Muni Morsels: cats, community grants and Lot 3 resolutions

The following are briefs from the May 27 regular council meeting.

All jokes aside, James Glave and family have a very cute cat.

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Plugging into the feline demographic:

The meows outside the window of Monday night’s council meeting were soft at first but grew more insistent. After a couple shooing attempts by the public works manager (who colleagues report is in fact a cat person) the feline found his furry way into chambers.

Seated on councillor Maureen Nicholson’s lap, the cat heard about the three potential locations for Bowen’s first electric vehicle charging station. The cat had a vested interest in this conversation as one of his owners, James Glave, is chair of the transportation committee.

Jax the cat made a comic cameo at Monday nigh's council meeting. He is known around Bowen for being a total sweetheart. - Bronwyn Beairsto

In the end, council unanimously opted to place the station in the library parking lot immediately beside the hydro pole. Councillors heard that public works was giving up a parking space to make this location possible.

Councillor Sue Ellen Fast was particularly enthusiastic about the space, noting that the visibility of the spot allows the municipality to lead by example in terms of climate action.

The charging station is one of two the municipality purchased in October 2018 with funds from BC Hydro. The municipality will hold off on installing a second station as it watches usage of the first.


But no money for scratching posts:

Council awarded just over $42,000 in community grants Monday evening. The Caring Circle and children’s centre received substantial amounts of $13,000 and $10,000 respectively. The rest of the money was divvyed up among eleven projects in amounts between $3000 and $750. Organizations that received funding include the agricultural alliance, Bowfest committee, disc golf club, SwimBowen and Light Up Bowen. Unlike years past, the municipality had just one grant intake for 2019.

Though council had previously turned down Bowen Island Resilient Community Housing (BIRCH)’s community grant application for $25,000 in operational funding for 2019 , council voted to request that staff find funding elsewhere in the budget for BIRCH. The thinking in initially denying BIRCH’s request was so as to not deplete the community grants pot. Basically, councillors said they would like to see BIRCH get the money, they’re just not sure from where yet.


The path forward:

By next year’s bike to school week, given no more bumps in the road, youth should be able to bike along at least 180 metres of the multiuse cross-island path.

Council approved a $270,000 increase to the phase one project budget Monday. Community planner Emma Chow said the budget discrepancy was due to inaccurate engineering estimates. Though councillors voiced disappointment in the additional funds required, only Councillor Alison Morse voted against the motion (though her quibble was with the placement of phase one). 

The multiuse path is part of the muni’s 20-year transportation plan adopted last year (Chow called it the “spine” of the plan). The five-phase project of a path alongside Trunk/Grafton/Adams Road is slated for completion in the early 2030s but construction of the first part is expected to take eight weeks starting in June.

Instead of starting at one end of the island, phase one covers the Charlie’s Lane area of Grafton Road. With a cliff on one side, steep slope on the other and the road turning a sharp corner, Chow says in her report that the section is one of the most dangerous of the path’s route. She also says it’s likely the costliest phase (due to the aforementioned obstacles). The awarded contract price comes out at nearly $600,000.


Landing on a resolution:

Lot 3
Council approved the new proposed subdivision of Lot 3 of the Community Lands Monday evening. - Bowen Island Municipality

 Bowen Island Resilient Community Housing (BIRCH) and Bowen Island Health Centre Foundation (BIHCF) will each receive .15 hectare (just over a third of an acre) parcels of Lot 3 of the Community Lands. Both are adjacent to the fire hall lot with the health centre bordering Miller Road and BIRCH’s housing project behind it.

The allocations come after months of discussion between the Mayor’s Standing Committee on the Community Lands and the two organizations as to how to best use the valuable stretch of flat Cove land.

“We’re very, very pleased,” BIRCH executive director Robyn Fenton told council of the new plan.

In a letter to council, Tim Rhodes, president of BIHCF, said that his organization too supported the plan.

It passed unanimously.


How many of those visitors were deer?

Nicholson, who is on the Metro’s parks committee, told council that Metro parks’ statistics show Crippen Park’s visitation was up 4.5 per cent in 2018. With 290,000 visitors, Crippen had record high visitation last year.


Disclosure: this author is a tenant of the chair of BIRCH.

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