Muni morsels: new dock regulations a step closer to fruition, rezoning bylaw pushed

Reports from the September 4 regular council meeting.

After a month-long break, it’s back. Now in the final stretch, Bowen Island’s sixth council is three council meetings away from the end of its term. 

The following are reports from Tuesday night’s special council meeting. 

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Sitting on the (pre-existing) dock of the bay: a bylaw amendment which would prohibit docks that “physically divide a beach” passed second reading in a four-to-three vote. The line was in the first iteration of the dock bylaw, nearly twenty years ago. The previous council removed the wording, though not before the bylaw prevented at least three long docks from being installed on Pebbly Beach as councillor Sue Ellen Fast noted. 

“As a small island municipality, we don’t have the public playing fields and all the other kinds of swimming pools and other kinds of infrastructure that other communities have built,” said Fast. “Instead, we have public foreshore.” 

However, councillors Gary Ander and Michael Kaile spoke up vehemently against the amendment, concerned that it would prevent any future dock development. 

“Frankly, this is an island-wide bylaw,” said Kaile. “I just don’t think it’s been taken seriously enough.” 

The bylaw will now pass to a public hearing. 

Just like Groundhog Day: the third reading for the community lands’ lot one rezoning has been pushed to the next council meeting. The sticking point in the bylaw is zoning the Snug Cove-adjacent property for “light industrial” use (residential use is included in the zoning too.) Council decided to wait for the staff report on the public hearing before deciding whether the bylaw would squeak through before the term ends. Council can hear no more public comment on the bylaw. 

Election issue foreshadowing? With Labour Day in the rear-view mirror, council is looking at tackling the ferry lineup. Acknowledging the summer-long problem of overloads and line jumping, council heard three proposed amendments to the traffic bylaw. These would mandate that vehicles must pull up tightly to the next car in line, that there would be no stopping in the ferry line for any reason other than driving onto the next sailing (such as running into the Snug for a coffee) and that all ferry traffic must line up behind the last car in line. Other suggestions from mayor and council included more ferry marshalling, higher visibility for bylaw officers and scooters for marshals (Mayor Murray Skeels said that the scooters should have flashing red lights.) Municipal staff will take the discussion and write up the ideas for the consideration of the next council. 

It’s a pole-rising matter: Gary Anderson of Logger Sports wants to move the annual Logger Sports event back into Snug Cove. 

“Attendance was way down this year,” said Anderson, noting that the Veterans Park location in the middle of the island was less than ideal for attracting tourists. Anderson says that it could be possible to hold the event in Middle Field (rather than Bowfest Field) and the biggest cost would be setting up and taking down the pole climb poles. 

Council will send a letter to Metro Vancouver, which owns the field land, supporting Anderson’s request. 

Dispension regulation, dude:  The cannabis land use regulation bylaw passed third reading and adoption. However, it’s another month and a half before the October 17 country-wide light up. 

Affordable housing fund: The municipality is setting up a fund to create, maintain and preserve affordable housing on Bowen. Future expenditures from the fund will be decided through council resolution. 

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