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Pender Harbour BBS / LOCAL ISSUES: Decisions and situations that affect all of us in Pender Harbour. / AS YOUR ELECTED REP, I WILL TRY TO ANSWER ALL YOUR QUESTIONS
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# Posted: 11 Mar 2006 17:59

Welcome home, Kerry, but John is still missing.

I will put a notice in the Spiel, but not until John clarifies just what he wants in the way of signatures. The way it's been posted, it sounds like John will only accept taxpayers (property owners) rather than registered voters (residents) and if that's the case, 442 names is impossible-- for anything.

Now will you guys please untie our Regional Director so he can get back to his Area A Director's Office here on the Pender Harbour Discussion Board.

Jane Reid
# Posted: 11 Mar 2006 21:03

Dear John,

Good on you! I'm happy to hear a ball field is actually coming to Pender Harbour. It's long overdue.

Would you please tell me about the agreement between the Lions Club and the Regional District for the use, and construction of the proposed playing field. Could you elaborate on the agreement?

I am somewhat concerned, as it's my understanding the ball field will be owned, and maintained by the Regional District.

IF, and WHEN Pender Harbour were to take another look at Incorporation, this could mean that we, the people of Pender Harbour may have to buy back this field, or remain in the Recreation function. It could prove to be unpopular with the community members that volunteered to help build, then be expected to purchase. This could also have a negative impact on the feasibility of Incorporation.
Have you given any thought to making this an Area A field? I'm sure the good citizens of this area will be contributing much in the development of the field, by donating sweat, time and money. They usually do.
To achieve this you would only need to secure funding from the Recreation function budget for the construction. The maintenance could be provided by the SCRD grant in aid function, annual lump sum from the recreation budget, or Area A as a whole.
As you know, I was the Director that got the SCRD board to support Area A in it's pitch to the Province for the necessary funding to conduct the study of incorporation. I just hope that by the time we get to take another look at it (I'm sure we will), the affordability will not be so diminished as a result of give-aways of our past. You may want history to remember you well.

I recognize, and understand your "coastal community vision" John, just not all of us share your vision. That's a good thing!

P.S. What is the projected budget for the project?

# Posted: 11 Mar 2006 23:17

Hey, I just found this site. It's great! All the talk about buses, and incorporation and all. I'm for the Town of Pender Harbour. We'd at least be dealing with local people governing us with the community's interests in the forefront. Not just 1 person at a table with 6 people that don't even live here making decisions for us. It probably would be great. We'd have 6 people that DO live here making decisions for us. 6 people would be better representation for an entire community than the 1, don't you think?
We don't own property here, but we've lived here for 15 years. We pay our rent and contribute in community affairs. Why can't we have a say in incorporation. We are on the voters list! We are members of this community! When the taxes go up, so does our rent! We are entitled to have a say.

John Rees
# Posted: 12 Mar 2006 10:51

Sorry about that, was really busy last week and when I tried to post back in, had some technical difficulties.
All cleared up now, will try to get back on track.

Madeira Mom was asking last week about a Bus Service here, good question, one that I have been frustrated with for the last few years.
The main problem is that BC Transit Authority will not extend it`s subsidy grant on the Sunshine Coast for new services.
The grant is extremely important, it pays for almost half of the cost of operations and maintenance.
Therefore we in Area A would be faced with the full cost of any kind of plan we undertook.
Last year we estimated it would cost $50.000.00 per year to have a Mid Week and a Weekend service into Sechelt, from Egmont on South. That was one bus per day return. the cost was approximately the same using School Buses or Private carriers.
Over the last couple of years I have tried to get BC Ferries interested in running a Ferry to Ferry service, ie, Langdale to Earl`s Cove, in between the service now provided by Malaspina Coach lines, no luck so far on that one.
A few years ago I sent out a poll enquiry to our entire community requesting feedback on a bus service, describing a basic service and cost, the results were almost dead even for and against with approx. 100 people responding.
I fully realize that this is a growing problem, not only with seniors but also with young folk.
I will gather all the latest information available from the SCRD Transit, and the BC Transit authority on funding available, prepare an information package and get it out to the entire community in the next couple of months.

John Rees
# Posted: 12 Mar 2006 13:36

Was hoping you would have been away for more than a week Kerry, <grin>.

Will try to respond to your questions, accusations?, with the exception of the Incorporation Issue, will address that separately later.

The consolidated financials are on the SCRD website, not the 2006 version as we will not complete that until the end of next week.
In the past, when the budget was between second and third rounds, as it is right , now the SCRD went to Public Information meetings in Sechelt, Gibsons and Pender Harbour looking for public input.
In the last couple of years the turnout was so low, ie, ten people for all three locations combined, that we decided to have only one set of meetings at the SCRD offices, afternoon and evening.
After advertising this took place last week, and in the afternoon session we had four residents show up, one each from Half Moon Bay and Pender Harbour and two from Robert`s Creek. In the evening session, zero attendance.........There was a full package of area by area and consolidated information available for distribution.

The total budget contains about 330 pages of figures and about 200 pages of supportive material. In addition to this we print an annual descriptive brochure, which last year I had placed in our local library.
Each Spring since I was elected I have condensed Area A figures in my "Propaganda" column in the Spiel, and receive a fair amount of comment on that, good and bad.
The reason I ran for public office in the first place was to improve communications, financial and other from what you term as " The good old days ", there simply was nothing out there to inform the public, possibly the final figures showed up sooner or later but never any details.
You ask about remuneration for Directors, not what they do for it, I will cover both. Director`s basic stipend is $7500.00 per year, mainly covering work within your own community, in addition you are required to attend approximately 120 meetings at SCRD offices or other locations throughout the year. They are paid $100.00 per meeting. At the last go around on this topic it was agreed that compensation should be based on attendance rather than stipend, therefore a Director attending every meeting could possibly make about $20,000.00 per yr.
Meetings last between one hour and five hours with the majority being somewhere in the middle of that range. Meeting agendas continually grow larger, it is not unusual to have 300 pages for Planning as an example, however the average would be around 50 to 100 pages. Preparation time has to be considered and of course the travel time. I estimate you could add 3 to 4 hours for each meeting I attend from this location.
Meetings include, Planning, Community Services, Corporate or Financial, Infrastructure, Regional Hospital, Policing, Transportation, Intergovernmental, Sechelt Indian Band, School District , Public Hearings, Public Information and of course Board Meetings.
Locally , we also have numerous mtgs. namely the Area A water Master plan and the Egmont Fire Dept for example.
As Chair of the SCRD i attend all of the above, and also represent the RD at many other functions, including Provincial relationships. My remuneration is a fixed salary of $31,000.00, for which I am expected to work at least 100 more days per yr. than the Directors.
Expenses are simple, 46 cents per kilometer for travel, a lunch and dinner stipend where required.
Hope I have answered your questions Kerry, will get back on the Incorporation discussions later.
I do however agree with you on one thing you say, "It`s just not fun anymore".

John Rees
# Posted: 12 Mar 2006 16:44

Thanks for your posting Jane about the new Community Playing Field at the Lion`s Park.
Will try to answer your questions in order, but will elaborate somewhat so the rest of those following will see what`s happening.
The SCRD will simply be included in the agreement the Lion`s have with the Province, that is a lease agreement expiring in the year 2023 for the recreational use of this land.
The playing field, track, ball diamond and field house would all be owned and maintained by the SCRD.
This was a very kind offer by the Lions, eliminating of course the cost of land, and somewhat helping in a way to revitalize their operations. The SCRD lawyers are currently looking at a legal agreement before any construction takes place.
First this facility would be financed not from the Recreational Function, but from the Community or Regional Parks Function.
Parks, as you know Jane has always been a large portion of our taxation, second only to the Swimming Pool, however we still remain the only area on the Coast without a good facility.
Shirley Macey park in area F, Cliff Gilker park in Robert`s Creek and Connor park in Half Moon Bay have all had copious amounts of support to build and maintain them. It is our turn, we will get this facility and all rural areas on the Sunshine Coast will help pay for it and operate it.
To answer your question on whether this should be an Area A only facility, paid only by local taxpayers makes no sense to me, politically and economically. It is of course attached as always to the Incorporation issue, and I will discuss that later.
You mention my Coastal Community Vision, tell me about that, from day one at the SCRD my absolute priority has been Egmont/Pender Harbour, gain equity in services and cost, if however there is value to this community by supporting other initiatives then so be it.
Project cost was your final question.
We do not have a final budget at this time, however in talking to the consultant and Parks Supervision, and based on other facilities, we feel between $4 and $500,000.00. will do it.
Currently the Consultant is developing drawings and survey data to present to the public. there still remains the problem of adequate space with critical creeks being close, but that is being worked on.
Finally Jane, remember Baker`s Beach, it was purchased during your tenure as our Director, you left shortly after that, and there was an Incorporation vote to boot , the half million dollar cost for that park which we just recently finished paying for did not seem to be a problem for you at the time.

Jane Reid
# Posted: 13 Mar 2006 14:09

With that "bite" John, it seems you haven't got over the Bakers Beach purchase yet. I know you didn't want the park in your neigbourhood, but I still believe it was, and is, a good thing. Just for clarification though. I just can't let your comment pass without reply.The Bakers Beach purchase occured during my 2nd term. The Incorporation vote process was started in my 3rd. term. To my own defense, the Bakers Beach purchase was in no way impacting the feasibilty of Incorporation, as Incorporation wasn't being considered at the time.
Back to the playing field though, I had no idea that this project is budgeted for a half million dollars with a clubhouse to boot. It sure sounds like a class project. There is no doubt that this project will be a postive improvement for the area, reguardless of how it's put together.
Incorporation may come to the forefront again some day though. Many of us gained much experience through the last process. I don't think it is unreasonable to ask our Director of the day to give some consideration to that fact, when he/she is considering some BIG changes in our area. One of these issues could be the RD take over of the GBWD. ????? It's obvious to me that you have become a loud supporter of the Regional governance model, and that's OK. However, there are some of us that would prefer a Municipal style governance so that our community would have more than the 1 person input representing our interests. It seems to me that the 1 person model has an impossible task to represent the entire community on all issues. An elected council of 5-6 persons under the Municipal form of governance would create a more balanced approach on all issues.
That's only one of my thoughts about Incorporation John. I have many more, as you know. You have your own too, and that's a good thing. That's the Democratic model we all enjoy.
Keep up the hard work! You're doing great!

John Rees
# Posted: 13 Mar 2006 16:58

Thanks for that Jane, would like to clear up the Baker Beach thing first. The problem that we and our neighbours had and have with the Park is nothing to do with the Park itself, we all love the place. It was always the access, on a winding narrow gravel road, the dust in the summer time is incredible. We thought that the road was planned as a staight through of Billy Goat Trail, with parking down there someplace.
We now have a promise that Davis and Baker will be paved this year, and that will certainly help.
Regardless your comment about Area A owned facility reminded me of that aquisition, not intended to be negative on the park.
Just a couple of additional items on the Lion`s Project.
In the 2005 budget we put $50.000.00 aside for starters, the 2006 budget has $75,000.00 in it and the same for 2007.
With that $200k we made an application for a matching 2010 Olympic grant, we do not know the result of that yet, however Area A has a committment from the rest of the rural areas that this is a priority. Depending on the grant application we can of course borrow the balance to complete, with all five areas paying.

You make some interesting points on Incorporation, and I will debate all of them, I have been gathering information on the process and will start on it pretty soon.......

Jane Reid
# Posted: 13 Mar 2006 20:15

Another study would be far more informative than a debate. It is not uncommon for the Areas that have studied incorporation once, do it for the second time. Actually, I think it the norm. It's quite likely that the SCRD would be successful in it's bid for the funding, especially as the last vote was so close. Municipal Affairs would not likely approve funding until the Southcoast restructure has been completed anyway. If the Southcoast does incorporate, all of the figures that you are gathering for your debate would be irrelevant. A study is the only way! Open, transparent, and inclusive is the key to success of any process. I believe we failed at that last time. Perception is paramount.
The ball is in your park<grin>(the Regional model of governance at work)
This mini debate was most enjoyable though, John. We'll have to do it again sometime.

# Posted: 13 Mar 2006 21:06

Sounds like case closed, or is it......?

John Rees
# Posted: 13 Mar 2006 23:50

Jane writes, " the ball is in my court" on Incorporation, no debate required, just make an application for a study.
That was probobaly the main reason you lost last time.
Sorry Jane, I represent a lot more than a few " Madeira Experts," if the local government were to change, most folk would prefer to see or hear some logical discussion and then decide on their terms not yours.
The records do not show that it is the " Norm." to try again, my records only go back to 1984 and terminate in 2003, however no community in BC in that period has gone back again after failing, let`s get that one clear to begin with.
I have not been gathering any figures, I already know them, I have been checking on the rights of residents, and how to approach this issue with due dilligence.
Just to get the record straight, in 1999 the Community voted 54.5% to reject Incorporation, 1179 people voted at that time.

The Province feels that generally , communittees consider Municipal Incorporation for the following five reasons..........

Dissatisfaction with any or all all of the above, and shown by a broad range of the public are the normal motivaters for a request for incorporation..................Any comments, fire away. 0

# Posted: 14 Mar 2006 19:53

Oh! John.

I had no idea that incorporation was rejected by such a narrow margin. Its a good thing that people like our family have moved up here since 1999 and very much favour having our own local government. If we plead with Victoria, perhaps they will give us a chance at another vote?

One thing is for sure, without our our own government, the Harbour is never going to become organized enough to attact the investment that will create jobs for our kids when they hopefully seek to return here after college.

There's no question that Pender Harbour is the most desirable place to live in the country, but let's protect the environment and boost the economy in order that the Harbour will stay that way for future generations.

# Posted: 15 Mar 2006 10:28 - Edited by: Myrwin

Just to get the record straight, in 1999 the Community voted 54.5% to reject Incorporation, 1179 people voted at that time.

The 1999 election had an unprecedented and yet-to-be-matched 65% voter turnout, but there were errors in the incorporation part of it-- people were wrongly issued ballots (people outside the area) and some new registrations were "questionable" according to Lorraine Goddard, SCRD Chief Election Officer.

I spoke with Municipal Affairs after this vote, and they told me that, even though they would "have a problem" if 54 illegal or incorrect votes were cast, that they would not order a re-vote because incorporation referendums rarely pass the first time around. I was told, by Municipal Affairs, that most communities incorporate with their second referendum. So, the investigation into illegal/incorrect ballots was dropped because it wouldn't make any difference.

It's also interesting to note that 477 people voted for Don Murray, the only candidate against incorporation. However, 784 people voted for another candidate (there were five candidates in that election).

# Posted: 15 Mar 2006 10:39

Reposted from March 6 because I think John missed this very important question:

John, when you say that I must provide you with names of "legitimate taxpayers" and use the number 442 (derived from the 2002 election), do you mean 442 elegible voters?

This was to clarify John's post of March 4: for your request for a new study, I will make you a promise, if you can produce a petition, showing 442 authenticated names in favour, I will take that to the SCRD and request that we make an application for Phase 1 support, a grant to conduct a study to establish public interest.

John Rees
# Posted: 15 Mar 2006 23:12

Sorry Myrwin, have been in Budget meetings every day, will respond to your " very important question " soon.
I am checking on a couple of issues, one being that the Province decribes elligible voters as Landowners, and then contradicts that by allowing voters with just residence status.
Anyway, what was your question again,? and please be specific.

# Posted: 17 Mar 2006 12:11

Thanks Paws.

Your critisism is right on. Both sides should have a vote.

This day and age should have a very simple and secure system and if Bill Gates gets wind of this possible new program he will have it ready before
Labour Day and before the New Year he can chalk up another few millions.
But I am sure that the possibility is there.
Tell you what Paws, next time he comes to visit me I'll give you a call and we'll discus the split of the commission between us. Of course JR will get some too.

Jane Reid
# Posted: 17 Mar 2006 20:39

Dear John,

I just read your reply to my last post, and I'm a wee bit confused when you say "I lost" the incorporation vote. Don't you mean "we"? You campaigned as hard as anyone for the "yes" side, didn't you? I think you misunderstood what I meant by "do the study". Only a study will prove what the numbers look like, and the pros and cons of incorporation. Yes, I too think the residents should be, and will be, the ones to decide if they want to incorporate. If you don't do a study then YOU are deciding "NO" to incorporation, and not giving the community a look at it, or a choice. Doing a study does not mean the community will choose to incorporate, only gives them the opportunity to look it over, and make an informed decision. I, for one, don't want you doing that for me.
I haven't talked with Municipal Affairs about this issue since way back, but they are the ones that told me that it is not unusual for a community to reject the first time, but sometimes go for it the second time around. If that's not so, (and I haven't done my homework on it), I'm sorry for that comment. I thought the purpose of this message board is to discuss issues. I'm not looking for a dispute.

John Rees
# Posted: 17 Mar 2006 23:43

Obviously Jane we dissagree on the meaning of a study to determine how an incorporation process can begin.
It appears that you think we can simply apply for a grant to get it started, and I feel that there is more to it than that.
Consideration for Municipal Status is rooted in resident`s individual values, and so the process must respect the many and varied perspectives that the residents of the community may have.
To me that means everyone should have a say, including residents from Egmont, Sakinaw, Ruby, Earl`s Cove and Middlepoint.
I am elected to represent all these folks, how can I initiate a process that does not include them.?
Of course I would request a study if it was the will of the community, the whole community, the problem is how do we establish that.?
So far I have only heard from a small group in Madeira Park and one person in Garden Bay [indirectly], do you consider that a broad range of support?
In Sept. 2003 the Province put out a document called,
A Guide To Municipal Incorporation.
This guide on page 7 describes the role of the Regional District and the Regionanal District Director.
"The regional district is the local government for unincorporated areas, and is responsible for administering the restructure planning grant, which supports the study and the public consultation process.
The Electoral area director has an important role in the local initiative to consider incorporation and is considered an ex offico member of the committee. Generally, the Ministry will support a local initiative only if the director is involved in the design of the initiative, and has no objections to the idea of an incorporation study process."
With all due respect to you Jane, and the work you did as a Director, I feel I am doing my job also........

# Posted: 18 Mar 2006 09:10 - Edited by: Myrwin

To me that means everyone should have a say, including residents from Egmont, Sakinaw, Ruby, Earl`s Cove and Middlepoint.

If that's true, then why weren't those people included in the first incorporation referendum? Why weren't they included in the animal control AAP? Why wasn't Madeira Park and Garden Bay asked if they wanted a fire dept. in Egmont?

# Posted: 18 Mar 2006 10:06

It seems to me that to include communities as diverse as Middle Point and Earl's Cove in an incorporation study would be inappropriate. The geographic area that makes sense are the lands surrounding one of West Coast's most beautiful harbours....and yes, the study is needed to enhance and preserve the Harbour's environmental quality for future generations...while at the same time creating new opportunities for economic sustainability.

Oh by the way, of course we shouldn't leave out Bargain Harbour/Bay where an important community leader makes his home.

We may not know what the incorporation process entails, but it makes sense to first lobby our Area A representaive for his support. Perhaps getting a petition going directed at the regional district would carry some weight?

But, before we get going on the above, what is really needed is a manifesto clearly setting out the significant advantages of incorporation which should be delivered to all Pender Harbour households.

John Rees
# Posted: 18 Mar 2006 11:54

Myrwin, the Animal Control issue did not include the areas you mention simply because there had been no complaints from them.
Consequently they were not asked to share in the cost.
The creation of a new Fire District for Egmont, Earl`s Cove, Ruby and Sakinaw where accessible was also separated out for obvious reasons, ie, those residents have to pay for it locally.
And finally, why were they left out of the first Incorporation vote?
For that you will have to ask Jane.
Those areas represent approximatey 30% of Area A taxbase, In my opinion not a very good way to start off a new Municipality.
Municipalities all over the Province are reaching out as they grow to annex areas such as this, to get a more diverse taxbase.
It seems that we should reverse that process.
I also know that there was a substantial Petition against incorporation from within the boundaries described by the steering committee, ie, the Irvine`s Landing area, why were they not excluded, or at least included on the study committee.
It really does not make good economic sense to Incorporate an area consisting of approximately 95% residential and 5% commercial as a fixed taxbase, fixed because you draw the line to future growth. Most municipalities feast on business and in some cases industrial taxes to get the goodies people would like to have.
The design proposed here would cripple business and overtax the residents.

# Posted: 18 Mar 2006 12:05

The design proposed here would cripple business and overtax the residents.

How do you know John? Are you sitting on some figures that the people who are interested in a least knowing the feasibility of incorporation might like to know? Has the SCRD done an internal study of this issue? It sounds to me like this is all speculation at this point, maybe instead of giving us the usual political B.S., you could give us exactly what you would like to see to at least start a study on the feasibility of incorporation. Straight forward honesty would be greatly appreciated, as there are some of us that just want to know if it's possible.

John Rees
# Posted: 18 Mar 2006 12:56

Currently in all rural ares such as Area A, business pays 2.4 times the residential tax rate, and industry pays 4 times the residential rate.
If the area was incorporated, business would, in addition to business licences, pay 4 times the residential rate.
In some larger areas this rate is subject to further increases, in fact as high as 8 times the residential rate.
Under Regional Disrict governance rules, the rural rate is fixed as I described in the first sentence.
In my posting of Mar. 17, 23:43 I think that I made my position clear on the incorporation issue. Actually i`m dissappointed that you think this is political Bullshit, however, on re reading this material it looks to me that I am the only one discussing it logically ........For you Annonymus.......

# Posted: 18 Mar 2006 13:07 - Edited by: annonymous

You still haven't given exactly what you want to see to start a study on the feasibility, so until then, yes i feel you are dishing out the political Bull Shit quite well, you seem to be more focused on squashing the whole idea, than you are at giving the public a chance to see some actual and factual figures derived by people who have no say in the matter. And it's only the SCRD brainwashing that makes you think you are being logical, remember John, they want our tax dollars as much as we want to keep our tax dollars local.

# Posted: 18 Mar 2006 13:27

what is really needed is a manifesto clearly setting out the significant advantages of incorporation which should be delivered to all Pender Harbour households.

The problem here is that the old study is badly outdated, so there's no way to provide current, accurate information for people until a new feasability study is done.

# Posted: 18 Mar 2006 13:30

The problem here is that the old study is badly outdated, so there's no way to provide current, accurate information for people until a new feasability study is done.

Exactly Myrwin, so why can't he give us who these 442 people need to be, either voter/landowners, or voter/taxpayers?

# Posted: 18 Mar 2006 13:39

Because he's been in Budget meetings every day...

# Posted: 18 Mar 2006 13:43

Sure, but he's got plenty of time to try and dissuade though , doesn't he?

John Rees
# Posted: 18 Mar 2006 15:45

Just taking a little time out for some community functions, talking about which, tomorrow we have our sixth annual beach, foreshore and roads cleanup.
Sponsored by the Power Squadron, we will meet at the Milleneum Park at 10am and go in all directions from there.
There are similar efforts at Garden Bay.
Since you are so community minded Annonymus, you could come along and maintain your status, we issue plastic bags, you could get two, and put one over your head.
Myrwin, finished Budget on Thursday last <g>

Amelia Bedelia
# Posted: 18 Mar 2006 15:55 - Edited by: Amelia Bedelia

Actually John
Annon. was going to pick me up tomorrow- But now that you are suggesting he suffocate himself with a plastic bag....I'm not so sure he's going to make it.

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