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THETIS ISLAND ADVISORY PLANNING COMMISSION
OFFICIAL COMMUNITY PLAN REVIEW

COMMUNITY MEETING

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2009 10 AM - 4 PM
THETIS ISLAND COMMUNITY CENTRE - FORBES HALL
NORTH COVE ROAD, THETIS ISLAND, BC

PRESENT:
Steve Frankel          APC Chair 
Stephanie Cottell           APC Deputy Chair 
Patrick Mooney          APC Secretary 
Mary Forbes          APC Commissioner 
Jessica McNamara          ADR Education, Meeting Facilitator 
Peter Sperling          Volunteer Facilitator (Jessica's Team) 
Janel Smith          Volunteer Facilitator  (Jessica's Team) 
Janice Young          Islands Trust Recorder 

There were thirty-three (33) community members in attendance.

I.      CALL TO ORDER
APC Chair Frankel called the meeting to order at 10:04 AM and welcomed the commuity members present.  Chair Frankel outlined the APC mandate and the purpose of this community meeting to focus work on recommendations for change to the Official Community Plan in four (4) target areas; group members were drawn at random to represent a diversity of viewpoints. Chair Frankel then introduced Jessica McNamara, facilitator from Victoria, and turned the meeting over to her.

II.      INTRODUCTION BY FACILITATOR
 Jessica welcomed the community to the meeting.  Jessica outlined the day as an opportunity to dialogue re: issues identified at the November 08, 2009 community meeting, with the goal to create concrete recommendations.  These recommendations do not need to be consensus based. Jessica then introduced her assistants: Peter Sperling and Janel Smith - volunteer (in training) facilitators from Victoria.  Jessica then asked that each topic group conduct a round table introduction of each person sharing where they live on Thetis Island, for how long, etc.

III.      SUBSTANCE OF THE DAY -AGENDA
Questions and answers around the Agenda:
-   How can we deal with a difference of opinion?
-   Working groups dialoguing.
-   There is a morning and an afternoon working session.
-   Lunch will be served 12:30
-   At the end of the day is a Plenary session (beginning at 2:45)
-   Output - to report back to the large group.
-   What are the concrete suggestions and recommendations.  
-   Possibility of many options/choices/ideas/recommendations.

IV.      BOMB SHELTER EXERCISE
Not only to get you talking to each other, but also to see how the group dynamics are    
How can each person be most effective in his or her group?
-   Gender differences
-   Leader of the group
-   Age- impact
-   Life as experience
-   Ensure that everyone has a chance to speak.
-   Let each person finish speaking before the next speaker begins.
-   Make a note, if you want, to pick up the thread of thought.
-   Stay curious about what the other person is saying - especially if it is something you do not agree with.
-   Recommendations will be written on flip chart paper to be presented at the end of the day from 2:45PM - 4:00PM.

V.      TRANSCRIBED NOTES FROM THE FLIP CHARTS, IN THE ORDER OF THE GROUP PRESENTATIONS , FOLLOWED BY COMMENTS FROM THE FLOOR AFTER EACH PRESENTATION.

TABLE 4 - DEVELOPMENT IMPACT
Table 4 had extensive dialog on the pros and cons of future development of Thetis Island.  Future development should only be contemplated under a proactive facilitation with a vision for the future.  Particular emphasis should be given for affordable and senior housing.  Our Official Community Plan needs to have expanded language to explore creative green development in clusters with common spaces, green spaces, trails and reduced impact on the environment.

GENERAL:
Issues
-   350 Lots,  potential for 470
-   Fear of change
-   Preserve and protect
-   Older age group
-   Facilitate what we want

Recommendations
-   Status Quo Acceptable
-   Some development is good
-   Resist high density
-   Density transfer fears addressed by existing plan

NOISE:
Issues
-   Barking Dogs
-   Control of Pets
-   Airplanes

Recommendations
-   Talk to your neighbors
-   Respect your neighbors

WATERSHED:
Recommendations
-   Encourage water collection systems
-   Fire Department adapters on all storage systems

IMPACT OF GLOBAL SITUATION:
Issues
-   Retirement of Baby Boomers
-   Need for food produced locally
-   Increased energy costs - ferries
-   Community Gardens
-   5+ million people within 100 mile radius of Thetis
-   Impact of global warming
-   Solid and septic waste

Recommendations
-   Encourage Farm Gate
-   Encourage recycling
-   Encourage self reliance

SEPTIC:
Issues
-   Overlapping jurisdictions Provincial Health/Islands Trust
-   Setbacks for septic
-   Definitions

Recommendations
-   Bylaw for maintenance of septic systems
-   no setback restrictions for septic systems or wells

R2 ZONING:
Issues
-   Very little problems in R2
-   Less proximity to neighbors
-   Majority of area not developed

Recommendations
-   R2 zoning works - no major problems- if built out
-   Ensure regulations placed on R1 are not arbitrarily imposed on R2
-   R2 fulfills Islands Trust vision for development of Thetis and it works

R1 ZONING:
Issues
-   Site coverage
-   Set backs
-   Septic and water
-   Proximity to neighbors
-   Lot shape, majority of waterfront long and narrow
-   Impact on neighbors
-   R1 zoning is pre Islands Trust, small lots not under the vision of the Act

Recommendations
-   Improved Planning Approval process for R1 lots
-   Might include input of neighbors
-   Review area coverage

Additional Key Points On Development:
Appropriate development (in all senses of the word), any discussions should be facilitated.
-   The current plan and bylaw is mainly restrictive in nature. What is needed is actual facilitation of; " what we want, rather than just trying to prevent what we don't want".
-   The density transfer point; "density transfer might be a useful tool".
-   Septic: The setback definition for septic, should include; wells, fences, retaining walls, etc.
-   Encourage Stewardship; including conservation covenants, management agreements, joint action by neighbors.

COMMENTS FROM THE FLOOR
Note that there the Thetis Island Marine Association is a newly forming Society on Thetis that will serve to monitor use of Telegraph Harbour as well as other marine concerns.

TABLE 3 - REGULATION AND COMPLIANCE

REGULATIONS:
-   Should make sense
-   Consider impact of all demographics
-   Fewer regulations
-   Common sense:
-   Clear descriptions
-   Specifics
-   Definitions complete
-   Should not discriminate against those trying to make an income
-   Definitions consistent with legal definitions
-   Encourage family formation on the island

VIABLE VARIANCE PROCESS:
-   To avoid permanent rezoning
-   Include input from impacted property owners.
-   Apply to Local Trust Committee
-   Regulations must fall under Islands Trust Mandate

COMPLIANCE:
-   Education
-   Providing information to all property owners through Islands Trust:
-   OCP
-   Land Use Bylaws
-   Resources re: development protocol and options

-   Islands Trust and the Local Trust Committee to assume the responsibility and provide this information to new and prospective land owners.

COMPLAINT RESOLUTION:
-   "Plaintiff" not anonymous - this may encourage preliminary dialogue between parties.
-   Mediation as an option - does not have to be a face to face process.
-   If resolution can not be reached locally, matter referred to Islands Trust for formal process.
-   Ensure the Islands Trust rules done' over rule on temporary variance.

COMMENTS FROM THE FLOOR
-   On condition of the sale of a property the development information as a "subject to" Buyer Beware!
-   New landowners to receive all Islands Trust and information from other governing bodies before the purchase of a property.

TABLE 2 - ZONING

-   Need clear definition of terms (home occupations, loft, guest cottage) in the bylaws.
-   Provide a user-friendly brochure in plain English defining processes re: variances, building
          permits, etc.
-   Separate brochures for independent issues i.e. Bed and Breakfast, Home Business.
-   Change land regulations for R2 lots to permit leasing of guest cottages in a long-term way. (this will help to broaden the demographics).
-   Size of guest cottage increased to 1000 sq. ft to provide adequate accommodations on one level for aging parents.
-   Reconsider user fees where guest cottages are leased.
-   Identify limits of growth based on resources and services.
-   B&Bs bylaw to allow third bedroom be detached from the main building and additional meals may be served.
-   Mandatory water catchment systems for new buildings.
-   Need for voluntary dispute resolution before any enforcement of a bylaw breach.
-   Change definition of "structure" to be applicable only to above ground developments - not septic systems.
-   Allow water tanks and pump houses to be installed right up to the property line.
-   Continuing to cap number of camp beds, but allow easier access to footprint variance to support the number of beds according to Health and Safety regulations - or -not restrict the footprint at all.
-   Look for alternatives to septic fields, especially if composting toilets are use.
-   Oh yeah, and we think that the words "tranquil" and "rural" is an oxymoron.
-   Where variance supported by neighbours, streamline process and cost.

COMMENTS FROM THE FLOOR
-   Also factor in a percentage of footprint as a consideration for the number of beds in a camp (more liberal wording)
-   Water storage should comply with set back, and be okay for variance subject to neighbour.
-   Renting guest cottages would up density - leave the bylaw as it is.
-   No B&B room allowed in buildings detached from the house.
-   Large need for low cost rental accommodation to alleviate the tax burden and provide accommodations for ferry workers, construction workers, service providers and people who wish to live on Theis as renters.

TABLE 1 - NATURAL RESOURCES

-   Measurable guidelines for noise depending on  - what levels, times are objectionable.
-   Encourage the use of approved grey water systems for irrigation.
-   Encourage use of greener septic systems
-   Accepting of current OCP re: watershed.
-   Proportionality in tree-cutting and encouragement of reforestation practices.
-   Discourage use of  aquifer water for gardening
-   Land use  bylaws to consider wildfire litigation
-   Acknowledgment/concern for differing aquifers around Thetis
-   Consider whole island a environmentally sensitive area
-   Need for assistance in education of the stewardship of the island
-   Education around environmental hazards
-   Endorsement of encouragement of planting native species
-   Education around non-native flora and fauna
-   Education around airshed  - venting index, etc. (environment above the ground that we breath  - we all share this airshed.
-   Regulations around unattended lighting.

COMMENTS FROM THE FLOOR
-   Consult with Penelakut First Nations around the harvesting of ocean species and other shared concerns.
-   There are twenty-six (26) sites that are archaeological sites.  There needs to be a map created to show where these sites are.

TABLE 5 -LOCAL ECONOMY
The members of this table noted lots of healthy diversity in their points of view.

-   We need a common definition of "economy"- the correct and effective use of desired and available resources i.e. water, land, forest, human, foreshore. (perceived, environmental, individual, collective)
-   We need to find a balance between competing community interests: eg. earning a living, protecting property values, protecting the environment.
-   We recommend reducing specific regulations to a minimum, originating from, and specific to Thetis Island.
-   We recommend a mechanism for the community to revise rules that are not working, in a timely manner.
-   Rules should be acreage specific.
-   We are concerned that we need additional rental accommodations, and recommend allowing rental of guest cottages subject to density impacts.
-   We recognize that some rental uses result in properties being exploited for off island benefit without comparable community benefit, and we would like to see some protection against this.
-   The economy and the community are two different things.  We support local business  - this is essential for a sustainable community.

COMMENTS FROM THE FLOOR
-   Develop a definition of vision/values around community
-   Inter relationship of community and economy.  Local business not solely for monetary gain, also to support family growth, health care and elder care on Thetis Island.
-   Nebulous bylaws have some benefit - there may be some opening there for problems to be solve locally rather than bureaucratically.

V.      PLENARY SESSION  - COMMON THREADS
-   There is a need for clear definitions of terms and values for there to be community cohesiveness.
-   References in the OCP re: water catchment systems may need some word-smithing.
-   There is a need to reduce number of regulation and deal with disputes in a more personal manner - more opportunities for mediation.

NOTE:  Volunteer Dispute Resolution Issue: Part II of the Standard Bylaws Appendix for the Strata Property Act is available on line and recommended to the APC to read.

VI.      CLOSING WORDS

At 4:00PM Jessica, Peter, Janel and Janice prepared to leave to catch the 4:20 PM ferry departure from Thetis.  Jessica thanked those present for their hard and productive work and turned the final discussion over to Steve Frankel.  Further discussion continued until 4:30PM at which time the community meeting adjourned.

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