Category: SCRD Updates

Nov. 22 Update – Reed Road Forest

At the Nov. 22 SCRD board meeting (audio recording HERE), Gayle Neilson from the Elphinstone Community Association made a presentation outlining local residents’ concerns about the proposed logging of District Lot 1313 (also known as the Reed Road Forest). BC Timber Sales (BCTS) is putting it up for auction in January 2019.

In response to her presentation, the board made the following motion:

  1. THAT the SCRD write to the Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development to request that the lands known as DL1313, including cutblock A91376, be protected from logging and reserved for public use and ecological integrity;
  2. AND THAT the letter include background information on the Regional District’s consistent opposition to harvesting on DL1313, including concerns about surface and ground water, geotechnical stability, fire risk, ecological conservation, recreation and visual impacts;
  3. AND THAT the Minister be requested to respond to the SCRD prior to the scheduled January 2019 timber license auction.

This is a step in the right direction, but we’re not out of the woods yet (sorry, bad pun). The SCRD has no jurisdiction over logging on Crown Lands. If residents want to oppose the logging of this block, they need to continue to put pressure on the provincial government to preserve this forest as a conservation area.

We are badly in need of a wider land use strategy on the Sunshine Coast, particularly a buffer zone between residential properties and Crown Land designated for logging.

A staff report on the SCRD’s options will be coming to the Planning & Community Development Committee meeting on December 13.

Protect Reed Road Forest

Well over 50 residents showed up on Sunday, November 18 to show their opposition to plans to log DL Block 1313, also known as the Reed Road Forest. This area, originally designated as a community watershed, was slated for logging by BC Timber Sales (BCTS) in 2013. Public protests and opposition by the SCRD secured a series of delays, but BCTS now says they’ll put it up for auction in January 2019.

The Elphinstone Community Association is making a presentation on this to the SCRD board on November

Thanks to Ross Muirhead of Elphinstone Logging Focus (ELF) for the photo, and of course to everyone who came.

Over 50 local residents came out on November 18 to defend the Reed Road Forest.

Sewage plants need attention

Remko Rosenboom, General Manager of Infrastructure Services, looks on as staff haul up a filer at the Woodcreek Park sewage treatment facility.

On November 15, the SCRD board was given a presentation and a report on wastewater treatment facilities, and then interested directors took a tour of the Woodcreek Park facility.

Before I read this report, I certainly didn’t realize that the SCRD operates 18 small sewage treatment facilities. Most of them are located north of Sechelt, but there is also one in Roberts Creek, two in Elphinstone and two in West Howe Sound. Area E’s are:

  • Sunnyside – built in 1979, serving 11 properties
  • Woodcreek Park – built in 1999, serving 73 properties

These septic plants were constructed by developers or community associations and then turned over to SCRD to manage. Property owners who use the service are charged for operational costs on their annual tax bills. For example the cost of operating Woodcreek Park’s facility is divided equally between the 73 tax-paying properties served by it.

Over the years regulations about wastewater treatment and effluent discharge have become much stricter and some of these aging facilities do not comply with standards set by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change Strategies (MOE). On July 24 the SCRD received a warning letter from MOE for the Woodcreek wastewater treatment facility, which sparked a management review of all the facilities.

This review turned up some concerns:

  • The money collected from property owners is not enough to cover maintenance, repairs and long term replacement of these facilities.
  • The SCRD does not have enough staff with up-to-date qualifications to manage them.
  • Bylaws and service agreements are in many cases out of date.
  • There’s no real replacement plan for this aging infrastructure.

Thanks to the Woodcreek Park Neighbourhood Association (WPNA) members who came out to the tour and asked some good questions. There will be more reports and meetings on this topic coming up. Right now staff do not know what’s causing the intermittent problem at Woodcreek Park. They are investigating and will report back.

Nov. 15 tour of Woodcreek Park septic field. L to R: Helen Macham (WPNA), Ian Poole (WPNA), Lori Pratt (SCRD Chair), Mark Hiltz (Area F Director), James (SCRD Utilities Services staff), Ian Finlayson (WPNA), Ashley (SCRD Utilities Services staff), Alton Toth (Sechelt Alternate Director), Andreas Tize (Area D), Remko Rosenboom (General Manager of Infrastructure Services), David Croal (Gibsons Alternate Director)

Water Supply Sept 20 Update

At the Sept. 20 meeting of the SCRD Infrastructure Services Committee, staff gave a presentation on the Stage 4 water restrictions this summer. The siphon and pump system was used for 14 days at Chapman Lake. The report did not include costs, but they were significant. (The BC Parks permit requires the SCRD visit the site daily while the siphon is in use; they either flew in by helicopter or hiked in 16 km when weather didn’t permit flights.)

Test drilling on Mahan Road. Photo taken Sept. 23.

Other things of note: staff are reviewing the targets for each Stage in light of the fact that usage was nowhere close to the targets. Test wells are being drilled right now (Sept. 17-30) at four sites, including Mahan.

I recorded this presentation as well as taking notes and am happy to make the audio file available. If you have any questions, you are welcome to email me.