Muni Morsels: noise mitigation, cove parking & is this truly the last of the Bowen Queen?

Briefs from the Jan. 27 council meeting

The following are briefs from the Jan. 27 regular council meeting

Sounding off

If you’re planning an event in the cove that requires a noise exemption, plan to make a noise mitigation plan. 

The new requirement comes as council addressed noise concerns from the Cates Hill Neighbourhood Association. 

“Likely most people on Cates Hill are tolerant of some noise as it can be expected given the close proximity to services and to the ferry,” wrote association secretary Phil Adkins in a letter to council. “But the Cove and Cates Hill act like a natural amphitheatre…sound travels incredibly effectively up Cates Hill and it can often sound louder halfway up Cates Hill than at the source.”

Adkins’ letter was particularly concerned with days-long loggers show with its “phalanx of chainsaws” and the ball tournaments.

Some of the letter’s suggested measures included limiting amplification, encouraging non-noisy events and discouraging noisy events, considering event locations other than the cove and directing speakers toward the water not up the hill. 

Council agreed to require that applicants create a mitigation plan (bylaw services is to provide examples of good plans or templates) and that staff include a calendar of summer cove events with exemption applications to council. 

Council also voted to have staff review the noise control exemption policy. 

A good name gets you nowhere

Now nearing the halfway point of the Queen of Capilano refit, council is sending a letter to BC Ferries to confirm that the Bowen Queen would never again be the island’s replacement vessel, that we will instead get a boat with similar capacity to ol’ Cap.

Holding out hope

With the announcement of whether or not Bowen is getting a multi-million dollar grant for the community centre yet to come, BIM is going ahead with discussions of road access to the community school-adjacent site. As the much of the land surrounding the site is Metro Vancouver parks land, council voted to discuss possible Lot 2 accesses with Metro.

Mayor Gary Ander said that this is just opening the discussions and Coun. Maureen Nicholson noted that decisions move slowly with Metro Vancouver parks. Nicholson, who sits on the Metro Vancouver Regional Parks Committee, also said that when the topic of land access has been raised in the past, Parks representatives didn’t shut it down. 

Coun. Sue Ellen Fast meanwhile raised the recreational and educational benefits of the lands behind the school for consideration when looking at in-roads. 

Council voted to ask BIM staff to provide a report looking at all possible Lot 2 accesses.

Parking is always controversial

The carbon benefits of cove parking once again proved controversial. Coun. David Hocking brought forward a resolution from the Transportation Advisory Committee suggesting BIM create more parking in the cove. The reasoning behind the request is that some of the current parking lots are planned development sites and because off-island transportation accounts for 40 per cent of islanders’ greenhouse gas emissions according to BIM’s 20-year transportation plan. Coun. Wynen gave an emphatic speech against increasing parking and for starting to curb demand, citing council’s recent climate emergency declaration. Coun. Nicholson on the other hand argued that having adequate cove parking is crucial for moving people out of cars when they cross to the mainland. Hocking’s resolution didn’t go ahead as staff already has a resolution on the books to look at cove parking. 

Speak now on Islands Trust budget

The Islands Trust is seeking comment on its draft 2020 budget. The draft budget comes in at just under $8.2 million and sees a 2.7 per cent projected increase to Bowen Island’s tax levy. Budget highlights listed in the Islands Trust press release include increased climate change mitigation and adaptation and the Trust Council’s Reconciliation Action Plan. 

See the budget online at islandstrust.bc.ca/trust-council/budget/. Surveys and public comment is open until Feb. 9. 

Bowen Island’s own budget process is underway and public information sessions are scheduled for Feb. 12 and 13.

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