I would like to use this Mayor's Report to provide short updates to the community on several important initiatives currently underway by the municipality.
Budget: Preparation of our 2011 budget process is underway. Staff is preparing a budget to meet council's fiscal targets of a tax increase of no more than three per cent and a contribution to municipal reserves of no less than three per cent. We have some challenging choices as we seek to balance the needs of the community with costs of our services, infrastructure investments, and savings.
Wastewater Treatment Plant: The expansion and environmental upgrade of the plant, required for any further development in Snug Cove, is funded jointly by federal, provincial, and municipal money. Upon completion, waste water effluent will be clean enough to irrigate playing fields. Plant construction is targeted to complete in late June.
Fire Hall: Council has approved the concept of a satellite fire hall on the west side of the island. The preferred site is at the intersection of Cromie Road right-of-way and Adams Road. An environmental evaluation has been completed and a survey of the site is being conducted in order to assess the space requirements.
Tunstall Bay Boat Ramp: The boat ramp construction project is in the draft 2011 capital budget and detailed construction drawings are currently being prepared. Municipal staff are continuing to work with Department of Fisheries and Oceans to ensure that all plans meet the permit requirements. The project is intended to be completed in 2011.
Roads: Staff is currently planning this year's road works according to the priorities set out in their Island Road Strategy. Last year staff completed replacement of the failing culvert at the Grafton Road crossing of Terminal Creek, a major road rehabilitation program, continuation the Taylor Road slope stability project, continuation of the path between the Fire Hall and Grafton Lake, and installation of pavement markers.
Official Community Plan Update: Within the OCP update process, we are consulting with the public regarding how we regulate development on our steepest slopes, within environmentally sensitive areas, and around watercourses and fish-bearing streams. Development permit areas will be established in the OCP with complementary guidelines and exemptions in the Land Use Bylaw to ensure public safety and environmental protection. Completion of the OCP update is expected by June.
Snug Cove Planning: Design of several ferry marshalling and village design options is underway by our planning department and consultant James Tuer. These will be brought forward later this spring for public consideration and comment. Based on this public input, Council will decide on a ferry marshalling plan for Snug Cove.
National Park: Council has asked for public input on a set of preliminary guiding principles regarding a national park on Bowen Island. The principles were drafted by the national park council committee. Public comments are to be directed to the national park community advisory committee (NPCAC). The NPCAC has been working hard, meeting weekly, and deserves praise for their professionalism, impartiality, and commitment to fair process. They have created a website with answers to diverse questions (www.bowenparkinfo.ca), are conducting community polls to identify how best to inform islanders, and are coordinating information meetings around the island.
Abandoned Vessels: Abandoned vessels in Deep Bay have posed a frustrating challenge for the municipality. Staff efforts to work with the province have recently paid off. One of the sunken and abandoned sailboats was removed from Pebbly Beach by the provincial Ministry of Natural Resource Operations, who contracted a marine salvage contractor to remove the vessel. The municipality is continuing to work with various agencies to seek solutions.