Well, another week, another batch of learning and new experiences. Some highlights:
Medals for Wrestlers!
On Saturday I had the privilege of representing City Council and the City of Port Alberni along with Councillor Ron Paulson and former Mayor Ken McRae at the 42nd Annual Alberni Invitiational wrestling tournament. It is most definitely the highlight of my work on City council so far. Being surrounded by the youth of the community in our fabulous ADSS campus with the support of their friends and family was really great. My kids are always so excited to have any reason to go to ADSS. They keep asking me if they will go there when they are in High School. I assure them they will and then a little part of me wishes I could go back to school with them!
Obviously both ADSS the building and ADSS the people are inspiring. My kids certainly think so. I can only assume other kids feel the same way and that is a huge asset for our community.
Strategic Planning gets off the ground along with 5yr Plan.
The Council started its Strategic Planning process last Monday with the help of our excellent in-house expert facilitator Theresa Kingston.
We are about half way through. We will be finishing it off this coming Monday before we swing right into the Budget process.
You can see the full schedule and working papers for this years Budget and Five Year Financial Plan on the website. Bookmark that link! It will grow to include all of the department reports and other information you will need to know if you want to give feedback for budgeting.
Port Authority and Kiters:
This… is awesome…. and it’s one of many awesome pictures at the popular local wind sports website Bigwavedave.ca. It’s a real potential boon for our City as hundreds of water sport enthusiasts are ready and willing to come to Port Alberni in the summer to enjoy our hot weather and afternoon breezes.
Unfortunately, there are also safety concerns. The Port Alberni Port Authority (PAPA) raised those concerns this past week and may ban kiteboarding from the Centennial Pier. There were some passionate words spoken by members of the public at the Council meeting last night to go along with a strong outcry on social media from local and out of town kiters.
The good news is there is dialogue both between the PAPA and water users, and the City and PAPA as well. The Centennial Pier is PAPA property and they have responsibility to ensure our harbour is safe and accessible for all users on the water. I hope the user groups and authority can all work together to ensure the harbour is used to its peak potential and I know the City will play a part in that when needed.
The watershed continues to be an area of concern for both me and the council as a whole. I brought forward a motion proposing to pause all activity in the City of Port Alberni Bainbridge and China Creek watershed until such time that a Watershed Management Plan was in place.
Council decided not to pass this motion, to take from the summary of the meeting. “Council’s focus is on continuing to build a positive relationship with forest companies and engaging in ongoing discussions regarding protection of the watershed.” I know my fellow councillors share my concerns and that their patience is not infinite. In the meantime, I continue gathering information. Here are some links I’ve gathered from government and industry sources.
“Removal of vegetation and steep slopes can contribute to increased erosion and sedimentation of the reservoir, resulting in diminished water quality.”
“Lessons from the Future” by the Forest Practices Board and UBC researchers in 2003 (specifically mentioning the Port Alberni and Nanaimo watersheds).
“The auditor general [of british columbia] estimated that adding filtration systems to municipalities outside of Vancouver and Victoria would cost $700 million in capital costs and $30 million annually.”
“Timber harvest can increase water yield, suspended solids and temperature in streams. In general, total runoff increases with forest disturbance due to reduced interception and transpiration by the forest canopy.”
“The trees intercept rain and dissipate rainfall energy, reducing the volume and energy of rain reaching the forest floor. Water on the forest floor moves within the litter cover layer which slows water movement. This allows more water to infiltrate the soil, leaving less water to contribute to surface runoff.”
Community Stakeholders Initiative to End Homeless
As rep for the City at the CSI table I participated in the first plenary session that will result in an updated plan of action for ending homelessness in our community.
That’s all for now! This week is The Local Government Leadership Academy Elected Officials Seminar in Parksville! 3 days! It is really our last big initiation training as councillors. We will have a chance to meet councillors and directors from the surrounding communities on Vancouver Island and learn about how to do our jobs and communicate together effectively. I will likely post pictures and comments on Facebook at least if not twitter.