Sechelt For the Record

The District of Sechelt receives questions by email, phone and social media every day. In an effort to provide all citizens with the same information, many of those questions and the answers will be posted here once a week. Only questions related to District operations can be answered here. Looking for a specific question? Enter a key word in the search box.  

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October 21 - 27, 2018

Q:Where can I find the presentations from the ElderCollege lecture series on local government?

In September 2018, Sunshine Coast ElderCollege hosted a 2-part lecture on local government called The District of Sechelt: How Does it Really Work? 

Follow the links below to download PDF copies of presentations from each department:

October 14 - 20, 2018

Q:How much does the District of Sechelt contribute to the library compared to Gibsons?

The amounts for the District include an estimated administrative overhead charge and a pro-rated cost of maintaining the building that are not actually paid to the Library and then billed back. In other words, the District per capital cost includes the cash grant to the library plus in-kind support.  The SCRD amounts include the same type of in-kind charges as well.

 

Q:What has the tax increase been over the past 4 yrs. and what portion of the tax bill has been specifically for the DOS?

The answer to the question “What was the property tax rate increase” is not as straightforward as one might expect.  The answer can vary depending on whether we consider the tax increase based the total tax revenue, taxes excluding growth, taxes for a specific class of property (residential, commercial, etc.) or even a subset of a class of property (single family homes within the residential class).  To illustrate this the following are some ways we can describe the property tax increase from 2017 to 2018:

  • 7.58% - this is the increase in total property taxes collected by the District.  This includes revenue from new homes, commercial building, etc.(growth) that did not pay taxes in 2017.
  • 5.63% - this is the increase in total tax revenue collected by the District from property owners who also paid taxes in 2017
  • 5.78% - this is the increase in taxes paid by all residential properties excluding growth
  • 5.78% - this is the increase in taxes paid by the commercial properties excluding growth (note: in some years the District Council has elected to increase taxes at a different rate between classes)
  • 5.92% - this is the tax increase for the average single-family home.  This number excludes townhouses, condos, apartments, vacant land, etc.)

And, of course, the numbers above do not necessarily reflect the increase an individual property owner may see as this number is also affected by how an individual property assessment changed relative to all the other properties in that class.

It should be noted that overall property assessment changes do not affect the tax rate increases noted.   If the residential class has an overall assessment increase of 25% the first calculation we do is to reduce the tax rate by 25%.  By doing this the residential class would pay the same total taxes as in the prior year assuming not tax increase was approved by Council.  Any percentage increase noted reflect the actual increase in revenue the District will receive.  It is, for this reason, we do not compare tax rates from year to year.

The tax rate increases most commonly stated by the District is the increase for the residential sector (including all single-family homes, townhouses, apartments, vacant land, etc.) and the commercial sector, excluding growth.  These amounts reflect the impact of Council’s decision on the two largest groups of current taxpayers.  These amounts only represent property tax levies. Charges for sewer, solid waste and other fees and charges are not included. The increase for these two groups from 2015 to 2018 are:

And finally, it should be noted that the increase are only for the taxes levied by the District of Sechelt.   The District has no control over the taxes levies by other governments (SCRD, Hospital, School, etc.) or the increases they may impose from year to year.   In 2018 the District of Sechelt’s portion of the total tax bill for residential properties is 40%.  For commercial properties it is 37%.

October 6 - 12, 2018

Q:Why were local developers and businesses not invited to provide questions and comments on the proposed amendments to the Planning and Development Procedures Bylaw No. 566? Why did staff make these recommendations to Council?

October 11, 2018

The proposed amendments to Planning and Development Procedures Bylaw No. 566 reflects many provisions prescribed through the Local Government Act (LGA) and as such, there isn’t much scope for stakeholder input.  Anyone can send comments, questions and concerns directly to Council at any time through council@sechelt.ca.  All messages sent to this email address are delivered directly to the inboxes of the Mayor and each councillor. Bylaw 566 is scheduled to come back to Council for third reading at the October 17, 2018, 7:00 pm Regular Council meeting at the Municipal Hall, 5797 Cowrie St. If approved by Council, adoption of this bylaw amendment would likely take place in November 2018 at a Regular Council meeting.

Areas that were suggested for Council consideration for Planning and Development Procedures Bylaw No. 566 in the staff report may go above and beyond the basic LGA provisions, but they do not change the basic procedural requirements of amending bylaws and issuing permits.  Those elements are prescribed by legislation.

Some examples of the changes included in the proposed bylaw amendments include:

  • Expansion of notification buffers to ensure more neighbouring properties receive notices about upcoming neighbourhood changes or public hearings (note that the requirement for notification is mandated by the LGA and not affected by the Procedures Bylaw)
  • Minor Development Permit definition and delegation of authority (Note that these changes work within Official Community Plan and zoning provisions)
  • Additional process steps such as the “Permission to Proceed Report” help to streamline the development application process by giving Council an early overview of a proposed project. Any potential concerns with an application could be addressed with the developer before detailed engineering and architectural plans are drawn up.

Planning and Development Procedures Bylaw No. 566 details the District of Sechelt’s process, but it does not alter the provisions of the LGA; rather it works within them. Approximately 10 other municipal bylaws on planning and development were reviewed by staff in the creation of the proposed bylaw amendment. 

By providing more explanation on the process steps and adding evaluation criteria, this bylaw amendment is intended to clarify procedures, authorities, and notification requirements pertaining to land development applications and also to improve communication with development applicants, staff and Council.

For more information please review the staff report and draft bylaw that was presented to Council on October 3, 2018.

 

September 29 - October 5, 2018

Q: What is the record of the balance of funds in the District reserves accounts over the years?

October 5, 2018 - Here is the chart showing the balance in the reserve account from 2008 

 

Q:What is happening in Seawatch? When will the DoS make the repairs to the infrastructure?

A statement from the District of Sechelt regarding the Seawatch subdivision

October 2, 2018 - The search for a solution to the problems at Seawatch can and should continue, but the District of Sechelt can only do that within the proper bounds of responsible government. The Seawatch subdivision was designed, built, marketed, and sold by a private company. The District of Sechelt cannot accept the argument that when a private sector venture falters, the cost should be borne by the Sechelt taxpayers. 

We hope the following will set the record straight on some fundamental points regarding the Seawatch subdivision.

The Seawatch subdivision was built by a private developer, Concordia Seawatch Ltd. Concordia purchased the property in 2004, as part of a larger site that was in foreclosure proceedings. Under District of Sechelt planning and development bylaws, the site could not be developed without a geotechnical report from a qualified professional addressing (among other things) the issues of soil and slope stability. The District of Sechelt required, and relied on, such reports in accordance with the Community Charter and the Local Government Act.

As with any subdivision development, Concordia was required to construct all of the roads and pipes and then transfer them to the District once completed. Concordia hired a geotechnical engineer, who provided a series of reports. As the development work proceeded, Concordia also hired additional engineers to design and supervise different aspects of the development. When the development was complete, these engineers signed letters of assurance, certifying that the development had been properly constructed. The District of Sechelt relied on the accuracy of these reports.

Following completion of the roads, water and sewer lines, Concordia began to construct and market houses on the lots.  The subdivision includes a total of 28 lots, of which Concordia sold 13.  Concordia continues to own the remaining 15 lots: one has a completed house and 14 are vacant.

In 2006, Concordia was required to register a restrictive covenant against title to all of the subdivided lots.  The restrictive covenant also attached a report dated April 28, 2006 from Concordia's geotechnical engineer.  This report described the geotechnical attributes of the land, documented the sinkholes which had developed up to that time at the site, and set out how the infrastructure and building foundations should be designed. The restrictive covenant remains registered on title, and as a charge registered under the Land Title Act, the restrictive covenant was available to each purchaser of a lot in the subdivision. This means each property owner should have been aware of the geotechnical attributes of the land.

In June 2012, a sinkhole appeared on Seawatch Lane. In February 2015, another large sinkhole damaged one of the residences, to the point where the owners could no longer continue to live there.  At approximately the same time, Gale Avenue North was also undermined. There was further deterioration in the condition of Gale Avenue North in early 2018, and part of the road has been closed to vehicle traffic. In September 2018, another sinkhole appeared on one of the remaining undeveloped lots owned by Concordia. 

Following the appearance of the large sinkhole in February 2015, the affected owners commenced legal action.  Five other Seawatch owners commenced additional legal actions subsequently, but some of these have been discontinued. Currently, two owners have ongoing litigation. The District of Sechelt is just one of the defendants in this litigation. The other parties include;

  • Concordia,
  • engineering firms,
  • Concordia’s contractor,
  • the home warranty provider, and
  • real estate agents.

 A trial is set for March 23, 2020. Sechelt staff and Council have a responsibility to respect the current legal proceedings and cannot comment on these matters.

Since 2012, costs to the District of Sechelt are more than $500,000 in engineering and contracting services (not including staff time) on the Seawatch subdivision. The District of Sechelt has conducted road repairs, filled holes, and retained independent consulting engineers to monitor the situation and to investigate the geotechnical issues relating to the subdivision. All of the engineering reports have been provided to the Seawatch residents, and many have also been posted on the District of Sechelt web site. 

The District of Sechelt has very limited powers to require property owners to leave their own homes, particularly in the case of properties for which there have been no reports of physical damage.  In the circumstances, the District of Sechelt believes that its best course of action is to give the owners any engineering information and warnings which it is able to pass on.

In July of 2015, the District of Sechelt held a meeting with the Seawatch residents to discuss the findings of the hired experts. At that time, the residents were given the following information:

  • Of all the options the most comprehensive solution would involve a combination of site dewatering, partial infrastructure replacement, and repairs to the existing roads.  A site dewatering program would involve drilling several wells at different locations in the subdivision, and operating pumps on a continuous basis to remove groundwater.

 

  • The total cost of these measures would be in the order of $10,000,000 (2015 dollars).  However, there was no guarantee that these measures would work, so that even an expenditure of this magnitude might not produce a stable, long-term solution.

 

  • The District of Sechelt does not have $10,000,000 available to spend while attempting to recover the costs from the responsible parties. To borrow the money would require the assent of all the residents through a District-wide referendum or through an Alternative Approval Process. The principle and interest payments on a $10 million debt would be about $700,000 per year for 20 years. This would require an immediate 8.5% property tax increase.      

The District of Sechelt informed the residents that it would not undertake the kind of repair and reconstruction program described above. Both representatives of the District of Sechelt and residents in the subdivision have contacted the Provincial Government on more than one occasion, and been advised that the Provincial Government will not assist as the situation does not qualify under the emergency response program.

The District of Sechelt will continue to hire professional engineers to monitor the roads and make those reports available directly to the Seawatch residents and, through the website, to the general public. The District of Sechelt will continue to act in the best interests of the municipality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q:Has anyone ever been given a ticket for idling in Sechelt's idle free zones ? Does anyone police it ?

No. Sechelt has some signs up asking people to not idle their vehicles but there isn't actually a bylaw prohibiting it. 

September 22 - 28, 2018

Q: Wondering what % of new business licenses are for short term rentals. Wondering what % of the building permits issued were for renovations. Can you provide that information.

Business License data (2018):  Approximately 6% of the total business license are for short-term rentals.  There are differences between totals and new only.  When we consider just the new business license (not renewals) the percentage for STR rises to 16%. We issued 12 new STR business licenses this year.

Building Permit data (2018):  Approximately 18.5% of building permits are for renovations.

Q:What is the District of Sechelt doing about abandoned vessels in Porpoise Bay?

September 25, 2018

The District of Sechelt received funding from Transport Canada for detailed assessments of 17 abandoned vessels in Porpoise Bay.  The funding is being used to catalogue the physical properties of the abandoned vessels, including potential environmental hazards.  We expect to complete these assessments next week.  This information will be used by Transport Canada to determine the priority for the removal of the vessels.  The District of Sechelt does not have jurisdiction to remove the vessels and is working with the Federal government to complete these assessments and schedule removals as soon as possible.

Staff are currently in the process of completing applications for funding to assess the other abandoned vessels in Porpoise Bay.  There are approximatley approximately 20 more that the District had not recieved funding for.  It is expected that these assessments will take place in 2019.

A program for "Vessels of Concern" was established by the federal government last year. Our staff were informed by the Coast Guard that they have assigned 5 officers for the Vessels of Concern program for the area west of Ontario (Manitoba to Haida Gwaii).  Within 6 months the Vessels of Concern program will have the legislation in place to be able to investigate and remove abandoned vessels. The removal of vessels will be scheduled according to priority with respect to public safety and environmental preservation, but they are making progress. 

If a new vessel is suspected of being abandoned, please contact Transport Canada's Environmental Division as soon as possible.  The following is from Transport Canada's Marine Safety website:

If you find an abandoned boat or wreck

The first step if you find an abandoned boat or wreck is to determine who to tell. This depends if the boat is causing a threat to public safety, the environment or navigation.

The boat or wreck poses an immediate and serious threat to public safety

If there is a threat to safety such as a fire, explosion or suspicious activity:

  • Call Local Police or 911

The boat or wreck poses a potential, actual or immediate threat to the environment

If there is a threat to the environment, such as leaking oil:

  • Call the Canadian Coast Guard – all lines are open 24 hours a day

    British Columbia: 1-800-889-8852

The boat or wreck poses a potential, actual or immediate threat to navigation

If there is a threat to safe navigation (because it makes navigation dangerous or blocks other boats from a passage)

Pacific Region, Regional Manager 
Navigation Protection Program
Transport Canada
Pacific Regional Office
820-800 Burrard Street
Vancouver, BC
V6Z 2J8

Phone: 604-775-8867
Fax: 604-775-8828
EmailNPPPAC-PPNPAC@tc.gc.ca

 

The abandoned 100' Gulfstream that sunk on Monday September 10, 2018 was the responsibility of Transport Canada.  Last year Transport Canada investigated the vessel and had all hazardous materials removed.  The vessel was being pumped out regularly to keep it afloat until it could be removed.  Unfortunately the vessel sunk before it could be removed. 

Q:When are we going to get a set of traffic lights at the intersection of Shorncliffs and Teredo. It is getting very dicey crossing Toredo ?

September 24, 2018

This intersection, and the crosswalk, is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Transportation (MOTI). We are in talks with MOTI with regard to this work and while the District is interested in turning this crosswalk into a pedestrian controlled crosswalk, the timing isn’t known. In addition, there is a development application that could affect this area. At that time MOTI may require a complete intersection improvement.

September 15 - 21, 2018

Q:I believe campaign period does not start until Sept 22nd. Are the signs permitted before this date?

Political signs are authorized under District of Sechelt Sign Bylaw No. 456, 2006. There is no restriction on when political signs may be posted, but the bylaw does require that they are removed within 7 days after the election. Also, political signs must NOT be placed on municipal public property, including Sechelt parks and recreation property, beach accesses or along Sechelt’s street and roads right-of-ways/shoulders.

The bylaw states: The following signs do not require a sign permit, but must conform to all other provisions of this Bylaw: Political signs in relation to federal, provincial, local government and school district elections and referenda provided that such signs:
 (i) do not have a 
sign area exceeding 1 square metre (10.8 square feet), do not have a height exceeding 1.8 metres (6.0) feet and are not illuminated; and (ii) such signs are removed within seven (7) days after general voting day.

Highway 101 is under Provincial authority and the Elections BC states that the Ministry allows for signs to be posted, but they need to be removed as soon as possible after the election. Signs must be placed in a safe manner and not obstruct the view of drivers.   For more information on highway signs please visit the Elections website.

Another common question is regarding third-party ads. Third-parties are not restricted in any way prior to the campaign period, which starts on September 22, 2018. Any activities conducted by a third party prior to that time do not count towards any third party advertising expense limit.

Q:Did the District’s unrestricted reserves decrease by $2.5 million between 2014 and 2017?

No.  From December 31, 2014, to December 31, 2017, the total reduction of the unrestricted reserves was approximately $510,000. 

In 2015 there were unanticipated expenses related to a sinkhole in the Seawatch neighbourhood totalling over $500,000. In 2015 and 2016 some reserves were used to fund operating expenses. In 2017 reserves were increased by $560,000. 

September 8 - 14, 2018

Q:Is Sechelt a city?

Sechelt is a district. Because this is often confused with the Regional District some people will refer to Sechelt as a city but technically our designation is a district. 

For Sechelt to reclassify as a city we need a population over 5,000 and an average population density threshold of 5 persons per hectare. Sechelt currently has 2.7 persons per hectare but we could apply for an exception if it Council wanted to pursue it. 

Q:1) is a qualified elector required to vote for a candidate for Mayor, or can this section be unmarked, and 2) is a qualified elector required to vote for six candidates for Council, or could the elector, for example only mark, or select two candidates?

An eligible elector does not have to vote for all candidates – they could vote for one Councillor candidate only, only the Mayor candidate and not the Councillor candidates, etc. In other words, an eligible elector must mark their ballot in the blank space opposite the name of the candidate or candidates for whom the elector wishes to vote.

The ballot would only be considered a “spoiled” ballot if it did not have a mark opposite the name of ANY OF THE CANDIDATES listed on the ballot.

 

Q:Is the non-potable water provided by the District of Sechelt to water plants safe?

The water is safe to use for all outdoor watering but it s NOT safe to drink. Here is the water analysis that was completed in September 2018. 

Q:Did Sechelt's expenses increase $5.4 million over the last three years?

The answer is, yes but it lacks context. If the expenses in 2015, 2016 and 2017 had been the same as they were in 2014 the District would have spent a little under $5.4 million less than it actually did.  $5.4 million is equal to 36% of the total expenses in 2014 so the increased expenses could be averaged out to 12% per year.

Looking closer at the amounts provided in the Financial Statements, one would see that most of the increase in spending was in the Sewer Fund. The new sewer facility came on stream in 2015 and with it came approximately $1.3 million in additional sewer operating expenses. That increase was not for one year but for every year the facility is in operation. In addition, there were smaller increases to sewer costs in 2016 and 2017.  In total, over 3 years, increased operating expenses for the Sewer Plant have been approximately $5.3 million dollars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 1 - 7, 2018

Q:I don't think dogs should be allowed on Kinnikinnick Field. They bother people who are engaging in sports activities and the owners don't clean up the waste.

Kinnickinick Park is a multi-use park and dogs are allowed to be in parks within the District of Sechelt.  The District of Sechelt has designated Kinnickinick Park as an off leash park.  This map of the park shows the areas are designated off leash. The map also states at the bottom to use at your own risk. Owners are responsible for removing any waste left on the field by their dogs.

If you feel threatened or if you see a dangerous dog, please report it to District of Sechelt Bylaw Enforcement officers or the RCMP (604-885-2266) right away.  For more information on Dog Licensing and Regulations in the District of Sechelt, please visit our website.

Q:The District of Sechelt should have a bylaw that limits parking in any one spot for over 72 hours. I know where there are vehicles parked for 6 months and more some with plates some with expired or NO plates. Towns streets and road shoulders should not be a storage yard.

Septmber 14, 2018

We have two bylaws related to Parking on Public Highways or Public Places. The first is the District of Sechelt Highway and Parking Bylaw 516, 2012 and the second is the District of Sechelt Vehicle Removal Bylaw 279, 1995.  Please contact District of Sechelt Bylaw Enforcement or the RCMP if you notice vehicles in violation of these bylaws.

 

In the Vehicle Removal Bylaw an abandoned vehicle is defined as follows;

 

“Abandoned Vehicle”, means a vehicle as defined in the Motor Vehicle Act, that is without:

                                (a)          a current validation decal attached to the vehicle number plate, or

                                (b)          without a number plate attached to the vehicle.

 

In the regulations it provides the following authority:

 

3. REGULATIONS

 

(1) An abandoned vehicle that obstructs or unlawfully occupies a portion of a highway or public place may be removed, detained and impounded by the Bylaw Enforcement Officer, the Superintendent of Public Works or a member of the local detachment of the R.C.M.P., in accordance with the same terms as set out in the Highway Scenic Improvement Act, except that this Bylaw applies to all highways and public places within the District of Sechelt.

 

In the Highway and Parking Bylaw a vehicle is defined as follows;

Vehicle means a device in, on, or by which a person or thing is or may be transported or drawn on a highway, except a device designed to be moved by human power or used exclusively on stationary rails or tracks.

 

In the bylaw it provides the following authorities:

 

6. General Parking Provisions

No person shall park a vehicle:

(c) On any highway for a period in excess of forty-eight hours.

 

11. Vehicle Removal

(a) When any vehicle is stopped or parked in violation of the provisions of this bylaw, any Police Officer or Bylaw Enforcement Officer may take such vehicle into his custody and cause it to be removed, detained or impounded.

Q:Mason road above Norwestbay road was repaved many months ago. In the dark and when raining it is very hard to see center line. The small yellow stickers are not very easy to see. Why is this not been painted.

The Mason Rd centre line is included in the 2018 line painting program and will be completed by early October.

Q:Am I to conclude that, given someone's recurrent display along the Davis Pier walkway of banners, etc, promoting a cause he believes in , anyone who feels like it can set up comparable banners to push some favoured idea --or product?

The short answer is no. 

Our Bylaw Department acts on a complaint basis. If they do not receive a complaint (or witness a violation), they can't act on it. A person can wear a sign or hold a sign with a message on it (within Federal and Provincial laws against hate speech etc, of course) however, they can not affix a sign to any District property. District property includes sidewalks, parks and fences. 

Also, we have a Parks Bylaw 116, 1990 which states: 

2. GENERAL RULES

No person while within the confines of a park shall:

k) distribute any handbills or circulars nor post, place or display any placard, notice, paper, advertising device, or publicity matter of any kind without the written consent of Council except such notices as are erected by Civic Departments dealing with recreation, traffic control, public health or park safety;

l) use or permit the use of any advertising vehicle without the written consent of Council;

August 25 to 31, 2018

Q:Illegal poaching of sea life, crab, clams - If abusers are making money from our Coastal resources, can the Municipality not receive income from fines levied at this illegal activity?

Poaching is a very serious problem for the Sunshine Coast. The foreshore and oceans are in the jurisdiction of the federal government and the municipality has no authority to enforce federal laws. Our Mayor and Council have raised the issue of poaching with our  MP, Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, requesting additional Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) officers on the Sunshine Coast, and will continue to follow up. 

We encourage citizens to report poaching to the (DFO) as soon as possible when they observe it. The more incidents documented by the DFO, the more evidence they will have to support a case for additional enforcement on the Sunshine Coast. The best number for Sunshine Coast citizens to poaching reports to the DFO is 604-607-4186.  DFO staff said that the more information that can be provided for the report, the better, including:

  •          Location and time of day
  •          Type of poaching
  •          Description and/or names of offenders
  •          Description of vehicles involved
  •          Description of vessels involved
  •          DFO cautions that citizens should not put themselves in danger, but if photos are available they can be helpful

Q:Has staff turnover with the District of Sechelt been 400% in the last 4 years?

The District of Sechelt currently has 10 exempt staff positions. No more than three staff positions have been vacated per year in the last four years.

There was an organization review in 2015 by a professional contractor to review all positions and find efficiencies in the organization. This resulted in some positions being made redundant.

Calculating a percentage for staff turnovers is more complicated when other factors are considered such as:

  • Contractors hired on short-term contracts to fill a role during recruitment processes.
  • Employees who act in one or multiple positions during the recruitment of a position have not separated from their employer when that position is filled.   For example, Doug Stewart, director of finance and corporate services, filled other roles at various times during recruitments for other senior positions.
  • Internal hires. If a senior manager retires and a manager is hired into that position, and then a supervisor is hired into the manager’s role and then a clerk is hired into the supervisor's role are we going to say we lost 4 people?

Here is the staff history of some of the top positions:

CAO

  1. Ron Buchhorn – employee transitioned into a term contract position
  2. Bill Beamish – Interim contractor during recruitment for CAO
  3. Tim Palmer – Resigned
  4. Doug Stewart – Staff person doing double duty during recruitment for CAO
  5. Andrew Yeates – Current

DIRECTOR OF PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT

  1. Mike Vance- Interim contractor during recruitment for Director
  2. Andre Isakov – Resigned
  3. Doug Stewart – Staff person doing double duty during recruitment for Director
  4. Tracy Corbett – Current

DIRECTOR OF FINANCE AND CORPORATE SERVICES

  1. Victor Mema – Resigned
  2. Linda Klassen – Staff person doing double duty during recruitment for Director
  3. Doug Stewart – Currently Director of Corporate and Financial Services

COPORATE OFFICER

  1. Gerry van der Wolf – Interim contractor during recruitment for Corporate Officer
  2. Connie Jordison – Staff person doing double duty during recruitment for Director
  3. Jo-Anne Frank – Current

DIRECTOR OF ENGINEERING AND OPERATIONS

  1. John Mercer – Previously Superintendent of Public Works – Restructured as per Organizational and Change Management Review (2015) – Position Redundant
  2. Nikii Hoglund – Resigned
  3. Darwyn Kutney – Current

COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

  1. Connie Jordison – Retired
  2. Julie Rogers – Current 

August 18 to 24, 2018

Q:What is happening with that BC Housing project in Sechelt?

BC Housing Hightide Project

Timeline:

  • applied for Official Community Plan and Zoning Bylaw Amendments  on February 7, 2018
  • applied for Development Permit on May 11, 2018.
  • Documentation received for proposed road closure on August 21, 2018.

Status:

Amendment bylaws are at 3rd reading – adoption is pending:

  • a housing agreement and bylaw
  • a road closure bylaw
  • a development covenant to ensure accessibility, bicycle storage in lieu of parking, extended infrastructure works – pedestrian improvements.

The Development Permit was approved on August 1, 2018- issuance is pending completion of zoning amendment.

Q:What IS affordable housing?

When people hear the term “affordable housing” they usually think of low-cost rental housing, but the term is actually quite broad and encompasses a range of market and non-market housing.  Many housing studies, including those from CMHC, identify the “housing continuum” which differentiates the needs, incomes, and level of subsidy necessary to support the housing.  The continuum includes:

  • Market home ownership
  • Market rental housing
  • Subsidized housing
  • Supportive (or social housing) Housing
  • Transitional housing
  • Emergency shelter.

Market home ownership and market rental do not require subsidy by the government.  Affordability is calculated by the banks to ascertain what a household can afford to pay without exceeding acceptable debt levels.  A mortgage calculation usually reflects 30% of gross income (but also considered other debts and obligations). Some may consider a home “affordable” if it falls below the average MLS listing price. The housing development located at Big Maples, consisting of new “Click” homes would be classified as affordable market housing.  They do not receive government funding, but provide an ownership option at a price below the median housing price in Sechelt.

Subsidized and supportive housing, as the names suggest are funded in whole or in part by senior levels of government and are geared to households who cannot access private market housing.  These are households in either “core housing need” and severe housing needs (those paying in excess of 50% of income on shelter).  Housing programs may target certain demographics or needs such as seniors, disabled or low-income family.  The Greenecourt development (114 units) falls within this category.  It is offering affordable rental housing to people over 55 years.

Habitat for Humanity offers a unique housing model that encourages home ownership through a sweat equity model.  Habitat’s mission is to assist low income families out of poverty through home ownership.  Funding is through volunteers, fundraising, social enterprises (e.g. Restore) and sweat-equity. In Sechelt, the Sunshine Coast Village Community consists of multiple duplex units that are being constructed in phases beginning in 2008. Habitat offers zero down payment in exchange for 500 hours of labour and no-interest mortgages are capped at 30% of the family’s income.

Transitional housing is geared to very low income people who have either experienced homelessness or are precariously housed (e.g. couch-surfing).  This type of housing is highly subsidized and includes a care component.  The BC Housing project on Hightide (40 units) falls into this category.

Emergency shelters offer temporary housing for those experiencing homelessness.  Shelters may be permanent buildings or they may be offered through various programs (such as Inn-from-the Cold), often in partnership with faith communities.  The Upper Deck shelter falls into this category.

How does local government assist?

The District contributes to housing diversity, choice and affordability in a number of ways:

  • Making zoning allowances to support secondary suites and secondary dwellings;
  • Having adequate zoning and policy direction to preserve affordable housing options such as manufactured home developments;
  • Development Cost Charge (DCC) waivers.  This is a significant, but largely unseen, contribution to subsidized and non-profit housing.  Development Cost Charges are levied on properties to pay for the cost of servicing and infrastructure projects related to roads, parks, sewer and drainage. These charges can range from $22,000 a unit (single-detached) to $6,032 (congregate care).  A 100 unit subsidized seniors facility would cost $603,200 in DCCs.  Council may also choose to waiver property taxes for eligible projects (these are advertised every year as part of the budget process).
  • Land contributions:  A local government may choose to partner with non-profit housing providers and provide District-owned land that is surplus to civic needs.
  • Density bonusing:  A provision in the OCP allows developers to seek additional density in return for amenity contributions through a rezoning process.  Applicants achieve a significant increase in development yield in exchange for providing open space, financial contributions and/or affordable housing units.  These type of applications have to be evaluated in terms of community and neighbour impacts, as the increase in development may not be in keeping with other policies or servicing capacities.
  • Approval processes: Local governments can enhance transparency and predictability in the approval process by updating plans, regulations, fee structures, servicing requirements to ensure they are keeping pace with market needs and community values.  Approval process timelines can be affected by a number of elements – not all of which are in the Districts control including: statutory (provincial) requirements pertaining to referrals, notification and public hearings; applicant financing and expertise; market conditions; labour (trades); community resistance and competing objectives (apparent if you’ve ever attended a public hearing).
  • Development Application Fee Reductions: non-profit society’s developing affordable housing have often had their development application and building permit fees partially waived. This is reviewed on a case by case basis. 

August 11 to 17, 2018

Q:Do business class properties pay a larger portion of general municipal taxes compared to 5 years ago?

August 13, 2018: No, the business class portion of taxes has fluctuated between and 12% and 13% over the last five years. It currently sits at a 6-year low of 12.27% 

The same is true for residential class properties. The residential tax base has paid 85% of the total general municipal taxes collected over the last 5 years.

In fact, if we charted the tax distribution for these two property classes it would look like this:

Distribution of Property Taxes

August 4 to 10, 2018

Q:The report on the operations of the Water Resource Centre, presented to the PWPE committee on 25 July lists various costs for the last three years. Are these the costs for the wastewater system as a whole, or have they been split out, so that what is being reported is just the WRC itself?

August 10: The costs reviewed and provided in the report are for the Water Resource Centre only; it does not include sewer collection expenses.

Q:While walking in Mission Point park, I noticed there were a number of discarded cigarette butts on the ground - are District of Sechelt Parks designated as non-smoking?

August 9, 2018: No, our parks are not designated as "non-smoking". A Smoking Control Bylaw has been proposed for the District of Sechelt, but it has not yet been adopted. As such, there are currently no municipal regulations preventing people from smoking in public places in the District of Sechelt.

Click here for a link to Provincial guidelines on Tobacco and Vapour free places.

July 28 to Aug 3, 2018

Q:From the metered water bill, how much potable water (M3/D) from the SCRD is being consumed by the Water Resource Centre? How much reclaimed water (M3/D) is being used by the WRC for processing?

August 3, 2018

The metered (potable) water usage is approximately 40.3 cubic meters per day, based on recent metered water bills.

 

Sept 10, 2018

The WRC is permitted to use reclaimed water at a rate of 180 m3/day for use in toilets and process water.

A rough daily average from July and August is approximately 90 m/day.

Our filtered water is held in a storage tank and has many uses throughout the process.  While being held in this tank, the water is still considered effluent and is pulled from the tank for backwashing and other processes.  The effluent becomes reclaimed water when it is pulled from the tank and chlorinated to be used in situations that under other circumstances, would be fed with potable water, such as; toilets, spray bars and hoses.  The reclaimed water for these permitted uses is measured for total daily flow.

Q:Where is the Salish Solis alternative site used for the removal of the DOS partially composted biosolids?

District of Sechelt biosolids are currently being stored at the District’s Dusty Road facility.  Salish Soils’ regular composting facility is located at 5800 Black Bear Road.  For more information on Salish Soils and their composting process, please visit their website.  As mentioned in the July 13, 2018 For the Record post, “District staff are currently working with the Town of Gibsons in a joint RFP for the composting of biosolids. This RFP should be released in about four weeks.  This will provide a long term solution for the disposal of biosolids for both municipalities.”

July 21 to 27, 2018

Q:How do I report speeders on my street?

If it is safe to do so, gather the plate number, make, model and colour of the vehicle. Note the time and direction the vehicle is travelling and call the RCMP non-emergency number. If they are able to do so, they will follow up. 604-885-2266. You may be asked to be a witness in traffic court. 

July 14 to 20, 2018

Q:How is it possible that anonymity and confidentially under the bylaw enforcement procedures can not be assured if the Districts investigation results into court proceedings?

August 3, 2018

The District of Sechelt’s policy is to keep the name of complainants confidential. We add the qualifier that we cannot ensure confidentiality if a matter proceeds to Court. That is because Provincial and Federal Court proceedings over rule District of Sechelt policies.

Court proceedings also over rule the Provincial Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. In essence, once a bylaw enforcement matter is before the Courts, the action follows Court processes and policies, which take precedent over others.

Q:What are Legacy Funds and how can my group apply for them?

The Sunshine Coast Community Forest (SCCF) is operated by Sechelt Community Projects Inc. with the District of Sechelt being the sole shareholder of the Corporation. 

The profits from the Sunshine Coast Community Forest  (SCCF) are distributed to the District of Sechelt and then passed to the community through Legacy Fund Grants. Currently, 50% is held back for a use by the District of Sechelt to benefit the community and 50% is provided to non-profit groups and public bodies to benefit communities all across the Sunshine Coast. To date, almost $800,000 has been provided to the community. 

The District of Sechelt Legacy Fund Bylaw states funds can only be used: "for special projects that have the potential to offer lasting benefits to the community."

Application information is on the SCCF website.

Q:I keep hearing about this Community Forest - isn't it just a park?

The Sunshine Coast Community Forest (SCCF) is operated by Sechelt Community Projects Inc. with the District of Sechelt being the sole shareholder of the Corporation. SCPI holds and manages a license to harvest the crown lands marked for logging by the Province.  The SCCF is managed by a board of directors.

The role of forest management ensures logging on Crown land within municipal boundaries is done in the best interests of the local community, including:

  • Enhancing recreation opportunities in the forest
  • Environmental considerations for every cut block and access road
  • Directing revenue in a way that benefits the community

There is more information about the forest and opportunities to have your say on our website. 

Q:I forgot to claim my homeowner grant and now I have a penalty fee. Why do you do that? It seems unfair

Julye 17, 2018 - The Provincial Government requires a 10% fine for unpaid property taxes. If the homeowner grant is not claimed and the property tax paid is not for the full amount then it is considered unpaid and the fine applies. Under provincial law, staff are not permitted to waive the fine. The District of Sechelt has a history of applying it in two stages (and the Provincial Government has grandfathered this practice so we can still do it). The fine applies the day after taxes are due but at only 5%. A notice is mailed to each property owner to advise them of the fine and that the second 5% will be applied on August 31st if the taxes are still unpaid. 

Almost 6,000 property tax notices are mailed out with a note about the homeowner grant in 6 places on the notice. There is a newsletter included that also reminds people to apply for the grant. We take out ads in the paper and the radio to remind people to apply for the grant. All of this is a significant expense and a service but not a requirement. This year almost 750 letters were mailed out to property owners who did not pay or did not pay in full at the time the taxes were due. 

It is the homeowner's responsibility to pay their tax bill. 

July 7 to 13, 2018

Q:Where are the biosolids going that were to going to Salish Soils?

July 13, 2018

The District currently has a contract with Salish Soils for the composting and disposal of biosolids. This contract expires at the end of this year, December 31, 2018. The biosolids are currently being temporarily stored and composted at the District of Sechelt’s Dusty Road facility.  Salish Soils routinely removes partially composted biosolids to their other location where the material is further composted and left to cure. District staff are currently working with the Town of Gibsons in a joint RFP for the composting of biosolids. This RFP should be released in about four weeks.  This will provide a long term solution for the disposal of biosolids for both municipalities.

Q:What ever happened to the concrete wash down pad that was called for and never installed at the receiving station at the Water Resource Centre?

July 13, 2018

A wash down pad was installed at the Water Resource Centre, however it was too small and had to be enlarged last year.

Q:Has Leed Gold been issued for the Water Resource Centre?

July 13, 2018

Yes.  Please see our news release from February 7, 2018 for more information on the Leed Gold certification. 

Q:Has an occupancy permit been issued for the Water Resource Centre?

July 13, 2018

The report from the Director of Engineering and Operations that was presented to Council at the June 28, 2017 Regular Council Meeting,  explains that a “Safe to Occupy” has been issued for the Water Resource Centre.

Q:Why did the District not make a claim against the performance bond or seek a letter of credit from the professional design engineer when deficiencies were found in the Water Resource Centre after it was built? Why did the Mayor and council not act on this rather than leaving it to become a cost to the taxpayers of Sechelt?

July 13, 2018

An explanation of deficiencies in the Water Resource Centre and the District’s actions taken to remedy the deficiencies can be found in the report from the Director of Engineering and Operations that was presented to Council at the June 28, 2017 Regular Council Meeting. The report explains that only a few minor deficiencies were discovered and that District staff are dealing with the deficiencies and are invoicing Maple Reinders Inc. District of Sechelt taxpayers are not paying for these deficiencies.

June 30 to July 6, 2018

Q:where is the form for supporting the installation of water meters.

Please note that the District of Sechelt is not involved with water metering and questions should be directed to the SCRD: www.scrd.ca.  There is no form for supporting the installation of water meters.  The Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) is using an Alternate Approval Process, which provides the opportunity for electors to state their opposition to the water meters in Sechelt.  If 10% or more of electors oppose the long term borrowing, the loan authorization bylaw cannot be adopted without proceeding to an assent vote (referendum).  Click the link above to learn more about the proposed water metering and the alternate approval process.

June 25 to 29, 2018

Q:Questions on plant trimmings from the Water Resource Centre

June 13, 2018

Full question:

Where do the greenhouse trimmings from the WRC get taken for disposal? Does Sechelt staff maintain the greenhouse plants or is that work contracted out? If it is contracted out, how much does it cost on an annual basis for this service? 

 

Answer:

The leaves, stems, fruit and flowers (above the wastewater) from plants grown in the Water Resource Centre (WRC) greenhouse are taken in a District of Sechelt Parks truck to Salish Soils for composting.  This practice has been in place since 2015 when the WRC opened. It is our understanding that information previously provided in a local newspaper that trimmings from the WRC went to the landfill is incorrect.

Occasionally plant roots that have been submerged at the WRC are cleared out and transferred to the District of Sechelt’s Dusty Road facility to be mixed with biosolids before composting.  The composting process for biosolids is different from the process for regular composting

District of Sechelt staff maintain the plants in the WRC greenhouse, including pruning when needed.

While the quality of outfall from the WRC complies with strict Federal and Provincial regulations, it is also among the cleanest in BC. Additional processing is needed for it to be considered safe for drinking, or for use in irrigation. The plants growing in the greenhouse at the WRC may not be safe for consumption, but the leaves, stems, fruit and flowers are safe for composting.  The composting process heats the material up so pathogens like fecal coliforms are destroyed.

June 18 to 22, 2018

Q:The results for ammonia at the WRC appear to have been above the limit on the report on a few occasions. May we please have an explanation of what the ammonia numbers mean in the monthly WRC reports? Do the limits for ammonia come from federal or provincial regulations and how are the results and limit numbers that are being reported determined and calculated?

June 20, 2018 - The ammonia content of the influent entering the plant ranges from 19 - 27 mg / L.  The plant effluent ammonia content ranges from 0 - 2 mg/L at present.  Some of the microbe population was adversely affected by a shock load (an unknown substance) entering the plant in April and May.  The nitrifying bacteria break down the ammonia in the wastewater during the aeration stage in the reactor tanks.  The ammonia is higher than normal at times.  The results posted on the website are sample results from a certified lab in Vancouver.  Abnormal results can be caused by many factors: shock loads, a contaminated sample, lab tech / lab equipment error, or seasonal changes (temperature) which affect microbe health.

Q:I was strolling the waterfront in Sechelt today and came to the Friendship Park pier; can you tell me more about the structure on the pier?

June 18, 2018: The structure on the Trail Bay pier next to Friendship Park is known as the Sechelt Torii Gate. A Torii Gate is a traditional Japanese gate, typically located at the entrance to a Shinto Shrine, marking the passage from the profane into the sacred.

The Sechelt Torii Gate was a project of the Timber Framer's Guild of North America and erected in the summer of 2002. The gate stands 25ft. high and 30ft. wide. The Gate was put in place to show a gateway between two waters signifying 'East meets West' (Friendhip Park was originally refered to as Maritime Gateway Park).

The center piece of the gate is yellow cedar driftwood. Carved on the west side are the words “land between two waters”  and on the east side is the equivalent phrase in Japanese.

The Timber Framers Guild began in 1984 as a nonprofit educational association. Guild members from across Canada and the United States came to Sechelt to help build both this structure and the Seaside Centre (located at 5790 Teredo St.).

The District of Sechelt has a mobile art tour that includes the Torii Gate. Info on the tour can be found via this link, and it can also be downloaded as an app "Balado Discovery" on any mobile device.

Sechelt Torii Gate

June 11 to 15, 2018

Q:Questions on Interim Non-Medical Marihuana leglislation

June 12, 2018

Re: " NON-MEDICAL AND MEDICAL MARIHUANA CONSUMPTION LOUNGE” means an establishment where “Cannabis” products of any type are consumed. " 

1)      What is the definition of 'establishment'?

A business establishment, a place of business.

 

2)      What is a temporary use permit? 

The Local Government Act defines it as: "means a permit under section 493”. Other LGA Division 8- sections are 492 to 497 inclusive: http://www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/id/lc/statreg/r15001_14#division_d0e45733

 

3)      what is the process to obtain a temporary use permit?

Please refer to the process brochure.

And the process to object to a temporary use permit

The Planning and Community Development Committee will consider a TUP application and make its recommendation to Council. If the recommendation is favorable and is preliminarily accepted by Council, District staff undertake a public notification and advertisement process in accordance with the Local Government Act. (Each owner/occupier of land within 50 m is provided with a notice of the application and the TUP is advertised in the local newspaper.)  Public input can be received generally up until the day before the consideration by Council so that Council and staff have a chance to review it prior to the Council meeting.

Also, as outlined in the brochure we encourage TUP applicants to hold a public information meeting.

 

4)      has the District of Sechelt identified the persons, or organizations authorized to enforce this bylaw 24/7/365?

The proposed bylaw is an amendment to Zoning Bylaw 25, 1987, a land-use bylaw. Those persons authorized to enforce the zoning bylaw will continue to be able to enforce it.

 

5)      what sections of the Federal regulations permit, or authorize the Consumption Lounge?

None at this time. Please see the staff report - it includes info about the proposed Federal regulations.

 

6)      what sections of the Provincial legislations permit, or authorize the Consumption Lounge?

None at this time. Please see the staff report - it includes info about the proposed Provincial regulations.

 

June 13, 2018

It appears, based on your response that 'Consumption Lounges' are not supported, or permitted by the Provincial, and Federal Governments. Is the District of Sechelt Municipal Government permitted legally to allow a 'Consumption Lounge' in violation of Provincial, and / or Federal law?""It appears, based on your response that 'Consumption Lounges' are not supported, or permitted by the Provincial, and Federal Governments. Is the District of Sechelt Municipal Government permitted legally to allow a 'Consumption Lounge' in violation of Provincial, and / or Federal law?

The new bylaw wasn’t proposing to allow consumption lounges.  The  staff report  suggests that that use be defined only – then clarified in the “uses prohibited list”.

 

June 3 to 9, 2018

Q:How much has the District of Sechelt received in grant funding in recent years? How does it compare to other communities in BC?

June 4, 2018 

Total grants received: 

2013: $5,104,282
2014: $4,331,912
2015: $1,570,235
2016: $978,453
2017: $2,063,952

We do not know how this compares to other communities. We apply for grants as they suit our needs for projects that we need to accomplish. We identify projects that are most in need in our community and then we research what grants may be available to support them. 
 

May 27 to June 2, 2018

Q:If a member of public sends something to council@sechelt.ca, is it always added to the council correspondence in the regular Council meeting minutes? What if I submit something and it is not added to the council correspondence?

June 1, 2018 - Generally, all correspondence addressed to Council is placed on the formal Council agenda depending on the nature of the item. The following lists the types of items that would usually not be included on the Council agenda:

  • Following up on a recent Council decision or resolution. Administration’s general practice is to not include items on the formal Council agenda that have already been considered and voted on by Council, whether under the correspondence section or as any other agenda business.
  • Following up on a rezoning bylaw application after the Public Hearing for the bylaw has adjourned. Statutorily, Council must not review further comments from the public after a Public Hearing.
  • General information items that do not seek a Council decision such as opinions or items that fall under staff responsibility.
  • Inviting Council members to community events. These are emailed to Council members.
  • Related to a subject that doesn’t fall under Council’s mandate or power, such as when it relates to a Federal or Provincial government law rather than a municipal one.
  •  Items that relate to a bylaw enforcement file. Since records related to these files are protected from public release under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, they are not included on the public agenda. They are referred to appropriate staff for follow up.

Q:The community worked very hard to bring the Davis Bay float into place for all community members. We think it's very important that it be completed as planned. We don't understand why it would not be a priority for Council.

Council certainly understands the importance of the Davis Bay float to Sechelt, however, issues of safety, costs and work priorities are also important considerations.  The District of Sechelt staff recommendation and Council’s recent decision regarding budget allocations for the float were based on the following:
 
When the float was installed it was attached to four wooden piles, as shown in photo 1.  

Photo 1
 
Davis Bay Wharf during renovation
 
  
The two piles did not securely support the float, allowing it to wobble during even minor wave action. As a result, the ramp attaching the wharf to float would routinely dismount, requiring public works to repeatedly reset the ramp (photo 2). 
 
Photo 2

Davis Bay ramp
 
 In addition, the engineers identified that the existing guide configuration had excess room between the metal guides of the float and the wooden piles, allowing significant movement of the float, and risk to users (photo 3). The size of the gap was large enough for adults or children to fall through. Due to the high cost of frequent maintenance and the high risk of injury, the float was removed. The float was in place for less than a year before damage and safety required its removal.
 
Photo 3
 
 Davis Bay float metal guides
 
Recognizing the importance of the float and generosity of donors and volunteers who installed it, Council approved a study to determine what was needed to make the float safe.  
 
The study by KWL Associates, engineering consultant, determined that existing wooden piles must be removed and steel guide piles installed at the four corners of the proposed float. The float would be attached to these guides with roller bearings with <1” clearance. This arrangement will reduce the lateral movement, and reduce the risk to the limbs of the users. An additional row of sheet piles would be driven along the west and south side of the float to attenuate the wave action. This would further minimize the risk for users. The proposed row of sheet piles will be driven into the ocean bed ~8 metres, and attached to the existing wooden piles on the western side (photo 4).  There is a chance than even with these improvements, severe weather could damage the float.  An annual repair and maintenance budget will be critical to the success of a new float in Davis Bay.
 
Photo 4

 Davis Bat float pilings
 
The estimated cost of $205,000 is many times the original construction and installation cost for the float.  This amount was included for consideration in the 2018 Budget, however Council found that other capital projects were more critical for 2018 and postponed the decision on the float.  The cost to reinstall the float would have added approximately 2.6% to the tax increase for all Sechelt residents. This amount would not include annual maintenance costs.  The 20 year Financial Plan that started in 2016 is starting to build up reserves that can help fund maintenance for assets like the Davis Bay float in the future. 

Q:I've noticed an increase in vehicle traffic and speeding vehicles on Laurel Avenue at Chapman. With the new 66 home subdivision at tbe top of Laurel and Havies there will definitely be more traffic on Laurel. How do I request a speed hump to slow traffic down to coincide with the existing traffic calming on Laurel?

May 31, 2018: Due to the increased number of complaints regarding speeding on Laurel Avenue, the District of Sechelt Engineering department will be installing a portable pneumatic traffic monitor on Laurel Ave..  This device counts the number of vehicles, types of vehicles and their speed, allowing the District to assess traffic patterns and provide statistical evidence if traffic calming measures are needed in the neighbourhood.  Speed humps are not typically installed on collector roads like Laurel Ave., however three speed humps are already in place on Laurel Ave.  If these are not proving to be effective traffic calming measures, a different approach may be needed such as additional signage and pavement marking. Once additional signage and pavement markings are provided based on the study, additional speed humps may not be required.

We recognize the disruption construction traffic creates in a neighbourhood and the District has made several requests to the developer and their engineer that all construction vehicles are to minimize the impact on residential areas, especially Laurel Ave. The developer’s engineer assured the District that Laurel Ave has been only used for mobilization of their equipment including their excavators and wood chippers, as these vehicles cannot make the corner of Havies Road and Hwy 101. In the future once construction starts the developer will use Nestman Road as the major access point.  If any vehicles are exceeding the posted speed limit on Laurel Ave we would encourage you to report this to the RCMP.  We will also speak to the developer and contractor again to ask that their contractors obey the local traffic laws.

Q:Just wondering why our main highway is in such disrepair?

May 31, 2018: The condition of the highway is the responsibility of the provincial Ministry of Transportation (the District of Sechelt looks after municipal roads). The Ministry contracts routine maintenance to a company called Capilano Highways. You can contact them via email  info@capilanohighways.ca or via phone 604-983-2411.

Below is the map of the area of highway that Capilano Highways is responsible for on the Sunshine Coast.

Service Area 05 Sunshine Coast

Q:Residents are concerned about the potential impact of the new subdivision at Havies and Laurel on the surrounding neighbourhood. What Development Variance Permits have been issued? What considerations have been made for the increased traffic? Water drainage from the cleared site will affect neighbours. Will services (ie. telephone and electrical) be above ground or below ground?

May 31, 2018

The Vanke subdivision at Havies and Laurel was zoned for R-1 Single Family Residential Housing many years ago and at one time far more than 66 lots were proposed.  The street pattern was examined at that time and increased traffic flow was considered when this zoning was approved. 

Prior to 2009, Laurel Ave was not connected through the frontage of 4980 Laurel Ave. In July 2009 the District of Sechelt connected the north-south portions of the roadway into one. Due to requests from local residents at this time, three speedbumps were installed along Laurel Ave to ensure smooth and controlled traffic flow with a posted speed limit of 30 km/h, ensuring pedestrian safety along this stretch. The 2009 Bunt report and the Official Community Plan indicated that future extension of Laurel Ave should be considered and designed for Collector Road Standard, but did not address the classification of the existing Laurel Ave from Davis Bay Road to Havies Road. This extension will be constructed to the Collector Road Standard including separated multi-use pathways on both sides for pedestrians and cyclists.

Public Input and Development Variance Permits

The Vanke development does not require a rezoning, so no public information session or public hearing is required. The developer did request development permit variances (DVPs) for some of the road standards, which did require public notification. As required in the District of Sechelt bylaw, notifications to neighbouring properties within 50 metres of the Vanke property were sent out on April 6, 2018.  The DVPs were considered by Council at the April 18, 2018 Regular Council Meeting and variances were approved as follows:

In all instances, except for one, the road standards were increased. The only one that wasn’t increased was determined to be a redundant road connection which ran along the back of several lots.

Havies Road

As part of the Vanke development Havies Road, from Highway 101 to the western Vanke property line will not be improved due to the existing right of way width and grade issues.

Betty Road

In lieu of improvements to Havies, the development will construct the Betty Road extension, between Nestman and Havies along the west property line of the development to District of Sechelt Half Urban Local Road Standard, including 6.0m pavement, sidewalk, curb & gutter and streetlights. This new access point provides an alternative to avoid the issues with the Havies Road grade and existing right of way widths. Due to the sightline issues and the existing grade, the Ministry of Transportation has suggested that this intersection must be right in, right out only.

Laurel Ave

The variance for the Laurel Ave Standard is to provide multi-use pathways on either side of the road, increasing the service level. In lieu of the Nestman Road improvements east of the future Laurel Ave intersection the developer will improve the west side of Nestman road to include a multi-use pathway on the south side and a sidewalk on the north side beyond the development site. This variance will give improved public pedestrian and cyclist safety along Nestman Road. All street lights will be dark sky friendly LED, complete with diming capabilities during the low traffic/pedestrian times. This will save electricity and minimize the impact of light pollution.

Nestman/101 Highway left turn bay

As part of this development the Highway 101/Nestman intersection will be improved with a left turn bay to handle the additional traffic flow without disruption for south bound traffic on Highway 101. This is a Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure requirement and the developer’s engineer is currently completing their design package for submission to the District of Sechelt.

Storm water

Vanke is required to provide a storm water management plan that ensures all water runoff from the property is addressed and not diverted on to any neighbouring property.  The development permit will not be issued until this is confirmed.

Servicing

The next step is for Vanke to complete the detailed engineering drawings so the servicing agreement with the District of Sechelt can be established.  This will confirm the details of lot servicing, including electricity and telephone services. Currently the developer plans to install these services underground.  A new sewer line will be constructed by the developer along Highway 101 to provide community sewer service for these lots. The District will provide more details about possible sewer connections for other residents in these neighbourhoods as these applications progress.

May 20 to 26, 2018

Q:Non potable water filling station should be open to everyone when level 2 happens. Last year it was not opened up even at stage 4.

May 30, 2018

According to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change non-potable water has more inherent risk than potable water for domestic use and therefore should only be considered for use in limited situations. Due to aggressive and, at times, physical altercations between citizens using the service, the tap had to be staffed when it was open. Because of this additional cost staff did not recommend opening the tap to the public in 2017. District Parks staff also noted that heavy dew during the stage 4 water restriction in 2017 provided enough moisture that District parks and fields did not need to be watered. The heavy dew alleviated some of the drought impact for residential lawns and gardens as well.

 

May 25, 2018 

We would love to be able to use reclaimed water from the Water Resource Centre for gardens and lawns, but requirements are very strict for the use of reclaimed water. Reclaimed water cannot be handed out to the general public for their personal use.

The non-potable water used for hanging baskets and other District plants actually comes from a limited ground water source on a District property.  This source is not reclaimed water from the sewage treatment plant. 

ouncil recognized reclaimed water could be an important water source during droughts and last year asked staff to find out what we need to do to be able to use our reclaimed water.  A report was brought forward to the September 20, 2017 Public Works, Parks and Environment Committee Meeting.

The use of reclaimed water falls under four categories. Indirect exposure is the most stringent category that requires public consultation and many approvals from various governance bodies. The public cannot come into contact with reclaimed water in any manner. The end user must have staff that are trained and carry specific certification in cross connection control. The delivery of reclaimed water to the end user and the cost of the system would also need to be considered.  Please read the staff report for more information.

Q:Are there plans to ban wood stoves in Sechelt?

May 22, 2018 - There are no plans for any discussions about wood stoves in Sechelt. If you live in the Regional District, you might want to check with the SCRD as well. 

May 13 to 19, 2018

Q:Is there a code requirement for the chemicals used at the WRC to be stored in specially designed rooms that are adequately separated? -If so, why were they not provided by the design professionals and design builder? -Has the water resource centre been issued an occupancy permit? Did the Municipality of Sechelt call on the performance bond for any non compliance issues such as the lack of chemical storage rooms, excessive use of chemicals, excessive use of electricity? - Did the Municipality of Sechelt take any specific action as a result of the DeLoitte report?

May 18, 2018

The chemical storage at the WRC does meet code regulations but it does not meet Worksafe regulations. An engineer signed off on the chemical storage area when the WRC was built and had no concerns about unsafe practices. We are working on Worksafe's timeline on the improvements required. The original design did not take those regulations into consideration. That is why the storage needs are addressed in the budget this year to design a room within a room. Yes, those chemicals are stored separately in appropriate containers to the satisfaction of Worksafe. 

The building has a 'Safe to Occupy' permit which allows it to be occupied by staff and visitors. 

The building was built correctly as it was designed. The performance bond only comes into play if there was some defect in the construction and there wasn't any with regard to chemical storage. The building was deemed to be complete in March 2015. Final inspection of the building occurred at the end of the two year maintenance period. The deficiencies identified were addressed by Maple Reinders Inc. and they have been paid in full.  At no time during this process was chemical storage noted as an issue - it should have been. 

For the completed project the District requested performance guarantees on the following:
• Electrical consumption
• Chemical consumption
• Effluent quality
• Odour control performance
• Dewatering performance
However,  the District does not hold any security to enforce these requirements

Much of the suggestions in the Delloite report are complete or in progress: 

  • We will be installing 10 new membrane filters and 2 replacements for filters that have tears in them.
  • We are replacing the carbon air polishing bed as it was submerged in raw sewage during the commissioning of the plant.
  • This year, design for the chemical storage building will be done, and construction will commence next year.
  • We will be installing a structure over the septage dumping station at Dusty Rd plant, to protect the equipment from the elements. 

  

Q:Why is men’s fastball moving to Kinnikinnick park? Why weren’t they consulted?

May 17, 2018 -

We recognize the love of Hackett park by the players and fans however the District must balance this with the safety of the community. 

For the past several years the District has received complaints from citizens regarding foul balls that have hit cars and had near misses with people. 

The District has also received complaints for several years about the public drinking and urinating in the park and in the neighbourhood.

To address the public urinating, the District installed portable toilets in the park close the ball diamond. 

Last year calls to the league to address these concerns remained unanswered. 

District staff consulted with the Municipal Insurance Association regarding the foul balls and were advised to move the players to a park with less pedestrian and vehicle traffic in close proximity to avoid injury and liability. 

The District of Sechelt takes citizen safety and enjoyment of our parks seriously, and followed the advice of our insurer. 

A letter was sent to the men’s league on January 24th advising of the park change. 

On March 12th Parks Manager, Perry Schmidt met with a league representative at Kinnikinnick park and committed to having staff attend the park weekly to pick up dog waste. 

While we recognize the team’s financial concern over the loss of balls hit out of bounds in the treed perimeter of the park, and explained these balls hit out of bounds is precisely the reason why our insurance agents have recommended the team move to this park to avoid continued damage to property and to protect the safety of citizens. 

Upon receipt of a letter of appeal by the league, Mayor Milne responded on behalf of Council  on March 30th in support of the staff decision. He further explained the importance of responsible risk management for a municipality.

Kinnikinnick park is a much larger park with bleachers, washrooms, summertime food vendors, is and is located only 3 kilometres from Hackett park. 

Q:I heard that the one subdivision is being marketed only to off shore buyers and that these houses will not be available to Coast residents. Is this true?

The District is responsible for land use and is not involved with the marketing strategy of developers. The developers did tell us that they want these developments to fit in and be open to the community.

Q:What’s going on the Selma Park Neighbourhood?

Two new subdivisions are moving forward in Selma Park:

  • A 66-lot subdivision between Havies Road and Nestman Road (Developer: Vanke Co.)
    • approved Development Permit and Development Variance Permit
    • developer is currently working on the detailed engineering drawings and other requirements before final subdivision approval
  • A 20-lot subdivision between Pam Road and Snodgrass Road
    • still requires approval for a Development Permit prior to final subdivision approval
    • much of the detailed engineering work is complete

Both applications are subdivisions of land that has been zoned for single family use for many years.  Both of these developments will be serviced by a new sewer line that will be being brought into the neighbourhood by the developers. The District will provide more details about possible sewer connections for other residents in these neighbourhoods as these applications progress.

 

April 29 to May 5, 2018

Q:Why is the Maximum Day Flow filter capacity now stated as 2500cu.m/day, when Urban Systems stated it was 4000 in their July 6 , 2016 report?

May 1, 2018 - 

2500 cubic meters / day is the flow the current filters can handle with the number of filters installed.  It is directly proportional to the level of turbidity and amount of fouling of the filters.  Urban Systems based their calculations on full filter trains rather than the actual number of filters installed when the plant was commissioned.

 

Q:Seniors aged 65 years or older have the option of deferring their property tax payments. Do you have any available statistics to show how many seniors defer their taxes?

May 1, 2018 - A person 55 years or older can apply to the Province to defer their property tax payments. Essentially the Province pays the tax for them. When a person has deferred a payment once, their file remains open. There are currently 470 files open in Sechelt. That does not mean that 470 people deferred their taxes last year, it is just how many active files there are. 

Q:What do we have to do to get some flashing lights at the crosswalk from Shorncliff st across Teredo st ?

May 1, 2018 - unfortunately that is a Ministry of Transportation question. Because that is a provincial highway we have no jurisdiction to make any changes there. You can contact them at 250 387-3198

Q:Regarding the Sechelt Sustainable Community development: Can you give the major / significant reasons why the Planning Department did not recommend this application go further at this point in time? And what options were offered the developer to mitigate this? And related to this: Why do Councils listen to their staff recommendations and concur with them? What might happen if they don't?

April 30, 2018 - Thanks for asking! In this case, the staff recommendation was to take the proposal to a public hearing and a majority Council vote declined that. There were a variety of reasons that individual Councillors gave to not proceed and it is best for citizens to have conversations with them directly. 

Staff did point out some concerns with the proposal but felt they could continue to work with the developer to mitigate some of them. Typically, even once a development has gone to a public hearing, staff continue to work with a developer to ensure the plan meets the needs of the community as well as our own technical requirements. You can find the staff report here on page 97.
 

Councils, in general, do not always agree with staff. They will make up their own minds on the information presented. Staff do the research, make a recommendation and even suggest some alternatives, then each councillor decides what they believe is in the best interest of the community. 

April 22 to 28, 2018

Q:Did the Water Resource Centre: construction follow best practices & drain District reserves? Is it functioning at a high level and use more chemicals than it should?

This letter from in the April 26, 2018 Coast Reporter raised these questions. And they will be addressed here. Please submit a question on this page if any part of this needs clarification. 

The BC Auditor General’s report in April 2015 stated the WRC project:

  • had no predetermined business case
  • insufficient oversight
  • lacked transparency in procurement and decision-making
  • insufficient involvement of finance staff
  •  absence of a conflict of interest policy
  • the bidding process lacked fair and open practices

Staff and Council have worked since then to ensure all capital projects meet the standards dictated in the report. Policies and practices have changed since this time.

The total cost of the Water Resource Centre was $23,987,750

  • Contribution from the shíshálh Nation - $1,680,250
  • Senior Government Grants - $12,200,000
  • Debt - $7,400,000 (the loan payments are $800,000 a year and funded through the Sewer Parcel Tax)
  • Development Cost Charges  - $1,488,000
  • District reserves - $1,219,500

The plant uses substantially more chemical than average wastewater treatment plants.  This is because the plant is designed to be odourless and encompasses a very small footprint.  Conventional wastewater treatment plants include much larger outdoor tanks, lagoons and sludge drying beds which are not aesthetically pleasing, create odour, and attract insects. This is not an error in operations, it is the necessity of the original design. Chemical consumption fluctuates based on the content of the flow entering the plant and the degree of treatment needed. The WRC treats water to reclaimed water standards, it does not use more chemical than necessary.

As with any large-scale projects, it is through data collection over time that the operations are refined to meet the citizen’s needs. Minor adjustments are being made by way of adjusting chemicals and adding additional filters to accommodate higher flows (such as when it rains). Once those filters are installed, staff will continue data collection.

Current filter capacity is exceeded at 2500 cubic meters/day.  Rain events cause flow to increase by approximately 1/3 due to inflow and infiltration into the sewer collection system.  The plant can handle an increase in wastewater. This has been determined by the engineering firm Urban Systems.

This staff report from June 2017 provided Council a review of the DeLoitte report and Maple Reinders response. The report is on page 14.

The review from Deloitte is on page 117 of this December 7, 2016 Council agenda

Numbers used in population estimates have been based on OCP predictions and development applications and those predictions fluctuate but the result is essentially the same. A report may estimate Sechelt will have 5,000 more people by 2025 and therefore we need to prepare by doing X, a later population estimate may find that we won't have 5,000 more people until 2030. That just means we still have to do X but not until 2030. 

Q:According to the Sechelt zoning requirements, how is an industrial area defined?

You will find our zoning bylaw here. Reference to Industrial Zones starts on page 69 http://www.sechelt.ca/Portals/0/public%20document%20library/Bylaws/025,%201987%20-%20Zoning%20Consolidation.pdf

Q:What is the anticipated schedule for sewer connections on Wakefield Rd? What will be the costs bourne by the home owners for the installation?

April 27, 2018 - You can find more information on our sewer project page on the website. We will keep that page up to date as the project progresses. 

The associated cost for the sewer connection is depend on the various factors such as:

  • existing location of the sewer outlet from the  home and the location of the existing septic field
  • Decommissioning cost for the existing septic system
  • Reinstatement cost for the existing landscape

The total cost will be in the range of $ 2500-$6000 per property

 

Q:The Trail Ave, Reef, Fairway , North and South Gale Roads are in bad shape. Are there any plans for repairs?

April 27, 2018 - Yes! We are in pothole repair season now (and you thought it was called Spring). We will make sure your suggestions are added to our job list. Thank you. 

Q:Are the new filters needed at the Water Treatment Plant going to be paid for by the taxpayer?

No. 

DCC’s are used to fund the impact growth has on the District’s infrastructure, therefore, the additional membranes (filters) can, and should be, funded through DCC’s as they are required to provide additional capacity at the WRC. 

Replacement of used membranes cannot be attributed to growth and are paid for by the current residents who use the system through sewer levies.

Filters are $5,500 each. – 10  additional ones are needed

Q:Is the Water Resource Center operating at capacity? Does it need upgrades?

Yes the plant needs further upgrades such as more membrane filters (an Urban Systems recommendation).  Also the primary and secondary tanks are undersized for the high flows.  With the addition of filters, the plant can handle a moderate increase in sewage flow.

Current filter capacity is exceeded at 2500 cubic meters / day.

 Rain events cause flow to increase by approx. 1/3 due to inflow and infiltration into the sewer collection system.  

This year we are installing 10 additional filters to handle high flows. 

Once the additional filters are installed staff can determine if the plant can handle high flows. 

April 15 to 21, 2018

Q:How much does it cost the DoS to process incomplete and/or inadequate development applications? How much time does this take?

April 20, 2018 - ​Incomplete applications can result in delays for both the applicant and staff.  As such, the District is refining the application process to ensure that submissions are complete. We always advise applicants to arrange a pre-application meeting with staff to confirm the process and information requirements.

Delays can also occur mid-way through a development process for a number of reasons:  if market conditions change, an applicant may choose to modify or abandon their development proposal.  In some cases, the site conditions turn out to be more complex and the costs escalate and financial viability is reduced. Sometimes there is poor communication between the applicant, consultants, architects, staff and investors which can result in delays.

Q:Is the DoS legally obliged to consider every development application that is submitted?

April 20, 2018 - We are required to process a complete application – but it is up to Council to determine whether it is acceptable and warrants approval.

Q:Do DCCs cover 100% of the initial costs, or more or less? Are DCCs adequate to cover future capital expenditures needed to expand water and sewer capacity for example? or future maintenance and repairs?

April 20, 2018 - The amounts charged to a development are contained in the DCC bylaw.

In some cases, off-site improvements will not be covered by DCC because the improvement was not included as part of the list of projects eligible for Development Cost Charges.

In those cases, the applicant is required to pay for the offsite upgrades associated with the rezoning – and that requirement is formalized through a servicing agreement.

For large scale servicing infrastructure – such as sewage treatment plants, water reservoirs and treatment facilities, arterial roads and highways – they are planned in advanced through master plans which look at growth projections, OCP designations and zoning to project future needs.  The infrastructure improvements/expansions are then determined on that basis, combined with best practices review and consideration of industry standards. The 10-year capital plans and DCC amounts are based largely on that information.

Q:How much building and development is going on in the District of Sechelt?

The District Planning and Development Services department provides a monthly summary current development applications in the Planning and Community Development Committee Meetings each month.  This report is included on the last page of the agenda each month. Please see the Agendas and Minutes page for the latest agendas. The Planning department is also working on a new monthly update that will provide statistics on numbers of permits issued by the District each month.  

March 28, 2018 Planning and Community Development Committee Agenda

2006 – 2017 Summary of Building Activity

 

Q:Why were bollards installed on Baillie Rd?

April 19, 2018 The use of the bollards was actually made a condition of development approval of the Tyler Rd development by way of resolution at a Regular Council meeting. Please see Council resolution # 08-07B-33 on page 12 of the Regular Council Meeting Minutes from July 16, 2008.   The report from Planning requires the placement of the bollards in lieu of implementing the recommended intersection improvements that were contained in the Traffic Impact Assessment (TIA).  There could have been a different decision on traffic calming measures or intersection improvements, but bollards were considered the preferred option at the time.  It would take a decision of Council to reverse this and may entail a reconsideration of the TIA that was done at the time of development approval.

Q:How does the development process work? Why does it take so long?

April 20, 2018 - The development process is complex because every application is different. Some will require zoning changes, variances, OCP amendments or other local government changes. Some will require traffic studies, geotechnical studies or other such reports. Once an application is submitted, staff will review it and advise the applicant what else will be required. They try to be very thorough in the examination and provide the applicant with an exhaustive list but sometimes the answer to one question prompts another one and there is a bit of back and forth. Staff try to move applications through the process as quickly as possible.

Changing zoning means granting development rights to an applicant.  The basis of the planning process is to ensure that proposed changes are based on fairness (why does one owner get to change his land, but not the neighbour?), public interest (is this change in line with community needs and values?) and need (are we responding to population needs – or are we promoting sprawl and over-development). As such, municipalities rely on their Official Community Plans, zoning bylaws and Development Permit processes to evaluate the merits of each application.  Any application that is changing land use rights must be considered in a fair and transparent manner – hence the need for a public meeting, public hearings, evaluation on the part of the staff and full deliberation on the part of elected officials.

Q:The BC LGA states that municipal elections must be held every 4 years. Is it possible to change this in Sechelt to every 3 years if residents of Sechelt request this?

April 20, 2018 - No. Unfortunately, we have to obey the provincial regulations. 

Q:What is the difference between a municipality and a regional district? What is Sechelt?

April 20, 2018 - In very simple terms a municipality is your city or town. The regional district is everything else in a region. Sechelt is a municipality with defined borders and everything outside those borders is the Sunshine Coast Regional District.

They have some of the same services but they also have different ones. For example, a regional district is responsible for solid waste. But that really means they are responsible for the landfill. Sechelt can opt to offer curbside pick up of solid waste if we want to. And we do. Both will have bylaws around animal control, property development, noise etc.  Here is a very high level table that shows you who does what in our region. 

District of Sechelt

Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD)

Province

  • Sechelt roads
  • Sechelt sewers
  • Parks
  • Beach trails
  • Trails
  • Garbage & recycling pickup
  • Business licensing
  • Sechelt Library (shared with SCRD)
  • RCMP
  • Dog licenses
  • Development permits

 

  • Water
  • Recreation
  • Fire protection
  • Transit
  • Sunshine Coast emergency planning
  • Parks and trails in the SCRD
  • Landfill
  • Garbage & recycling in SCRD
  • Libraries (shared with municipalities)

 

  • Provincial parks
  • Highways and ferries
  • Healthcare and Hospitals
  • Homelessness
  • Groundwater
  • BC Building Code
  • Education
  • Driver’s licenses
  • Gaming
  • Landlord tenant relations
  • Property Assessments
  • Liquor laws

 

 

Q:What is the Local Government Act for BC?

April 20, 2018 - The purpose of the  Local Government Act is: 

(a)to provide a legal framework and foundation for the establishment and continuation of local governments to represent the interests and respond to the needs of their communities,

(b)to provide local governments with the powers, duties and functions necessary for fulfilling their purposes, and

(c)to provide local governments with the flexibility to respond to the different needs and changing circumstances of their communities.

You can find the Act here

Q:What is an Official Community Plan? Do we have to have it? Does Council have to follow it?

April 20, 2018 - Every BC community must have an Official Community Plan (OCP). It is a legal document and technically it is a bylaw. The OCP bylaw is often accompanied by a more descriptive document that contains more of the value statements from the community. 

An OCP is created by the community and for the community through extensive consultation. It is often updated every 5-8 years by consulting with the community again to see if their priorities have changed. The OCP provides an overall framework to guide future development and well-being of the District.  The OCP incorporates the guiding principles, and detailed policies and objectives regarding future land use, environmental protection, housing, economic development, transportation and infrastructure, parks and open spaces, heritage and community services. 

As with any bylaw, Council has the authority to vary it or waive it at any time but there must be public notice and an opportunity for the public to express their views through a public hearing. 

Sechelt's OCP can be found here.

Q:I am interested to know why the hillside above Gale Ave North/ Fairway Ave being surveyed?

The surveying is for a private development at Lot55 Gale Ave north. 

Q:I saw someone taking buckets of rocks from the beach. Are they allowed to do that?

 

This activity does not fall within the District's bylaws so we asked Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development. Here is their answer:

Under the Land Act, s. 60(b) the use of Crown land without lawful authority is an offence.

Removal of a ‘natural resource’ from Crown land without authority is also not permitted. As the removal of gravel / rocks is an activity that the Province regulates, there is the possibility of permitting the activity.

So, yes it’s a contravention, the severity and magnitude will inform the response. 

To report a violation, please dial 1-877-952-7277 or

Online at www.for.gov.bc.ca/hen/nrv/report.htm 

Q:Is the treated effluent discharged at Pebbles Beach? How much chemical is in there?

April 17, 2018 - Treated effluent is discharged approximately 450 meters from the shore. Many chemicals are used in treating effluent. The purpose of the chemicals it to make the effluent safe to discharge to not negatively impact marine or human life. Ours is tested in-house daily and by an accredited lab every month to ensure it conforms to provincial and federal regulations. 

Q:How much chemical is stored at the Water Resource Centre?

April 17, 2018 - The WRC stores enough chemical to use during one week of operations. 

Q:Has the route for seaplanes changed? They seem to fly over downtown Sechelt a lot more than before when they would go around the downtown. They are too noisy and the air currents above the downtown area can be extreme – it seems like a safety risk for the pilots and passengers.

April 13, 2018 - The District of Sechelt has been in contact with Mark Golden and Jeffery Ellis 604-666-4674 – 604-916-3570 Civil Aviation Inspectors, Aerodromes and Air Navigation, Transport Canada. We were informed that the planes and any related activity including the noise is not within the jurisdiction of the District of Sechelt to address or enforce. Please feel free to contact them and inform them of the impact this is having on you and within our community.

Q:How are property taxes calculated? What does the 5.78% mean to me?

April 11, 2018 - Property taxes are calculated based on property values determined by BC Assessment.  The rate is relative to all residential properties in Sechelt so a property that increased the average amount will not see a big tax increase.  BC Assessment’s video describes how it works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJ1mzeCm5jw

April 8 to 14, 2018

Q:What will businesses get for their increased taxes this year?

Business will continue to receive the high level of services we have all come to enjoy. With growth comes the need for more maintenance of our roads, sidewalks, sewers, parks and trails because more people are using them. With growth also come more infrastructure (roads, sewer lines, sidewalks etc) to maintain. 3% of the tax increase is to fund future infrastructure needs to get the District caught up to the level of funds in reserves that will be needed. The rest of the tax increase covers the increased costs the District experiences. Costs of fuel, wages, utilities etc impact the District operating budget. 

Q:What preparations or engagement with citizens does Council have planned for the changes to marijuana legislation?

April 11, 2018 - At this time there are no plans for any community engagement or a task force.

Q:How come sometimes a councillor will recuse themselves from a vote and sometimes they don't?

Whether there is a perceived conflict is up to each individual councillor to decide. If a mayor or councillor believes a council member is in conflict, they can also raise the issue but only a councillor can decide whether or not to recuse themselves. There are two kinds of conflict: a fiduciary conflict and perceived. A fiduciary conflict is when a person will definitely receive financial benefit from a decision. For example, if Council votes to buy property that one of the Councillors is selling. A perceived conflict is when someone might think there is a conflict but the connection is a little more vague. For example, if a councillor's child has a friend who works for a company that wants to rezone a property. It is up to the councillor to determine if he/she is likely to see a benefit from that and recuse him/herself accordingly. 

Q:Any information on the possible sewer hookup in Selma Park. Is it true? Cost to home owner? Do we have to hook up? Completion date?

April 10, 2018 - The plan for this year is to conduct a study and complete a Sewer Function Plan for the Selma Park/Davis Bay/Wilson Creek area to help facilitate grant applications for the expansion of the sanitary sewer in these areas. The full cost of the project needs to be determined so we can apply for grants to help pay for it. At the same time, this year, staff are reviewing how we tax for sewer use and infrastructure to ensure it provides for the current and future services needs but it fair to all homeowners. So as to the cost per homeowner, we won't know until we know the cost of the project and we have reviewed the bylaw that allows us to tax for the service. 

 

April 1 to 7, 2018

Q:Why were the 9 letters that were submitted to Council regarding the West Porpoise Bay Development Variance Permit application from RTC not included on any agendas received by Council? How do we know that Council saw them before making their decision?

All nine letters and the petition were received by Council prior to the Council meeting on March 21.  The process for development variance permit (DVP) applications is to inform neighbouring residents of the meeting date and time where a decision will be made.  For the West Porpoise Bay Estates application this was March 21, 2018 for a decision on the DVP for Buildings 5 and 6. This provides residents with an opportunity to send comments to Council if they choose.  Council did not endorse the variance on March 21st.

This is not a formal public consultation process as would be required if a rezoning or Official Community Plan (OCP) amendment was needed. For rezoning and OCP amendments all comments received from the public are required to be made available for public review up to the Public Hearing.  After a Public Hearing no further comments can be received and there is opportunity for Council and staff to review the comments received prior to their further consideration of the application. There is also the opportunity to get all of the comments onto the meeting agenda when the next consideration of the application will occur.

This is not the case for a DVP, which is a very different process.  Our process for any comments received from the public for a DVP application, are to forward them, as they come in, to the Mayor and Council, as well as planning staff, for their knowledge and consideration.  In accordance with the Local Government Act, there is no specific date of closure to receive comments by and no requirement to have comments made available to the public. In this case the Municipal Planner included a summary of public input in her verbal report to Council regarding the variance application. The correct process was followed in this case and Council’s decision on March 21 supported the concerns expressed by yourself and other neighbours.

Q:What is the District doing to improve our water supply?

The Regional District is responsible for the provision of drinking water to Sechelt. The District of Sechelt has 2 seats on that board and have been advocating for a long-term solution to water supply and not short-term emergency fixes. 

The RD has been able to save 25 – 40% more water since the metering program began.

The RD Board recommended on Feb 8 the following items be included in the 2018 budget:

  • Improvements to the regional water storage capacity  ($200,000)
  • Groundwater investigation, including drilling program ($325,000)
  • Water meters rolled out to Sechelt

 

Q:Do property owners on the water own the beach too? How do I get to all the beaches?

April 18, 2018 - The Crown owns areas below the high water mark. This is essentially the area below the line of vegetation – or natural boundary.

Some users have water leases which give them access to water lots. This is limited to marine-based industry and commercial uses and marinas.

The District has the authority to zone the surface of the water – 300m from the shoreline.

 You can find a map to our beaches on the last page of this Beach Access brochure 

Q:How much are mayor and council paid?

The annual remuneration for the Mayor is $37,109.  The Councillors each receive $18,560 and the Councillor appointed as Acting Mayor receives an additional $1,413.  In addition, members of Council can elect to receive medical and dental benefits or cash in lieu of benefits.  The cash in lieu amount depends on if the person was eligible for benefits as an individual, couple or family. It ranges from $179.16 for a single, $375.50 for a couple or $468.68 for a family per month. 

Q:How is our library funded?

Each Library is independent and is funded by different groups of taxpayers. For example, the Sechelt Public Library has its own board, and the Gibsons Public Library has a different board. Roberts Creek and Pender Harbour reading rooms are separate as well.  Funding comes from the SCRD, SIGD, District of Sechelt and Town of Gibsons, depending on where the primary user-base is.  The District of Sechelt has a 5-year agreement with the Sechelt Public Library that is up for renewal at the end of 2018. Each library also has different costs and expenses.  For example, some libraries may operate a separate stand-alone building, while others such as the Sechelt Library are located in a municipally owned building, where maintenance and utilities are provided as an in-kind donation and was not included in the per capita calculations provided by the Library. The District of Sechelt is not able to comment on funding models for libraries outside of our jurisdiction.

Q:How much of the proposed 5.78% tax increase in 2018 goes towards the capital reserves?

Almost half of the proposed tax increase is for capital. 3 % is for infrastructure renewal as per the financial sustainability plan and 2.78% being for operational needs, be endorsed and included in the 2018-2022 Financial Plan to be recommended to Council.

 

Q:What was the property tax increase in 2017?

6.95%

Q:Is there currently any money in the Capital Reserve?

Feb 20, 2018 No.

April 19, 2018 - When discussing municipal finances we must be mindful of absolute vs. relative statements, the context in which statements are made and the timing of the statements. In response to a question at the budget meeting it was stated that the District has no money in its reserves. Some may take this to mean that the District’s bank accounts are empty. This is not the case, but our reserve levels are very low and much lower than we would like them to be. Secondly, the question and answer concerning reserves at the budget meeting was in regard to having funds to deal with infrastructure issues and unexpected events. Many of the reserves the District has are for specific purposes, such as the Community Forest Legacy Reserve, and therefore; are not readily available to deal with infrastructure repairs. Further, although there are reserves for capital expenses, the five-year capital plan identifies projects to be funded from these reserves so unless we were to cancel or defer these projects the reserves will be spent. In regard to the timing of statements about municipal finances, when the budget meeting was held we had not finished processing all of the transactions for 2017. As some capital projects were not completed in 2017, the funds allocated have been reserved and will be used in 2018 to complete the projects. Also, the District was able to post a $670,000 surplus in the general fund in 2017 which was not known at the time of the budget meeting. This 2017 surplus reversed the District’s accumulated deficit of approximately $500,000 to an accumulated surplus of $170,000. And finally, the annual financial statements that the District Auditor referred to at the Council meeting where he stated that the reserves are 0.7% of our assets represent the balances of the accounts on December 31, 2017. We need to take into consideration any transactions that have occurred since then or that are planned in the budget.

Q:What is happening with traffic safety around ‘West Sechelt Elementary?

The school board is making some changes to the traffic patterns to the parking lot.

District staff are working with the school district to discuss traffic and safety.

Once the work in the parking lot is confirmed, an assessment and planning can begin.

Q:The sewer parcel tax is confusing and seems unfair. Is there a plan to fix it?

An analysis of how sewer costs are recovered (parcel tax vs. user fee) is being conducted by the Finance Division.  The issue will be brought to the Finance, Culture and Economic Development Committee (FCED) before the sewer rates are set for 2018.  The goal is to establish criteria that determine which levies are applied to which properties that is fair.

2017 Questions

Q:How can I speak to council?

Members of the public can apply to speak and present material to Council as a delegation at Regular Council meetings. Details on how to apply and the rules governing delegations can be viewed on our Contact Mayor and Council page.

Appointments with the Mayor may be obtained by contacting info@Sechelt.ca or 604-885-1986. In some cases, meeting requests may be referred to District staff. Staff, under the direction of the Chief Administrative Officer, have the responsibility for day to day operations and may be in a better position to assist.

Members of the public also have the option of writing to Mayor and Council. Letters and emails directed to Mayor and/or Council, are forwarded on a weekly basis to all members of Council. Items of Council Correspondence that meet criteria for public circulation are also posted weekly on the District’s website and may also be included on the Council Correspondence section of Regular Council Meeting agendas.

Q:How can I become a delegation at a Council or Committee meeting?

Members of the public can apply to speak and present material to Council as a delegation at Regular Council or Standing Committee meetings. Details on how to apply and the rules governing delegations can be viewed on our Contact Mayor and Council page.

Q:What is the garbage and recycling pickup schedule for my neighbourhood?

Calendars of curbside garbage and recycling collection calendars are available on our Garbage and Recycling page.  Garbage is picked up weekly on either Tuesdays or Fridays (depending on your neighbourhood) Dry recyclables (Blue Bins) are picked up bi-weekly on Mondays. In areas with Curbside Organics Recycling Collection (Green Bins), these are collected weekly on Fridays.

Q:How do I appeal my Property Tax Assessment?

Property assessments and appeals are done through BC Assessment.  Information on the appeal process can be found on the following website: https://bcassessment.ca/Services-products/appeals/Appealing-your-Assessment

The deadline to appeal your 2017 Property Assessment is Tuesday, January 31, 2017.































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