Update to Members on Bylaw 104 -- Local Trust Committee Meeting held August 31st, 2011
The Aug 31, 2011 LTC meeting was an extended session that ran from 12:30 pm until 6 pm. This meeting was well attended, particularly through the Community Information and the Public Hearing sections on proposed Bylaw 104 that were scheduled as the first main items. These sessions ran past 4 pm.
Ron Hall, on behalf of SIPOA gave a presentation [see below], as a delegation, providing a summary of the letter that SIPOA had submitted on August 17th, commenting on Bylaw 104.
The Islands Trust Staff Report prepared for the meeting recommended amendments to the proposed draft that would have introduced exemptions for properties included under community water systems. Attendees pointed out the flaws and inequities that could result from the proposed amendments. The LTC deliberations on the public input resulted in a realization that there were just too many problems with Bylaw 104 to move it forward. Peter Luckham, the Chair, commented that he had been advised to "not make Bylaw amendments on the fly" because it's too easy to make mistakes and result in unintended consequences. After considering several different options available, a decision was made by the LTC to rescind First Reading of Bylaw 104.
This allows the LTC to essentially start over with a revised draft of the bylaw, but does mean that another Public Hearing will be required. The LTC directed Staff to redraft the bylaw with application of the regulation confined to East Point (as per Bylaw 99 - Schedule C) taking into account all input that had been provided on Bylaw 104 to-date.
My name is Ron Hall.
I am a director of the Saturna Island Property Owners Association (SIPOA) and will be presenting a brief summary of SIPOA's submission to the Local Trust Committee with regard to proposed Bylaw 104 and the Groundwater Workshop held in May of this year.
The SIPOA submission can be found in the documents provided by the Trust, and additional copies are also available if there are not enough Trust packages to go around. The submission by SIPOA has also been posted on sipoa.ca, the SIPOA website.
• SIPOA is a strong supporter of water conservation and has a history that demonstrates that support, for example: initiatives such as subsidies provided for installation of low-flush toilets
• SIPOA is also a strong supporter of education being used as the primary tool to promote water conservation, for example: a recent letter to members giving a number of ways to reduce water consumption, and preparation of a summary of water conservation techniques that was published in the recent issue of the Scribbler.
• SIPOA is not necessarily opposed to regulation as a control mechanism for dealing with water conservation.
But SIPOA will only support regulation when it is brought forward with:
• a clear definition of the perceived problem;
• early consultation;
• rationale for the wording of the regulation;
• proper analysis of the effects on water conservation and on property owners, including anticipated costs;
• clear and accurate communication throughout the process
Some specific concerns with proposed Bylaw 104 are:
• SIPOA has a concern that there has been very little information provided to define the problem that is to be solved through introduction of this bylaw, and that the information provided to-date has been extremely contradictory and confusing.
• The proposed bylaw, as worded, is a law of general application and will apply without exception to all properties on Saturna, regardless of whether water catchment is already installed.
• Moreover, there appears to be no consideration given to whether this bylaw should apply in locations where there are no known problems with water supply, or where residents, as a community, have actively worked on their own solutions, --including use of catchment -- to ensure water sustainability.
• SIPOA expresses a concern that Bylaw 104 is out of step with the Saturna Official Community Plan, which has allowance for water catchment as an alternative source of supply, but quite clearly does not envision water catchment as being mandated. There is a legal requirement that bylaws be consistent with the Community Plan.
• And finally, SIPOA has a concern that the outcome of the Groundwater Workshop appears to have been completely ignored with the seemingly spurious introduction of Bylaw 104.
It is important, with regard to this submission, to recognize that SIPOA represents almost one-half of the property owners on Saturna
SIPOA has provided information from the Islands Trust to its members and solicited comment on the bylaw as proposed:
The compiled results are:
• 80 of the 210 members of SIPOA provided a response
• 76 members indicated they are opposed to Bylaw 104
• 4 respondents were undecided and requested further information
To close, it is clear that a significant number of property owners are opposed to this bylaw as presented.
In response, SIPOA suggests that:
1. The Islands Trust should revise its approach to drafting bylaws;
2. There must at all times be clear and accurate communication from the Islands Trust
3. Education about water quantity and conservation must be provided to all islanders
- we are prepared to speak to the above points if requested.