Muni Morsels: ferry lineup bylaw advances, BIRCH and muni negotiations to continue

Briefs from the April 23 council meeting.

The following are briefs from the April 23 regular council meeting: 

Property tax: 

Since council adopted the budget in the last council meeting, a tax rate bylaw came forward Tuesday. It set Bowen’s municipal residential tax rate (mill rate) at 2.11, Metro Vancouver tax rate at 0.04 and Islands Trust rate at 0.13. It passed unanimously. 

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Just in time for tourist season: 

A revised ferry lineup bylaw returned to council. The bylaw now reads that a vehicle must enter the lineup behind the last vehicle in line (and enter the shortest line) or in the first open space closest to the dock. It says that vehicles must pull up within 0.6 metres  (24 inches) of the car in front of it. It also includes no parking on the cross-hatched areas, no stopping in the line for any purpose other than boarding the next ferry and no parking overnight. 

Council heard that BIM staff plan an education approach to enforcement of this bylaw though continued infractions would prompt ticketing. Bylaw officers or contract workers would monitor the lineup during weekday peak sailings and historically busy weekends over six-months.

Bylaw would report back to council at the end of six months to let them know how enforcement is going. A staff report to council said that enforcing this bylaw will cost approximately $10,000 over six months.

Council passed second and third readings of the bylaw with only councillor Alison Morse opposed. 

Empty vessels:

Four boats in Mannion Bay are marked for demolition – or will be if BIM gets a section 20 letters from Transport Canada. Council heard that bylaw services has identified four vessels in various states of disrepair (two have sunk) in Mannion Bay as candidates for removal. Though federal funding to remove damaged and abandoned boats is available through the Abandoned Boats Program, municipalities must first have possession. Transport Canada grants possession through a section 20 letter, but it requires the municipality advertise its intention for 30 days before taking possession. All four boats have anecdotal owners but BIM has nothing in writing from said owners and it says none have claimed financial responsibility. 

Though councillors said they were concerned about letting the boat owners off the hook, they voted unanimously to apply for the section 20 letters. 

Lot 3 landscape:

Council opted to wait to solidify any land allotments for the Health Centre Foundation or Bowen Island Resilient Community Housing (BIRCH) until next council meeting. 

Council had been set to vote on recommendations from the Mayor’s Standing Committee on the Community Lands.

The committee, resurrected earlier this year to examine best uses of the municipally held lands, has recommended that council reduce BIRCH’s Lot 3 allotment by a quarter and the health centre’s by half. Council previously passed resolutions to provide the non-profits with 0.48 hectares and 0.14 hectares of Lot 3 respectively. 

The Health Centre Foundation, in a letter to council, accepted the committee’s recommendation, though asked that the proposed 0.08 hectares be increased to 0.10 hectares to allow for an ambulance bay at the health centre.   

BIRCH, also in a letter to council, rejected the committee’s proposal. It noted in particular that the land selected for BIRCH is a rocky outcrop and would require significant and expensive blasting. 

BIRCH executive director Robyn Fenton addressed council Tuesday and said that she sees BIRCH and the municipality as partners and that this isn’t a matter of “giving and taking” land. Fenton said that the words “clean slate” had been thrown around for a meeting next week between BIRCH and the mayor’s committee. She requested that as many councillors as possible be in the room for the meeting and that the meeting be open to the public.

No game of thrones here:

Quarry Park is getting a permanent pit toilet. Limited parking in the area concerned some councillors but necessity won.  

Electric ferry:

Council voted unanimously to write a letter to the Islands Trust asking for it to consider including BC Ferries electrification advocacy in its strategic plan. 

Disclosure: the author of this piece is a tenant of the president of BIRCH.

 

 

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