The following are briefs from the April 8 council meeting:
Expressing interest: The Bowen Island Transportation Society, a non-profit group of local commuters dedicated to improving islanders’ transportation options, is in negotiations to buy Peter King’s express bus service, council heard Monday. The society estimates that between 75 and 100 people use the service daily. King began the bus service in 2015 during the Queen of Capilano’s refit. It hasn’t been smooth sailing, but through breakdowns and bureaucratic hoops, King’s persevered. The bus works with the Cormorant Marine water taxi to provide passage from Bowen through to Vancouver and back. The current plan is to buy and stabilize the business. Julian Barrera, who gave the presentation to council, said that the society wants to ensure that the core service is sustainable. He said that the society would be approaching council for endorsement, bus parking spaces and inclusion in future transportation planning, but they wouldn’t be asking for money. He said that the society hopes to be a member-driven society and they intend to fundraise withn the membership (which they hope to grow from the current 5 to the more than 900 who are part of the facebook group.)
Council voted to encourage the society to work with the Transportation Advisory Committee.
Starbucks hole 9: Bowen now has a public spaces naming policy. This includes “guidelines and criteria for naming municipally owned public spaces related to recreation, parks, trails, and community amenities or equipment.” Manager of recreation and community services Shauna Jennings said that the policy came up in part due to the proposed disc golf course – the idea being that businesses and individuals could sponsor holes. She assured council that any naming would ultimately be up to council.
Up you go: A proposal to build a tramway down a steep embankment on Smugglers’ Cove Road will receive a variance permit after a five-to-two vote.
The tramway is to be constructed in the 30-metre setback from the ocean set out in the Land Use Bylaw. Councillor Sue Ellen Fast said that she was worried about the precedent such a variance sets and that shorelines should remain in their natural conditions. Councillor Rob Wynen said he was concerned that if council allowed this, what else would they allow in the 30-metre setback. Councillor Michael Kaile said that he thought the design is extremely discreet and given that the neighbours agreed and the existing staircase is rather treacherous, he would support the variance.
Whose line is it anyway?: Four of the six Cape Roger Curtis docks are up for licence renewal. Though docks and permanent moorage facilities are now banned at Cape Roger Curtis, these docks were approved in 2013, predating the bylaw by two years. The municipality’s role in the renewal is advisory but council voted four to three to recommend that the province refuse renewal for all four docks. Councillors Maureen Nicholson, David Hocking, Fast and Wynen voted in favour of refusal.
“It’s a clear statement from us,” said Nicholson. “It’s about being honest with them.”
Sticking points for councillors included that construction of two of the docks didn’t adhere to the submitted design drawings (including the dock with the spiral staircase). On this point planning and development manager Daniel Martin said that provincial representatives had told him that they weren’t concerned as the docks had been built within the tenure area.
Another Issue was how well used the docks are. According to the staff report, not one of the four docks has a float in the water, bringing into question if anyone uses the docks. Councillors debated what constitutes “diligent use.”
The third sticking point was public response. While Nicholson cited the widely-circulated “stop the docks” petition of 2013, Kaile noted that public response to the dock controversy was mixed and that a number of people wrote in favour of the Cape owners. Council voted to forward all public correspondence related to these four docks to the province.
Ander noted that Martin had consulted with the province on the points that stuck with council and the province hadn’t been concerned. He voted against recommending the refusal of the requests.
Get your requests in now: council passed first, second and third readings of a formal freedom of information bylaw for the municipality. The bylaw essentially charges $7.50 for every half hour of staff time dedicated to retrieving a requested record plus additional fees. The accompanying staff report says that the fee is the actual cost of providing the service.
The bylaw now just needs to pass adoption.