The SCRD board drafted the following resolutions which will be submitted to the next conference of the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (April 17-19, 2020 in Nanaimo). If passed, these resolutions will be forwarded to the UBCM (Union of BC Municipalities) conference in September.
UBCM advocates with senior governments on issues that concern local government. I’d like to give a big thank you to our Corporate Officer, Sherry Reid, who researched these issues on our behalf and drafted the resolutions.
WHEREAS a large volume of marine debris including plastics, styrofoam, components of boats, docks, and fishing gear is increasingly washing up on local shores which is environmentally damaging to marine environments, poses risks to fish and wildlife, creates a safety hazard for marine traffic, and places added pressure on communities to collect and haul shoreline marine debris to disposal facilities which is costly and logistically complex;
AND WHEREAS local governments have no jurisdiction on shorelines, as that is under the authority of the Province, and provincial efforts to increase producer responsibility for product stewardship have not been sufficient at reducing pollution caused by marine debris due to the diversity of materials and their often unknown source of origin:
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) urge the provincial government to adequately resource and develop a provincial program to assist with marine debris shoreline clean-up efforts that focusses on increasing regulation and enforcement for sectors responsible for the majority of marine debris, expanding recycling options for commonly found materials such as styrofoam, and funding communities that are struggling to address significant marine debris pollution on their shorelines so that regular community-led shoreline clean-up events are supported and collected marine debris can be safely transported to disposal facilities.
WHEREAS stormwater run-off and drainage related problems such as flooding, erosion, and slope instability are becoming increasingly prevalent in rural areas due to development pressures and are being exacerbated by the effects of climate change which results in more variable, intense, and frequent storm events;
AND WHEREAS the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, as the subdivision approving authority, is primarily responsible for the design and maintenance of drainage works related to public roads in rural areas, and does not enforce or regulate stormwater and drainage related problems from one property to the next once development has been approved:
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) advocate for increased collaboration between the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, regional districts, and municipalities to develop and implement management strategies that:
- recognize the need for an integrated stormwater management approach that plans at the watershed level as well as at the individual development level;
- are responsive to ongoing development pressures and challenges associated with climate change;
- increase provincial oversight of the implementation of stormwater related components of subdivision approvals on an ongoing basis;
- increase the Province’s ability to address concerns from residents on an ongoing basis about property damage and safety issues that arise from stormwater and drainage related problems; and,
- incorporate the impacts of planned upstream forestry activities in their drainage assessments.
Secondary Rural Road Maintenance
WHEREAS there is growing concern about the state of secondary roads in rural communities that are in need of safety improvements such as more frequent refreshment of pavement lane markings which are essential to ensuring the safe flow of vehicle, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic, especially in more remote areas where street lighting may be minimal or non-existent;
AND WHEREAS the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, as the responsible authority for the public road network in rural areas, oversees rural road maintenance through highway maintenance service contracts according to terms set out by the Province that define levels for maintenance standards and a budget for each specific service area:
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) urge the provincial government to review service level standards and increase funding for the upkeep of secondary roads in the provincial road network to ensure safe and accessible transportation options for rural communities who depend on them for day-to-day personal and business transportation needs.
WHEREAS the RCMP and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure have authority for enforcing parking regulations outside of municipal boundaries, including the removal of abandoned or unlicensed vehicles that may be illegally parked on rural roads, which is time consuming, costly, and takes away resources from other important community priorities;
AND WHEREAS regional districts have no authority for parking enforcement or removal of abandoned vehicles from rural roads but, as the representative local government with a direct connection to the community, must address resident concerns about abandoned vehicles that may be illegally parked or impacting the safe movement of pedestrians, traffic, or emergency vehicles in areas such as accesses to docks, boat launches, roads near waterfront parks, or areas where parking is limited:
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) urge the provincial government to provide additional funding resources to support rural RCMP detachments or the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure in responding to time consuming and costly removal and disposal of abandoned vehicles from rural roads, and to ensure that community safety concerns are prioritized and adequately attended to.
Medical Cannabis Safety Concerns
WHEREAS the federal Cannabis Act controls the production, distribution, sale and possession of cannabis in Canada, including the application and licensing of medical cannabis production facilities which should be compliant with local bylaws according to criteria set out for applicants in the process administered by Health Canada as the agency responsible for approval of cannabis production facilities;
AND WHEREAS local governments have responsibility for the enforcement of local bylaws and ensuring life-safety compliance with fire and building code regulations but Health Canada has no process in place to share licensing information with local authorities about the location of medical cannabis production facilities in BC communities:
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) advocate for an expanded legislative framework that provides options for local authorities to oversee building and fire safety requirements for cannabis production facilities from the outset of the license application process and prior to the commencement of construction of cannabis production facilities in local communities;
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that AVICC advocate for federal and provincial collaboration with local governments to develop information sharing agreements so local governments are informed of the locations and licensing particulars of small and large-scale medical cannabis production facilities in their communities and can thereby ensure enforcement of local bylaws to mitigate safety risks within BC communities.
Business Licensing Authority for Regional Districts
WHEREAS the Community Charter provides municipalities the authority to regulate businesses through a business licensing structure, while regional districts have not been granted business licensing authority and must undertake a lengthy legislative application process in order to be granted that authority through provincial regulation;
AND WHEREAS municipalities may utilize business licensing as a tool to assist with the enforcement and compliance of local bylaws such as the regulation of cannabis and short-term rentals, while regional districts with similar bylaw enforcement challenges do not have that option readily available to them:
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) request that the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing explore options to amend the Local Government Act to provide Regional Districts legislative authority for business licensing similar to the authority provided to municipalities in order to ensure fair and equal access for all local governments wishing to utilize business licensing as a tool to support compliance with local bylaws.