2019 Powell River April 12-14

 

 

 

Powell River Regional District and the City of Powell River are joint hosts for 2019. Convention information will be updated as available.

Category: Priorities

On September 4, 2014 the Comox Valley Regional District, with assistance from the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities, hosted a workshop to discuss challenges in dealing with solid waste on Vancouver Island in a cost-effective manner.

The Consultants Report and Powerpoint presentations from the workshop are available on the Comox Valley Regional District’s website.

October 30, 2014, AVICC Executive welcomed Comox Valley Regional District Chair Edwin Grieve, Vice-Chair Jon Ambler and CAO Debra Oakman to its regular meeting to discuss the findings of the workshop.  Executive endorsed a motion for AVICC staff to request the assistance of staff from Comox Valley Regional District to identify a steering committee and develop a process or plan to facilitate AVICC regional districts and the Province to work together to develop a collaborative long-term solution for solid waste on Vancouver Island.

 

 

 

 

In follow-up to the July 3 and October 20 meetings that have been held with local government and other stakeholders on this topic, at the October 30, 2014 Executive meeting, the following action plan was endorsed:

That AVICC staff support UBCM Victoria Operations General Manager Glen Brown to create a smaller stakeholder group with staff representatives from VIHA, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Resource Operations, UBCM, AVICC, Private Forest Landowners Association and Private Forest Land Council to develop a terms of reference for a working stakeholder group that could be pulled together as needed to address local or regional concerns;

AVICC Executive encourages regional districts to contact the Managed Forest Council to discuss offering an information session in your region for the information of local government staff and elected officials; and

That Private Forest Land Council be invited to submit a presentation proposal for the 2015 AVICC Convention.

Attached is the  October 23, 2014 Provincial News Release on the proposed changes to legislation to repeal Section 7(5) of the Vancouver Island Natural Gas Pipeline Act in order to permit collection of operating fees within the AVICC region.

AVICC is very pleased to advise that all 26 of our municipal members, who are served by gas, have approved the model natural gas operating agreement that will authorize the collection of a 3% operating fee beginning in March 2015.  The immediate response to AVICC’s request for action is appreciated.  Thank you to Paul Murray, CAO of Saanich and Jerry Berry, Consultant with FortisBC and the municipal staff who have worked diligently to get these agreements in place.

The paperwork is now being processed through FortisBC to prepare an application to BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) to approve the agreements. By having all 26 agreements signed, AVICC can present a unified position to the BCUC.

Two meetings on this topic have been held, both in Nanaimo.

The first was held on July 3, 2014 with Councillor Solda and Director Marcotte in attendance on behalf of AVICC.

The second was held on October 20, 2014 with Councillor Solda, Director Marcotte, Councillor Price and Chair Stanhope in attendance on behalf of AVICC. Other local government representatives included: Mayor Baird and Sundance Topham from Cumberland; Campbell River’s Water Supervisor, Nathalie Vaiu; Comox’s Senior Manager of Engineering Mark Rutten, and Nanaimo RD’s CAO Paul Thorkelson.

Representatives from other organizations to both meeting included Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Private Forest Land Council of BC, Private Forest Landowner’s Association, TimberWest and Island Timberlands.

A Ministry of Environment representative attended the first meeting and three representatives from Vancouver Island Health Authority attended the second.

The agenda for both meetings included a roundtable discussion where representatives’ roles and responsibilities related to water protection were highlighted and included the nature and scope of the issues they would like to have addressed.

The proposed action plan going forward is two fold. The first is to create a smaller stakeholder group with staff representatives from VIHA, FLNRO, UBCM, AVICC, PFLA and PFLC to develop a terms of reference for a working stakeholder group that would be pulled together as needed to address local or regional concerns. The model would resemble the Regional Drinking Water Teams that worked effectively in the past. The intention would be that it would be able to address issues through the regular day-to-day responsibilities of the stakeholders involved.

The second is to address the need for education and awareness on the protections that are in place and the avenues open for addressing issues arising. The Private Forest Land Council is prepared to respond to this issue and they are in process of developing an updated communications strategy and PowerPoint presentation that is modern and more reflective of the work they do (interactive) which should be ready before year-end.

The Boatswains to the Bollards: A Socioeconomic Impact Analysis of BC Ferries Report prepared on behalf of AVICC and UBCM by Larose Research and Strategy was considered at the 2014 UBCM Convention.

The following recommendations of the policy paper were endorsed unanimously by the UBCM membership:

That the UBCM membership endorse the following actions:

  • Request that the Province reverse its November 2013 decision, and restore service levels and ferry fares to 2013 levels.
  • Request that the Province take a ‘pause’ or ‘time out’ to consider the results of this SEIA and commit to undertaking further socioeconomic impact analysis that will build on these findings.
  • Request that the Province take action to recognize the coastal ferry system as an extension of the highway system and administer and fund it accordingly.

Request that the Province work cooperatively with coastal communities and other interested parties on the development and implementation of a long-term strategy for the coastal ferry system, based on solid socioeconomic impact analysis, that will ensure the sustainability of coastal communities and the ferry service.

Members of the RD Chairs group met with the Premier and Minister Stone during UBCM Convention with the agreement that they would meet again in November.

 

 

Past President Chair Stanhope updated delegates to the AVICC Luncheon held during the 2014 UBCM Convention on the status of the Natural Gas Operating Agreement file.

Following are the speaking notes from that presentation:

I have some important information to deliver with respect to the Fortis BC Operating Agreements and the collection of operating fees by municipalities.

The last several years now we have stood before the AVICC convention and talked about the following:

  1. Negotiations with Fortis BC to establish a Made-in-AVICC Operating Agreement between the gas company and many AVICC municipalities. This is complete.
  2. Fortis BC’s application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission to apply for a common rate for specified natural gas customers in a given rate class throughout BC. This has occurred, and phased implementation is about to begin in 2015.
  3. AVICC has been seeking a change to the Vancouver Island Natural Gas Pipeline Act to permit the collection of operating fees within AVICC. AVICC representatives are meeting with the Premier and the relevant Ministers again tomorrow, and we are pleased to say that introduction of this legislation is imminent.

 

Consequently, I am very pleased to be able to say today, that after much hard work by numerous people, we are poised to see the end of this historic inequity after more than 25 years. Shortly we expect municipalities on Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast will return to the same footing as those in the interior of BC.

This means In the order of $3.5 Million in new revenues to be received collectively / per annum within AVICC to offset costs for municipal taxpayers’ associated with the placement of gas lines in municipal roads.

 Now, as the final step to reaching our goal, we need political action and your leadership.

 Time is now of the essence to adopt agreements, if Councils wish to access the available new funding source. Councils in municipalities served by gas will be asked to process and endorse the AVICC recommended model agreement by the end of October, 2014 in order to take advantage of the anticipated legislation, and to authorize the collection of the 3% fee beginning in March 2015.

 AVICC is preparing a standard report format to assist your staff in bringing this matter before you and the report will be available, along with our partners in FORTIS, to respond to any questions you may have. Representatives are meeting with the CAOs tonight to discuss implementation details for your municipality.

We hope we will have the maximum number of agreements in place by November, in order that AVICC can present a unified front to the BCUC.

We are almost there.  With your help, we can shortly say that we have completed the strategic task we set out to accomplish.

I want to say thank you to the City of Nanaimo, in particular, who lead the staff technical working group; to Paul Murray and the District of Saanich who have lead the staff policy group; to Gord Schoberg and Carol Greaves of FORTIS, and to Jerry Berry who have worked with us throughout and whom have helped us “stick handle” this matter through the Province and through FORTIS itself.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Premier Clark, Minister Coleman, Minister Bennett and Michelle Stillwell for supporting introduction of the corrective legislation.

In follow-up to the AVICC Policy Paper#1: Report on Socio-Economic Impacts of BC Ferries Service Reductions – April, 2014 which was endorsed April 12, 2014 at the AVICC Convention April 12, 2014 in Qualicum Beach, a follow-up study and policy paper is being considered at the 2014 UBCM Convention.

Download a copy of UBCM Policy Paper #1:  Boatswains to the Bollards:  A Socioeconomic Impact Analysis of BC Ferries (PDF).

See the September 10, 2014  UBCM Compass article which preceded the distribution of the Policy Paper to members and highlights the key findings.

 

 

The Special Committee on BC Ferries was established February 7, 2014 as a result of a desire by both AVICC and UBCM to respond to the direction taken by the Province with respect to BC Ferries.

Policy Paper #1:  Report on Socio-Economic Impacts of BC Ferries Service Reductions, April 2014 was prepared for the Special Committee.  It was submitted for consideration by AVICC delegates April 12, 2014 at the 2014 AVICC Convention in Qualicum Beach.

Download the endorsed Policy Paper #1:  Report on Socio-Economic Impacts of BC Ferries Service Reductions, April 2014 (PDF).

Paul Murray, Administrative Officer with District of Saanich and Chair of the AVICC CAO Natural Gas Working Group and Jerry Berry, FortisBC’s Consultant provided an update to AVICC Executive on September 10, 2014 which included the following key points:

  • Word has been received that during the fall legislative session the provincial government is expecting to consider revisions to the legislation to facilitate eligible AVICC local governments to be able to begin receiving operating fees. The consultant noted that as a separate issue from the coordinated work undertaken over the years between AVICC and FortisBC, the status quo for five major island industrials is being maintained by including a regulation exempting the five major industrials on the island from paying operating fees leaving an inequity within this group as industrials elsewhere in the province will continue to pay operating fees.
  • The schedule of reductions in gas rates was highlighted noting that the 20-25% rate reduction would be phased in over 3-4 years with the first one of 7% being effective January 1, 2015.
  • The first opportunity to apply operating fees would be March 1, 2015.
  • There has been one minor change to the operating agreement template that was distributed previously. A template staff report, policy paper and the template operating agreement will be forwarded to the 20 affected local governments in October encouraging local governments not to delay in getting them signed so that they are in position to implement operating fees as soon as all the pieces are in place.

The Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) is currently working with key stakeholders including the Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO), the Ministry of Environment (MOE) and Private Managed Forest Lands Council (PMFLC) to address a number of challenges and concerns regarding watershed protection on privately managed forest lands.

A meeting was held on July 3, 2014 with senior staff from FLNRO, MOE, PMFLC, Timberwest, Island Timberlands, and AVICC executive to discuss watershed protection issues. The meeting provided the opportunity for all stakeholders to openly identify concerns and provide input. The discussion was productive, and there was agreement to continue, with a follow-up meeting to be scheduled in early September 2014.

AVICC’s focus moving forward includes exploring opportunities to educate and build awareness regarding; private managed forest land impacts on watersheds, the Private Managed Forest Land Act , and how it is implemented/enforced in British Columbia. There is interest and value in looking at the differences and similarities of how forests are managed on crown versus private land.

Another focus for AVICC is to improve communication and collaboration between stakeholders. An opportunity exists to re-establish a ‘stakeholder group’ that has met regularly to discuss regional and local issues focused on watershed health and protection. Under the Action Plan for Safe Drinking Water in BC, regional drinking water teams were established to address regional and local drinking water issues. While these groups have been less active in recent years, there is the opportunity to re-establish and re-focus these groups to address current regional drinking water and watershed issues.

The desired outcome is to have effective collaboration and communication that includes decision making involving input from key stakeholders, including local governments.

FortisBC’s Application for Reconsideration and Variance of the February 25, 2013 BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) Decision Regarding Common Rates, Amalgamation and Rate Design Application and Need for Legislative Changes to Support Operating Fees – In follow-up to the presentation at the 2013 AVICC AGM & Convention, an Impacts of BCUC Decision Update has been developed to enable members to discuss this issue with newly elected MLA’s. The impact on our communities and region is significant. The City of Nanaimo has developed a template spreadsheet to assist staff in preparing some locally relevant statistics. A copy is available by email request to avicc@ubcm.ca. AVICC registered as intervener in the BCUC Phase 2 proceedings. To effectively contribute, AVICC hired Anthony Pullman a former BCUC commissioner to prepare our submissions. An Information Request was submitted on July 24 with FortisBC reply on August 13, 2013 [PDF]. Executive will be meeting with the Premier, Honourable Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines and Minister Rich Coleman, Minister for Natural Gas during the UBCM Convention to discuss this issue. The pro-forma operating agreement template has been released by the legal advisors and will be reviewed by the Municipal Working Group on October 17.

Webinar – December 4th, 2013 – Municipal Operating Fees: Completion of Joint Discussions – Model Operating Agreement

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources has completed a draft of their “Practical Manual for Addressing Problem Vessels and Floating Structures“, and requested UBCM Members review and provide input on the draft manual.

For any local government dealing with problem vessels, the issue of who is responsible for what is a key concern. The draft manual seeks to address this issue by:

1.    explaining which level of government can do what in different situations;
2.    identifying key points of contact for resolving problems; and
3.    outlining options for a collaborative approach for dealing with the most serious issues.

UBCM members were asked to review the draft manual and provide input by November 15, 2013.

Executive is exploring opportunities for a forum to discuss potential changes that may be required to watershed legislation in light of developments in the area of private managed forest lands and in relation to the contaminated soil facility application process approved recently in the Cowichan Valley Regional District .

B37 Contaminated Soil Facility – Threat to Drinking Water Watershed Cowichan Valley RD

Endorsed with Amendment as Proposed

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Province of British Columbia be requested to amend contaminated site regulations to provide for thorough and appropriate consideration of local government input and land use regulations in the contaminated soils permitting process.

Follow-up – Genetically Engineered Plants & Animal Resolution – To enable the resolution to be considered by the UBCM Convention, Executive has submitted an amendment to the enactment clause of the Metchosin resolution endorsed at the 2013 AVICC AGM & Convention to broaden the geographic area. The amended resolution would read:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that UBCM ask the British Columbia government to legislate the prohibition of importing, exporting and growing plants and seeds containing genetically engineered DNA, and raising GE animals within BC, and to declare, through legislation that the province of BC is a GE Free area in respect to all plant and animal species.

AVICC has actively supported the work being undertaken by the Island Corridor Foundation over the years. To encourage VIA Rail to work with the Island Corridor Foundation and its rail operator Southern Railway of BC to come to an agreement to offer efficient passenger service on the island, President Cross wrote Marc Laliberte, VIA Rail’s President and CEO August 14, 2013 Request to Via Rail [PDF].

Derelict Vessels – This issue continues to be on the forefront of AVICC priorities. Executive wrote Minister Thomson on June 26, 2013 Letter re Derelict Vessels [PDF] expressing concern that little progress has been made to date, that proposal for a UBCM clinic on the topic, and advising that we would be seeking a meeting with him during the UBCM Convention through one of our members. Click here for the Minister Thomson’s Response [PDF]. Islands Trust who has provided significant leadership on this file has arranged for a meeting with Minister Thomson during the UBCM Convention. 27 representatives from 17 local governments will be in attendance.

Effects of Schlenker v. Torgrimson Conflict of Interest Ruling – Executive has been in communication with the Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development in regard to this issue. Minister Bennett has advised that “the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development staff are actively monitoring the situation, gathering information and assessing the variety of legal views, reactions and practical effects in order to develop an appropriate provincial response.” In order to provide the Province with examples of how the decision has been affecting our members, members were requested to forward specific examples of issues that have arisen and the impact it has had on your local government including a name and contact information should additional information be requested. These examples were provided to Michelle Dann, Advisory Services on July 19 with a copy to UBCM. UBCM and LGMA cooperatively distributed a guidance document in late August. For more information on resources available from UBCM, click on Conflict of Interest Background.

Follow-up – Contaminated Soil Facility – Threat to Drinking Water Watershed in Shawnigan Lake Resolution – UBCM will be seeking an amendment to the resolution to remove the first enactment clause due to its regional in nature.  Anticipating this and because of the time sensitivities in relation to the specific Waste Discharge Permit Application referenced in the resolution, the resolution has been already been communicated to the Minister of Environment.  Click here for Minister Polak’s Response [PDF].

Nominations to Serve on DFO Aquaculture Management Advisory Committees (AMACs) – Nine members responded to the invitation to serve on either the Finfish or Shellfish AMAC. Executive recommended one nominee and one alternate for each committee to UBCM. The recommendations were:

  • Finfish AMAC Nominee: Strathcona EA Director and Vice-Chair Jim Abram
  • Shellfish AMAC Nominee: Nanaimo EA Director Bill Veenhof
  • Finfish AMAC Alternate: Port Hardy Mayor Bev Parnham
  • Shellfish AMAC Alternate: Tofino Councillor Dorothy Baert
B37 CONTAMINATED SOIL FACILITY – THREAT TO DRINKING WATER WATERSHED Cowichan Valley RD

WHEREAS the Province of British Columbia appears on the verge of approving a contaminated soils facility that would permit the dumping of five million tons of highly contaminated material near the headwaters of the Shawnigan Lake drinking water watershed;

AND WHEREAS the citizens and Board of the Cowichan Valley Regional District have expressed their strong opposition to the proposed facility and the dumping of contaminated material in drinking water watersheds;

AND WHEREAS there are significant conflicting hydrogeological and technical opinions about the risk the facility would pose to the environment and people’s drinking water:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities support the residents of Shawnigan Lake, the Cowichan communities and the Cowichan Valley Regional District in calling on the Province of British Columbia to invoke the precautionary principle and deny the Waste Discharge Permit Application for property at 460 Stebbings Road in Shawnigan Lake;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Province of British Columbia be requested to amend contaminated site regulations to provide for thorough and appropriate consideration of local government input and land use regulations in the contaminated soils permitting process.

ENDORSED BY THE ASSOCIATION OF VANCOUVER ISLAND & COASTAL COMMUNITIES UBCM RESOLUTIONS COMMITTEE

RECOMMENDATION: Endorse with Proposed Amendment

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Province of British Columbia be requested to amend contaminated site regulations to provide for thorough and appropriate consideration of local government input and land use regulations in the contaminated soils permitting process.

UBCM RESOLUTIONS COMMITTEE COMMENTS:

The Resolutions Committee notes that the UBCM membership endorsed resolution B120 in 2012 which asked the Province to “enact legislation and develop appropriate enforcement tools to ensure that relocated contaminated soils pose no risk to aquifers or water courses and that local governments be provided a formal opportunity to comment on applications to relocate contaminated soils to and within their jurisdiction.”

The Committee has proposed an amendment to remove the first enactment clause, as it speaks to the specific area in question and asks the Area Association to take specific action, while the second enactment asks the Province to take action that is in keeping with the broader interests of the membership.

The Committee also notes that the UBCM membership has endorsed several resolutions seeking the protection of groundwater in the past (1989-B25; 1991-B15; 1998-B72; 2000-B22; 2001-B28; 2004-B76)

WHEREAS the Province of British Columbia appears on the verge of approving a contaminated soils facility that would permit the dumping of five million tons of highly contaminated material near the headwaters of the Shawnigan Lake drinking water watershed;

AND WHEREAS the citizens and Board of the Cowichan Valley Regional District have expressed their strong opposition to the proposed facility and the dumping of contaminated material in drinking water watersheds;

AND WHEREAS there are significant conflicting hydrogeological and technical opinions about the risk the facility would pose to the environment and people’s drinking water;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities support the residents of Shawnigan Lake, the Cowichan communities and the Cowichan Valley Regional District in calling on the Province of British Columbia to invoke the precautionary principle and deny the Waste Discharge Permit Application for property at 460 Stebbings Road in Shawnigan Lake;

AND FURTHER that the Province of British Columbia be requested to amend contaminated site regulations to provide for thorough and appropriate consideration of local government input and land use regulations in the contaminated soils permitting process.

ON MOTION, was ENDORSED

Transport Canada’s study on Abandoned and Derelict Vessels in Canada is not reflected in the latest report, which was released on February 21, 2013. BC local governments were asked to complete a survey for Transport Canada in January 2012 to provide information on the extent of abandoned and derelict vessels in BC, detail local government concerns, and identify potential solutions to address the issue.

Please click here to download the report

In follow-up to Island Trust’s request to AVICC, the Executive asked the Joint Working Group for Removal of Derelict Vessels (JWGRDV) to develop a factsheet to assist local governments in the interim of finding a long-term solution for managing derelict vessels. Provincial staff drafted a factsheet by early September; however, because of delays in the legal review process, it has not yet been released.

In follow-up to the session held at 2012 Convention, AVICC Executive invited Graham to attend their June 20 meeting. Discussion touched on a number of issues including tsunami debris, derelict vessels and oil spill preparedness. A session titled “World-Leading Spill Response–Are We Ready?” conducted by the Western Canada Marine Response Corporation will be incorporated into the 2013 Convention program.

AVICC recommended Alberni-Clayoquot’s CAO, Russell Dyson to serve on the Tsunami Debris Management Planning Team with the first meeting being held June 8. Russell has extended an invitation to staff of other affected local governments to develop a communication loop so that all affected are able to provide their input in to the Committee and receive information from the Committee. Download the May 30, 2012 Tsunami Debris Coordinating Committee Update and May 2012 Japanese Tsunami Debris Public Information Sheet produced cooperatively by the provincial and federal governments.

UBCM Policy Analyst Jared Wright is serving on the Tsunami Debris Coordinating Committee. He advises that Delta CAO, George Harvie; Skeena-Queen Charlotte CAO, Joan Merrick; and Karla Robison, Manager of Emergency Services from Ucluelet are also serving on the Tsunami Debris Management Planning Team and there is discussion occurring regarding local government representation on the other sub-committees. A clinic on Tsunami Debris has been included for Tuesday, September 26 at the UBCM Convention.

AVICC Executive will be recommending an amendment to Resolution R11-Tsunami Debris to Hit West Coast in 2014 endorsed by AVICC members in Ucluelet to incorporate the need for a funding strategy to be developed to offset potential costs to local governments. If the amendment is endorsed, the resolution would the read:

“THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that coastal communities on Vancouver Island which may be impacted by the tsunami debris from Japan be involved in any federal/provincial planning processes, including representation on the Provincial Tsunami Debris Working Group that has been developed by the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the provincial and federal governments develop a funding strategy for removal of tsunami debris, to offset potential costs to local governments.”

UBCM endorsed the amended resolution. The UBCM clinic on Tsunami Debris was well received. See the UBCM Clinic PP Presentation.

At mid October the Tsunami Debris Management Planning Team had had five meetings and was entering Phase 2 which focuses on monitoring, information resources, volunteer management, aquatic invasive species, end of life management and surveillance. Twenty-nine individuals are listed as team participants in the meeting minutes.

A draft of the Phase 2 Plan was circulated to stakeholders in late 2012. Although there is recognition of the need for funding, a specific allocation has not been identified and representatives will continue to advocate for that to occur.