA legal fund, so we can have legal attend these meetings.
By Area B Director Sierra Acton
Our village is the heart of our community. From the many conversations that have been had with businesses, community groups and locals from seniors to youth, one thing is clear; we all want a vibrant, healthy, thriving village. Therefore, with the help of the CVRD and Economic Development Cowichan (and no impact to taxes), the community will be undertaking a design charrette to help guide the future development of the village. The consensus is we want convenience, connectivity, lake access and views and also a strong sense of place. A design charrette creates the blue print that visualizes all these goals and specifically lays out the where, what and how thereby bringing the private and public sectors together. This ensures we get the services, development and recreation we want in our village. It becomes a document that can be used to help get us infrastructure grants, seniors housing, and attract new businesses.
More businesses mean a larger commercial tax base which will help alleviate some of our tax burden since we are so heavily residential in Area B. Attracting new businesses, employment and affordable housing to Shawnigan aligns with our community’s long-term vision of a place where we can live, work and play. The charrette makes it visual and will be owned by the community to help shape the future we want to see. Stay tuned! Everyone is invited to participate.
I’m excited to report that Phase 1 of the Shawnigan Village Rail Trail project is underway and should be complete in about two weeks time. Phase 1 will connect the Community Centre to Government Wharf Park. This initial 300-metre section is the first piece of a project that will provide significant benefit to the greater community of Shawnigan Lake by getting people off the roads and enhancing access to the lake and village.
The Rail Trail project has been in the works since it was first identified in our Community Parks Master Plan back in 2010 and many residents provided feedback and input during the CVRD’s public engagement activities in 2018. If fully built out, the project will create almost 2 kilometres of accessible public trail between Mason’s Beach and Old Mill Park. Eventually it is possible that the trail will even connect to Cobble Hill, the Kinsol Trestle and the Trans Canada Trail.
I look forward to seeing many of you on the trail when it opens later this month!
The community spoke and I listened. Almost everyone I talk to wants to see more for their tax dollars and more funds returning back to the community at a local level. Therefore, in recent planning of the 2019 budget, the Board decided to move the funding from the Shawnigan Basin Society to the Area B grant in Aid to ensure maximum support for local watershed initiatives. I care deeply about the health and viability of our watershed and I believe that these changes will enable us to directly fund watershed initiatives and community groups working on water projects without wasting local tax dollars on overhead and salaries that potentially duplicate the new Regional Watershed function.
Happy to connect Sierra.Acton@cvrd.bc.ca
Important Invite: Emergency Preparedness Presentation by CVRD Safety Division
at next Director’s Meeting Mon. March 4th at 7pm at the Shawnigan Lake Community Centre.
Area B Director’s Update- by Sierra Acton
One upside to the fight against the contaminated soil dump was the many new friendships that were created standing on that hill. We were brought together by our love for community, our belief in what was right and our passion to protect this valley for future generations. Those shared values galvanized many new friendships. One of those new friends was Heidi Goddard and she is now my Alternate Director. Heidi and her daughter where literally the ‘poster child’ for the Save Shawnigan Water Campaign: the photo of her standing in front of a truck, in the dark, with a baby strapped to her chest. She is dedicated to her community like so many others that braved those cold, dark mornings. I’m thrilled that Heidi will be filling in for me, when I can’t attend. Heidi is also the Vice Chair of the Shawnigan Lake Community Center Commission. Heidi is not the only one starting a new role; I was elected to Vice Chair of the CVRD Board on the night of the Board inauguration, which is a new role for me as well. I am excited for the challenge of this new position and the associated opportunity to grow and learn. I will be working with my friend and mentor, Ian Morrison, who is the CVRD Board Chair.
Budget season is coming up at the CVRD. This means the Board will be reviewing all of the tax allocations for the various Areas. Certainly with the new Housing and Water functions, I will not be advocating to increase taxes on extra expenditures if they are not a priority. If anyone has input on this topic or anything else CVRD related, please contact me.
This week the courts decided in favour of the CVRD on a crucial zoning issue. Specifically, that a sawmill is not a home based business and that the commercial use of a sawmill is not permitted in an area that is zoned residential. The decision affirms the Regional District’s zoning authority and validates that the CVRD’s decision to pursue bylaw enforcement action in this case was supported by law. Any further commercial activity at the site in question will be in violation of a court order. Unfortunately, going to court is expensive and it ends up costing tax payers a significant amount of money. (Bylaw is very challenging for electoral areas as we don’t have as many enforcement and regulations ‘tools’ as municipalities.)
A message from our Local MOTI Rep on Preparing your home and property for winter, rain and snow storms;
We advises that home owners check culverts, gutters, downspouts and perimeter drains around their house to ensure everything is working properly, and free from debris.
Mainroad Contracting will make every effort to keep roadside catch basins, culverts, and ditches clear.
Residents are requested to help by not depositing debris, leaves or garden trimmings in drainage ditches, and by preventing debris from accumulating against ditches.
Homeowner Drainage Checklist
Join my monthly email list for updates and community information by forwarding your email address. Have a safe and happy holiday season!
Sierra Acton-Director Area B