Mini muni morsels: January 28 council meeting

The following are briefs from the Jan. 28 municipal council meeting.

The rezoning of the Unions Steamship Company Marina to accommodate up to 16 “floating attached dwellings” passed second reading and will go to public hearing. This is for the housing units that owners Rondy and Dorothy Dike are building to accommodate their staff, due to the island’s housing shortage. Two dwellings are already built with another expected in the spring.

Bowen Island Resilient Community Housing executive director Robyn Fenton came before council to request funding of $100,000 over four years ($25,000 a year) for the organization from the community grants fund. The funding would be to support vital operations, to maintain momentum for the lot 3 housing project and would involve the organization taking on responsibilities such as surveying annual housing needs, maintaining an affordable housing wait list and advocating for innovative housing projects and policies. Fenton noted that although she was paid a small honorarium last year, much of her 211 hours last year was on a volunteer basis.
“I feel like the grinch,” said chief financial officer Raj Hayre as he recommended against approving the grant. The fund is a budgeted $142,800 for 2019, most of which is already spoken for ($58,040 for the arts council, $32,000 for the museum and archives, $12,440 for the community school.)
“I don’t know if this is the right avenue,” said Mayor Gary Ander.
Councillor Maureen Nicholson noted that every councillor has said that they are concerned about the housing shortage.
In the end, council deferred the decision to February and plan to ask the Community Foundation if they might be willing to support BIRCH.
Fenton also said that the organization would rather receive a smaller amount of money than no money at all if that made the proposal more financially feasible for the municipality.

The Islands Trust released its proposed 2019 budget last week. Bowen has a 13 per cent projected tax levy increase, $38,725 more than last year. This brings Bowen’s 2019 Island’s Trust contribution up to $332,658. To learn more and give feed back visit islandstrust.bc.ca/trust-council/budget/.

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