Tuesday, 20 January 2015

CRD Presentation Summary at Committee of the Whole Meeting Jan. 20, 2015

With thanks to the North Saanich Residents Association


Disclaimer: “We offer these Council summaries as a service to our members. We have attempted to be as accurate as possible, but recognize that our interpretation of Council discussions may not be quite as the speakers intended. We encourage residents to consult District webcasts for the most accurate information and/or members of Council for clarification and details, and will correct any significant errors that are brought to our attention.”

Mayor and Councillors all present, except Councillor Stock – Councillor Gartshore chairing

Capital Regional District (CRD) Presentation

Representing the CRD were Nils Jensen, Mayor of Oak Bay and Chair of the CRD; Robert Lapham, the CAO; Diana Lokken, General Manager of Finance and Technology; Larisa Hutcheson, GM of Parks and Environment; Ted Robbins, GM of Integrated Water Services; Kevin Lorette, GM of Planning and Protective Services; and Signe Bagh, the executive in charge of the Regional Sustainability Strategy.

Mr. Jensen presented an overview of the CRD, its size, population, and composition; and provided a summary of its assets and services, and its current challenges, the two most important of which are Core Waste Water Treatment and the development and implementation of a Regional kitchen scraps strategy.

The CRD has just released the draft of its new Regional Sustainability Strategy (RSS.) Its basis will be the current Regional Growth Strategy reflected through the themes of Climate action, Community health and well-being, emergency management and natural disasters, energy systems, and food and agriculture systems. Each of the representatives from the CRD gave a brief overview of their roles, and that of their departments.

Signe Bagh described the current status of the RSS. Since the CRD has just made formal requests for feedback, both from its 13 municipalities and from the public, the process has now moved into the political realm. She acknowledged that different municipalities have different OCPs (and recognized North Saanich’s rural, marine and agricultural character, and its desire to maintain that character), but pointed out that across the region there is a substantial amount of overlap among OCPs. The CRD’s focus over the next, and final, stage of the RSS process would be on this overlap, and the potential for regional collaboration. Hence its desire for region-wide feedback.
Councillor Weisenberger asked if the CRD wanted this consultation to be driven by the municipalities, and Ms. Bagh stated that the CRD would be active in seeking public feedback and hoped that the municipalities would be as well.
Councillor Weisenberger then gave his opinion that the connection between the CRD and the general population was not strong, and Mr. Jensen answered by saying that he hoped that this process would help.

Ms. Bagh then listed the 6 objectives of the RSS:
1) Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
2) Be resilient
(for instance, in the face of challenges resulting from climate change)
3) Manage growth (here she repeated her acknowledgment that NS is essentially a rural
community, and stated that a growth containment area is proposed for NS, which does include some development areas that were discussed last year. If that is to change, NS would need to notify the CRD.
4) Foster well-being (eg. air quality )
5) Enhance natural environment (specifically parks, water, and agricultural land)
6) Optimize infrastructure (ie. “water in and water out”, in other words fresh water supply and waste water and sewage)

Diana Lokken then presented a one page graphic she called “CRD on a page”, a table of the direct responsibility, in dollar amounts, of the various municipalities to various regional services.
Councillor Orr then thanked the CRD representatives for the presentation, calling the RSS a great initiative.
Councillor Thornburgh established that individuals have until Feb.15th to fill out the RSS online feedback form.

[For more information on the process and to see the draft itself see the links below. ]

Councillor Gartshore asked about kitchen scraps, and was told that the kitchen scraps that are taken to Hartland Rd. are then shipped to a facility in Richmond. This procedure generates a smaller carbon footprint than the alternative of dealing with them at Hartland Rd.

Members of the public were then invited to speak, and Bernadette Greene asked if there had been a study done of the carrying capacity of the region’s agricultural lands (do we have enough agricultural land to feed all our residents?), stating that the sustainability and security of our local food supply depends upon the protection and enhancement of those lands. She pointed out that true sustainability requires that we maintain control of enough food-producing land to feed our population, and that it would be foolhardy to expect that any other government would protect their agricultural land in order to ensure that residents of the CRD are fed.
Ms. Bagh indicated that there is an agricultural sub-strategy group, and that those who are interested in food security and the agricultural component should contact that group.

Mayor Finall asked about the green power generated from kitchen scraps at the Richmond facility, and was told by Ms. Hutcheson that the power goes straight into the grid.
Mayor Finall then asked about any longterm proposals for kitchen scraps, specifically their use as compost by local farmers.
Mr. Jensen answered that the Environmental Services Committee would be seeking input and expressions of interest on processing kitchen scraps locally, and that in any decisions proximity and carbon footprints would be important.
Councillor Weisenberger asked about how a kitchen scrap recycling program would be coordinated with the private garbage pick-up companies, and was told by Ms. Hutcheson that the CRD would be communicating with the private companies, and leaving it up to them to contact their customers with the relevant information.
Mr. Lapham ended the presentation by stating that coordination between and among himself and his municipal counterparts, and the various staffs, is ongoing and important.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:30. 

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