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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September 13 - 19, 2020

Q:I heard that Sechelt is making changes to the rules for Short Term Rentals and Air B and Bs - how can they do that without consulting with the community?

September 17, 2020

The District of Sechelt is working on a new zoning bylaw, Bylaw 580 to replace the present Bylaw 25. The District is creating an updated Zoning Bylaw to better reflect current public expectations and land use planning best practices, and to bring it substantially in line with the Official Community Plan.

We are actively seeking input from the public on five topic areas within the bylaw:

  1. Home Businesses
  2. Neighbourhood density (residential infill)
  3. Short-term rentals
  4. Agricultural Land Reserve uses
  5. Urban agriculture – chickens, bees, farms stands etc

Short-term rentals are an important part of the Sechelt economy, but they also create some challenges. Staff will be asking questions and gathering input from the community for the next few months and they will bring recommendations to Council for consideration based on the values and needs of our community. There have not been any changes proposed to Council at this time however some options for discussion will be put forward to the public.

The zoning bylaw will address specific regulations for short-term rentals however once this process is complete there may be additional regulations included in the business licence bylaw or a new short-term rental bylaw may be drafted. The public input into this topic as part of the zoning bylaw discussions will help inform us on additional regulations, such as business licensing or an additional short term rental bylaw, that might be required for our community.

We thank you for expressing your thoughts and being an important part of the public process on the zoning bylaw. Please watch for opportunities to participate in online discussion forums and surveys in the coming weeks. The information will be shared on our Facebook page, our website and in the local newspaper.

We posted some more information about this on our For the Record page from August 12, 2020.

August 23 - 29, 2020

Q:Float planes have been flying low over my house all summer. Can you ask them to fly around village residential like before? Cannot sit on deck or in house with out great disturbance even with windows closed.

August 28, 2020

The sea planes can be noisy, however local governments do not have any control over flight plans. Flight plans are regulated by Transport Canada. You may wish to consider writing to them to request a change:

Transport Canada Regional Service Centre for the Pacific region:

https://tc.canada.ca/en/pacific-region

Email:  aviation.pac@tc.gc.ca

Email:  TC.PACInvestigation-EnquetePAC.TC@tc.gc.ca

Local: 604-666-5586

Toll-free: 1-800-305-2059

Facsimile: 1-855-618-6288

August 9 - 15, 2020

Q:The private managed forest in Sandy Hook seems to be building more roads. Are they allowed to do this? Are the developing the land for housing? I'm worried about the big trucks and heavy machinery coming through my neighbourhood

August 14, 2020

Private managed forests are regulated by the Private Managed Forest Council, a provincial government body. The Council ensures the Private Managed Forest Act and Regulations are followed, including environmental considerations, replanting and other requirements. When a site is designated as a private managed forest, the land is valued much lower than a typical market value because it cannot be used for development or any purposes other than logging and silviculture. More information on Private Managed Forests can be found on their website: https://www.mfcouncil.ca

The private managed forest (PMF) in Sandy Hook is permitted to build forest service roads to facilitate their logging operation. They were previously accessing the site across private property to the south, near Porpoise Bay Provincial Park, but the current land owners are denying access through their property. The site is now being accessed via Skookumchuk Road. The transportation of industrial vehicles and machinery does have an impact on local roads however, local governments do not have the authority to refuse access to public roads.

With the private managed forest designation, no development can occur on these properties. If the owner of the property chose to remove the PMF designation there is a process they would have to go through with the PMF Council. One of the requirements when removing a PMF designation is paying an exit fee if the property is withdrawn or removed from managed forest land class within 15 years. The fee is based on the difference between the tax that was paid as managed forest land and the tax that would have been paid had the property not been managed forest land class, with a discount related to the number of years classed as managed forest.

Q:The short term rental next door to me is so disrespectful. They always have large noisy parties. They are certainly not using social distancing. Can't the district do anything about it?

August 12, 2020

The District of Sechelt encourages residents that are affected or impacted with a Short Term Residential Rental in their neighbourhood to address their concerns directly with the property owner or the Local Contact for the Short Term Residential Rental. All Short Term Residential Rentals are required to provide Local Contact information to residential properties within 100 meters of the Short Term Residential Rental.

In the event an issue cannot be resolved please contact our Bylaw Enforcement Department at bylawenforcement@sechelt.ca or 604-885-1986 for them to investigate the complaint. The office is open 8:30 am - 4:30pm Monday to Friday.  Concerns outside of office hours can be reported to the RCMP – 911 for emergencies or 604-885-2266 for non-emergencies.

The District is an urban municipality with a variety of communities. Tolerances of individuals within these communities as it relates to noise are specific to each individual. The District of Sechelt to address noise related issues enacted Noise Bylaw No. 519 in 2012. The noise bylaw and in its definition speaks to a noise which is “unreasonable”. Noise created by a use is thus required to be “unreasonable”. An individual with a workshop and playing music, an individual cutting the lawn or an individual outside on the front yard gardening playing music for a period of time, may not be “unreasonable”.  The zoning and use of the property are also factors which are considered in these investigations.

Noise means any sound that is loud, harsh or undesirable and which unreasonably disturbs the quiet, peace, rest, enjoyment, comfort or convenience, of the neighbourhood in which the sound is received, or of a person in the vicinity;

4. Specific Regulations

(1)          Without limiting the generality of Section 3 of this bylaw, the following specific restrictions apply:

(f) Quiet Hours

No person shall cause or permit noise of any kind, which by its nature is unreasonably interrupting or would tend to interrupt the sleep of a person in the neighbourhood or vicinity, on a Monday to   Saturday before 0700 hours or after 2300 hours, or on a holiday before 0900 hours or after 2300 hours; except on the night of December 31st and until 0100 hours on the morning of January 1st.

The District of Sechelt requires all Short Term Residential Rentals to be licenced in the District of Sechelt. They are also required to comply with all District of Sechelt Bylaws. The District of Sechelt has also adopted specific business licensing requirements related to Short Term Residential Rentals.

Short Term Rentals must also comply with public health orders. On August 7 the Province issued a new ministerial order limiting the number of guests for short term rentals, over and above the number of occupants: "A maximum of five individuals may attend a social gathering or an event in vacation accommodation, in addition to the occupants."

We encourage our citizens to have respectful conversations (at a safe distance) with their neighbours, including temporary neighbours, to ensure they are aware of the risks and recommendations associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. We are finding that much of the time people are open to having the conversation, and in many cases people are lacking information on appropriate behaviour.

To make recommendations to the District of Sechelt Council on potential changes for the licensing of short term rentals please email council@sechelt.ca or send a letter to Council's attention at 5797 Cowrie St, Sechelt BC, V0N 3A0.

July 19 - 25, 2020

Q:I noticed that previous owners of my rental property were claiming the homeowner grant, even though I know they weren't living there. Can't the District of Sechelt do something to prevent this?

July 20, 2020

The Homeowners’ Grant is a program implemented by the Provincial Government. At the District of Sechelt we do our best to inform homeowners of their obligation to apply for the grant only if they are truly living in their home. If we suspect someone is falsifying their homeowners’ grant application form we do inform the Province so they may investigate and take the appropriate actions.

If you would like to report anyone suspected of fraudulently claiming a homeowner grant please call the Manager of the Homeowner Grant Administration Branch at 1-888-355-2700.

July 12 - 18, 2020

Q:Why is the drinking fountain at Mission Point Park not working?

July 20, 2020

Unfortunately the waterline for this drinking fountain needs to be replaced, going back to the junction at the house at Mission Point. It was not a priority for this year's budget deliberations because no water fountains can be turned on during the pandemic. Council may consider including repairs for public drinking fountains next year, depending on public health conditions.There is a 'foot tap' on the side of the Davis Bay public washrooms that is working.

June 21 - 27, 2020

Q:What is the District of Sechelt doing to prevent racism?

June 23, 2020

District of Sechelt staff and Council  do not tolerate racism of any kind.  All staff and Councillors are required to abide by policy  #1.5.16 Respectful Workplace, Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination. All staff and councillors are required and supported to report any deviations from this policy to their supervisor, director, union representative or human resources.

In addition to this mandatory policy, on behalf of the District of Sechelt Council Councillor Brenda Rowe signed the Organizing Against Racism and Hate Critical Incident Protocol on November 30, 2020, along with other signatories from across the Sunshine Coast.  The protocol was produced by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture's Embrace BC program to embed a community response process in response to critical incidents of racism. Specific actions that may be taken by local governments to address critical incidents of racism under this protocol include: 

  • engaging in education programs
  • removing offending messages posted online or in visible physical locations
  • organizing community dialogues to discuss a community response and increase understanding of the effects of tolerating such actions
  • documenting all incidents, whether online, face to face, internal, staff/public incidents, take appropriate action and support the victim (and share information with Embrace BC)

Read the full Critical Incident Response Protocol for Organizing Against Racism and Hate for more information.

 

May 31 - June 6, 2020

Q:I am wondering if the Van Ke development has been approved and if/when sewer and road construction will begin? Does this mean traffic lights will be installed at Nestman Rd? Will it be constructed according to the plans initially submitted?

June 10, 2020

This project is still on the books, but is moving slowly.  Engineering concepts for Van Ke development application are still under development. They will need to be completed and reviewed by District of Sechelt staff before they can move forward. Permission to work on the highway, including intersection improvements and extension of the sewer line has not yet been issued by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

May 10 - 16, 2020

Q:What are the steps to get permanent speed control in place to slow people down and make Sechelt Inlet Road safer for those using the sidewalk and pedestrian walkway along the side of the road?

May 11, 2020

With regards to excessive speeding, the location that you are concerned about on Sechelt Inlet Road has received several complaints. The District installed its MetroCount traffic analyzer at that location to determine the exact speed and time the offences were occurring. This report was presented to the RCMP, as traffic enforcement is their jurisdiction and not the responsibility of the District. District staff made a request to the RCMP for more enforcement in that area. 

Being that Sechelt Inlet Road is a collector road the installation of permanent speed control devices is not an acceptable practice.

Q:The Boulevard in Sechelt was much more pleasant without cars every where . Is there any plan to ban them for good ?

May 15, 2020 - Funding for the Boulevard project was approved by Council in the Five Year Financial Plan for 2021.

 

July 10, 2019 - This project is in our 2020 budget for Council approval. The exact details of the changes to The Boulevard are up for discussion though. Later this year there will be an opportunity for the public to share their views on whether it should be a total closure to cars or reduced to one lane. You are always welcome to share your thoughts at any time with our Council by emailing them at council@sechelt.ca 

April 26 - May 2, 2020

Q:How much does the District expect to borrow to cover short term cash shortfalls?

April 30, 2020

Staff will be taking a Revenue Anticipation Borrowing Bylaw to Council for their review, it is up to 12 million dollars for revenue anticipation borrowing. This is a precautionary measure to ensure we have the necessary money to pay out to other levels of government should we not get the revenue from people not paying their taxes.  Revenue Anticipation Borrowing is only borrowing on revenues you have charged, but not received.  If you must borrow a hundred thousand revenue anticipation, as soon as taxes come into that level, you pay back the loan at that time. It is not a traditional loan but more like a line of credit of sorts, it is the amount you pay based on what you get in taxation.

Q:What is the logic for the specific dates for tax penalties during this COVID-19 pandemic?

April 30, 2020

Residential Property Classes 1,2,3, and 9; for outstanding balances a 5% penalty is applied on July 3, 2020 and 5% on October 1, (including unclaimed Home Owner Grants).  These dates were kept similar to ensure we have money to operate for the year. The second penalty was pushed back to October to provide more time for property owners to pay in light of the current pandemic.

Business Property Classes 4,5,6,7 and 8; for outstanding balances a 5%penalty is applied on October 1, 2020 and 5% on December 1, 2020. The province has allowed us to move these penalty dates to provide extra time for businesses (commercial properties).

Q:The District appears to be granting raises to staff and an increase in property taxes.

The District has a collective agreement with staff and would be in breach of contract if we do not follow the terms and conditions, that is why you might be seeing increases in wages. Other municipalities have significant staff resources providing recreational services which are not currently operating and so they have laid off staff.  Our services continue as does the maintenance required to protect our municipal assets.

To manage the uncertainty this year the District will:

  • Consider a 12-million-dollar Revenue Anticipation Bylaw to borrow funds ONLY if there is a negative cash flow.
  • Delay the start date of some projects so we can better assess 2020 cash flows.  Please refer to the 5 Year Capital Plan for the current listing of capital projects.
  • Continually assess projects and services for viability and efficiencies.

The Revenue Anticipation Bylaw is like a line of credit and does not need to be repaid until the funds become availabe. The Province has implemented changes for this year to streamline access to this funding for municipalities.

Q:Why is the legal fees budget increasing by $50,000 in 2020?

April 30, 2020

Legal fees are an estimate from year to year and you have to assess what cases you have going on and coming up and budget appropriately, and our assessment is that the legal fees have to increase this year and that is what we did.

Q:What is the $200,000 grant/project budgeted for in the General Government category in 2020?

April 30, 2020

This amount reflects a provincial Grant for $200,000 for fencing around a sensitive area in Sechelt’s Seawatch neighbourhood.

Q:What are DCCs?

April 30, 2020

Development Cost Charges (DCCs) are levied on new development to help pay for the new or expanded municipal infrastructure necessary to service the demands of that new development.

The District of Sechelt Development Cost Charge Bylaw No. 554, 2016 lays out the applicable charges for the different types of development to fund the DCC Reserves for:

  • Drainage, or stormwater management;
  • Sewer system (where applicable);
  • Roads;
  • Parks; and 
  • Water service (collected by District of Sechelt on behalf of Sunshine Coast Regional District, as per SCRD's Bylaw No. 693, 2015).

Q:What will happen if taxpayers can not afford to pay their taxes this year?

April 28, 2020

The Province’s proposal that municipalities can use Capital Reserves and borrow to “bridge” or mitigate tax increases is a standard process that many municipalities use annually to cover possible shortfalls in tax revenue. This year, considering the possibility that not all property owners will pay on time or at all, the Province implemented processes to make it easier to help bridge the anticipated revenue stream.  The intention is not for municipalities to use reserves without taxing appropriately. 

Other municipalities have significant staff resources providing recreational services which are not currently operating and so they have laid off staff.  Our services continue as does the maintenance required to protect our municipal assets.

To manage the uncertainty this year the District will:

  • Consider a 12-million-dollar Revenue Anticipation Bylaw to borrow funds ONLY if there is a negative cash flow.
  • Delay the start date of some projects so we can better assess 2020 cash flows.  Please refer to the 5 Year Capital Plan for the current listing of capital projects.
  • Continually assess projects and services for viability and efficiencies.

For more information about the budget, please visit https://www.sechelt.ca/Work/Financial-Services/Budget-Information

Q:P31 of Mr. Douglas’ report to the committee of the whole showed an increase in commercial taxes of about 10% over 2019, yet page 33 shows a 3.3% increase for residential taxpayers. which is right?

April 28, 2020

Page 31 was a topic on Class multiples, showing different scenarios for Council’s consideration. If Council wanted to leave the class multiple the same in 2020, (was not recommended) it would have increased business property tax significantly.  This year we are in a situation where the Business property assessments increase due to market conditions while the Residential property tax class went down due to market conditions, which has not happened in a while. The recommendation was to reduce the Business class multiple and have the tax increase for all classes at 3.8%. For more information on the budget, please visit https://www.sechelt.ca/Work/Financial-Services/Budget-Information

Q:Sechelt staff are not responding to my requests in a timely manner. If staff are laid off there should be an announcement so we know who is working and who is not.

April 28, 2020

No District of Sechelt staff have been laid off. If they are not responding promptly it is likely because they are working on other urgent matters.

Other municipalities have significant staff resources providing recreational services which are not currently operating and so they have laid off staff.  Our services continue as does the maintenance required to protect our municipal assets.

To manage the uncertainty this year the District will:

  • Consider a 12-million-dollar Revenue Anticipation Bylaw to borrow funds ONLY if there is a negative cash flow.
  • Delay the start date of some projects so we can better assess 2020 cash flows.  Please refer to the 5 Year Capital Plan for the current listing of capital projects.
  • Continually assess projects and services for viability and efficiencies.

Q:I have concerns about the individual squatting on highway #1 in the Wilson Creek area. This individual has been squatting for more than a year (living in a school bus). why aren’t bylaws preventing this situation?

You are correct that the person living in the school bus on the south-side 4400 block of Sunshine Coast Hwy is in violation of District of Sechelt Zoning Bylaw No. 25, 1987, which does not allow her to 'camp' there. Our bylaw enforcement personnel have been in contact with the owner of the school bus as well as the owner of the property. 

The property owner was not aware of the DOS bylaw and had given permission for the school bus to park there on a temporary basis.  He also permitted the person living in the bus to cut small trees on his lot.  When the property owner was informed about the bylaw violation, he agreed it was time for the school bus owner to find a new permanent location, and has given her notice to do so. The owner of the bus requires access to public services for health and family reasons and there are few locations that are suitable for her to park the bus. District of Sechelt staff have provided contact information for potential new locations to the school bus owner and continue to monitor the situation closely. There are no public health concerns with her living space and there have been no complaints from the surrounding neighbourhood about this property in terms of noise or cleanliness.

We would like to support the school bus owner to find a new suitable location as soon as possible, but the current pandemic further limits the possibilities. We continue to monitor the situation and maintain contact with the school bus owner and property owner.  If you have any suggestions for a potential location for this person to move to, we would be happy to help communicate it to her. Please email bylawenforcement@sechelt.ca

Q:Sounds like updates will be coming for Sechelt's Zoning Bylaw and Official Community Plan. Can't these projects be combined?

April 30, 2020

The Zoning Bylaw and OCP are different projects but there is some overlap respecting possible consultant work in the downtown area. We would like professional assistance to examine parking supply and demand in 2020, which can inform the Zoning update, OCP review and Wharf Ave upgrade. Note that the Wharf Avenue updgrading is pending, as we wait for the results of our grant applications. 

Q:The draft budget includes a project called 'sewer modelling'. What is sewer modelling?

April 30, 2020

Sewer modelling is multipurpose:

  • Allows us to assess current capacity – helps to gauge capacity for future developments and what we need to ask them to do to support expected growth
  • Development Cost Charges Updates – helps determine what DCC rates should be set at
  • Capital works planning - Future projections for District of Sechelt infrastructure
  • Allows us to collect data needed to apply for grants to support these essential capital projects
  • Identify infill and infiltration for groundwater – fixing leaks = increased capacity for WRC and capacity in general.

In the past have asked developers to do done on an adhoc basis, select areas, but this project for 2020 will be district wide and will integrate data with our Geographic Information System.

Q:Would the District consider to lift limits on number of garbage bags or the limit on the weight of garbage bags during the pandemic temporarily?

April 23, 2020

Question

We have effectively been on lockdown for more than a month now. Since then, I have noticed that our household garbage has steadily increased, which was inevitable as we are now consuming everything at home rather than at restaurants, malls, parks, activity centres, off-coast and other public areas.

Our family is doing our best to reduce the amount of waste, but it has been challenging. We have exceeded the 1-bag or weight limit on several occasions, and having to reluctantly go to the dump with numerous health and safety concerns. Would the District consider to lift bag limits during the lockdown temporarily? I am assuming the waste from most local businesses has significantly decreased, so I do not think it should burden our landfills and hard-working waste collectors too much.

 

Answer

The weight limits on garbage cans are required by Waste Management for their staff’s safety.  A certain amount of heavy lifting is needed for their operators, but they have to put a limit on it for their WCB requirements. We have garbage tags available for purchase at the Municipal Hall for $4 for additional cans/bags.  These can be purchased online or over the phone and mailed to you.  Please call reception at 604-885-1986. To discuss payment/delivery options.

Extra pick ups do require extra work for Waste Management, as well as increased tipping fees at the landfill.  You are likely correct that they are seeing less commercial waste, but the District of Sechelt is billed based on the amount of service provided. The garbage tags allow these costs to be allocated to people using an increased service level, rather than having all tax payers cover the cost, which would be the case if the extra service was provided for free.

Thank you for staying home and helping to keep our community safe!

March 22 - 28, 2020

Q:The smoke in Sandy Hook is affecting my breathing. I am isolated at home and can't get away from it! why is this being allowed?

March 26, 2020

Today the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy in collaboration with provincial public health partners has issued open burning restrictions for all High Smoke Sensitivity Zones across the province until Wednesday
April 15th, 2020. No new fires may be initiated and no additional material may be added to existing fires. A map of affected areas is shown in yellow in Figure 1 and a high resolution image can be accessed on the provincial Interactive Venting Index webpage. According to the fact sheet on WildFireBC's website, the restriction only applies to the Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation, which does not include small campfires.

A large portion of the smoke in Sechelt this week is coming from the remediation of the Private Managed Forest in the Sandy Hook area. We received several reports from community members about the remediation (slash pile burning) this week. We have attended and were in contact with the site manager. As this has been assessed as a Private Managed Forest it is outside the jurisdiction of the District of Sechelt. The responsibility of the actions taken on the property related to the logging are that of the Province of British Columbia. The District of Sechelt has no authority as it relates to the logging or remediation that has taken place or is taking place. The remediation of the slash piles is dependent on the weather index. It provides a venting index when it is appropriate for the burning to take place to help minimize the risk of forest fires and impacts to others in the area.

Although this is outside of our jurisdiction, out of respect for the health of our community, District of Sechelt Bylaw Officers have been in contact with the person running of the remediation project for Managed Forest 503 on Monday to let them know how the burning is affecting the community. Since then they have not started any new piles burning. At this time some of the old ones are still burning out. At this time we are waiting to confirm if the Managed Forest is included in today's new restrictions from the Province.

We have also reached out to BC Wildfire Service, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and the Managed Forest Council requesting that they suspend the burning until the pandemic is under control, out of respect for those with respiratory issues and those isolated at home.

We continue to follow up on complaints of outdoor burning in other areas of Sechelt as well. The District of Sechelt does not prohibit small 1m x 1m x 1m campfires. But at this time we are requesting that individuals refrain from any outdoor burning. The impacts of these fires on the community at this time can affect the well being our community as a whole. 

Not everyone realizes the impact of even a small campfire in the backyard may have on a neighbourhood or an individual’s breathing. Some of these fires maybe in violation of District of Sechelt bylaws. If you are comfortable you can speak to your neighbor and advise them of the concerns and issues the burning is causing you. Please remember to keep a distance of 2 metres if you are engaging your neighbours.  They might not realize that they are affecting your health. 

District of Sechelt Bylaw Enforcement complaints can be reported through our online form.  Bylaw officers can also be reached at 604-885-1986 Mon - Fri, 8:30 - 4:30. We are receiving high call volumes and will do our best to address all complaints as quickly as possible.  Public health and safety issues will be prioritized. Thank you for respecting your neighbours and doing your part to keep everyone safe and healthy.

The following are the relevant section of the District of Sechelt Open Air Burning Bylaw for reference:

Campfire means a fire that burns clean, dry wood only and which does not exceed one metre in diameter and one metre in height, contained within a fire pit or approved incinerator.

3. PROVISIONS

(1) Burning Prohibitions

(a) No person shall start, permit an Outdoor Fire or maintain Open Air Burning whether within an incinerator or otherwise for the burning of:

1. Toxic Materials

2. Garbage

3. Construction Waste

4. Demolition Waste

5. Garden Refuse

(5) Campfire

(a) No person shall set out, start or kindle a fire for the purposes of having a campfire if such a fire:

1. exceeds 1 metre in height and 1 meter in diameter;

2. creates a smoke or spark nuisance to neighbouring properties; or

3. contravenes any Federal, Provincial or Fire Department regulations respecting open air burning.

(b) Campfires shall be contained in a fire pit or approved incinerator, clear of overhanging foliage, have access to a water hose and be tended by someone 18 years of age or older.

 

Provincial Contacts:

Jeff Belcher

Wildfire Technician, Sunshine Coast Fire Zone

BC Wildfire Service  |  Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations

Phone: 604-485-2794  |  Cell: 604-414-5089

 

NRO Hugo SLOOS, RPF

Natural Resource Officer | Special Provincial Constable

Sunshine Coast Field Unit | South Coast Region    

Compliance and Enforcement Branch | FLNRORD

Office: 604-485-0785 | Mobile: 604-223-3925

 

Phil O’Connor

Executive Director, Private Managed Forest Council

305 – 1627 Fort Street
Victoria, BC V8R 1H8

Phone: 250-386-5737

 

Laura Matthewson

Vancouver Coastal Health, Enforcement

Phone (604) 885-5164

 

March 8 - 14, 2020

Q:What is Sechelt doing about COVID-19?

March 12, 2020

The District of Sechelt is working with our local health authorities to make sure we are taking appropriate actions for the COVID-19 outbreak.  Right now the most important actions everyone can take are to protect themselves from potential infection through handwashing and limiting contact with others who may be infected.

•Stay home when you are sick.

•Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds

•Avoid contact with people who are coughing and sneezing

•Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

•Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw tissue in the trash.

•Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

If you think you may be infected, or if you have any questions, call Health Link BC at 8-1-1 to speak with a public health nurse over the phone.

For municipal hall business we are asking members of the public to call or send their inquiry by email, rather than coming in person where ever possible. We are open for business, but will be avoiding handshakes.

Our local medical health officer, Geoff McKee PhD., will be presenting to the Sunshine Coast Regional District Corporate and Adminsitrative Services Committee meeting on Thursday March 26, 9:30am to provide information on the outbreak and Vancouver Coastal Health's response. Visit Vancouver Coastal Health's website for the latest updates in our area.

The federal government also has a full page on COVID-19 outbreak their website with useful information on the situation. They are keeping it up to date with data on the outbreak, symptoms, travel warnings and other things you should know. They do recommend you have toilet paper at home but just a normal amount will be fine. The reason to ensure your home is well stocked is twofold. If the situation worsens you might not want to go shopping. If you are quarantined you will want 14 days worth of supplies - that includes things like prescriptions, food and pet food.

 

March 1 - 7, 2020

Q:Why is Seawatch getting a new fence? Who is paying for that?

March 3, 2020

The purpose of the new fence is to prevent unauthorized access to the evacuated area. There have been many reports of unauthorized access and vandalism to the site.  The new fence will be fixed, stronger, taller and more difficult to knock down.The fence will fully  enclose the Seawatch neighbourhood, include the beach side and west side, which were not previously fenced. Increased video surveillance and drone fly-bys are coming soon. 

Construction has started and is expected to continue until the end of March.  The contractor is planning to work seven days per week until the project is finished. The contractor has all appropriate insurance and safety requirements in place. This work is being funded by the Province.

The Seawatch Evacuation Order is still in place.  The site is considered extremely unstable and access is prohibited. Call 9-1-1 to report any unauthorized access or suspecious activity.

Q:Why is Sechelt getting new road signs in multiple languages? Don’t we have more important things, LIKE WATER, to spend money on?

March 3, 2020

The Coast Reporter published an article about new highway signs featuring shíshálh place names on February 25, 2020. This is not a District of Sechelt project. The signs are on the highway, which is under the jurisdiction of the Province.

On January 27, 2020 the District of Sechelt received a letter from the BC Geographical Names Office in the Heritage Branch of the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (provincial) informing Mayor and Council that they had received a proposal from the shíshálh Nation to change or adopt names for several geographical features on the shíshálh swiya/Sunshine Coast area. This was the first the District of Sechelt had heard of this proposal. The District was invited by the BC Geographical Names Office to comment on the proposal from the shíshálh before April 23, 2020.

At the February 5, 2020 Regular Council meeting the letter from the BC Geographical Names Office was discussed. Council decided to wait until after the shíshálh election to provide comments to the province.
 

February 23 - 29, 2020

Q:Through coaching I have had the chance to be to many of the Lower Mainland fields, as well as Squamish and have been surprised how poor our soccer fields are in comparison. This makes it both challenging to practice and have our teams ready to play city teams but also carries a little embarrassment when those same teams come and play on the coast.

February 26, 2020

The District of Sechelt is working with a field users group lead by the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD), the Better Fields Committee to address problems with fields across the Sunshine Coast. The committee is working with local government staff and aims to use cooperation, knowledge sharing and joint planning for improvements for fields across the Sunshine Coast. Connect with the SCRD for more information: www.scrd.ca

February 9 - 15, 2020

Q:Why is the District approving a private hospital when some people don’t want it?

Municipalities are responsible for regulating land use within their jurisdictions, providing some control over where institutional facilities, like private hospitals, may be located.  Municipalities do not control whether a facility is public or private.  It is up to the Province to establish and enforce rules, regulations and standards of care. This is enacted through the provincial Hospital  Act  and Public Health Act . To file a complaint on the operations of any BC health care facility please visit the Health Ministry’s website.

Provincial legislation has special provisions for institutional facilities, exempting them from the development permitting process. In 2017 an assessment of potential locations for different care options was done by a Sechelt Community Planner, including consultation with the public. In 2018 the Official Community Plan was amended to include opportunities for the Continuum of Care

February 2 - 8, 2020

Q:What is the difference between a brand and a logo

A brand is what people think and feel about our community. Sechelt is about love of nature, community and art. We are easy going, honest and kind people. Our natural environment is an amazing asset we are passionate about. And we have an abundance of amazing, brilliant and sometimes quirky artists. That is our brand. Our logo goes on our letterhead and in the bottom corner of our ads - maybe a t-shirt, pen or mug too. A logo is just a logo. It is nice but it is not art. Analogy: If we think of a person as having a brand, a person might be a 50 something lady who is a funny, carefree, spiritual, environmentalist with a brilliant business sense, a great garden and a fierce love for her family. Her logo would be the cute purple tam she wears most days. The hat doesn't define her - she defines herself. The brand is how great you feel when you are around her  and it is how you describe her to your friends.  You can learn more about brands here https://www.sechelt.ca/SecheltBrand

Jan 2 - Jan 4, 2020

Q:How do you justify spending money on a new logo when we have homeless, to much traffic downtown, jam sure you could spend that elsewhere . give us other options to spend that money you say you are for the community . Let us decide !!!!! We already voted against it .

January 3, 2020 - The District of Sechelt annual budget is over $14 million. From January to April each year there are budget meetings and opportunities for citizens to participate in discussions and have their say on what their priorities are for the year. Generally, the issues discussed are the larger items like parks, trails, road improvements, and sewer lines. Day to day operational costs are decided by staff and occasionally by Council. Staff manage their operational expenses and purchase things like shovels, paper, advertising, equipment rentals and small contracted services (street sweeping, graphic design, consultants etc) without community input. There was no public consultation (or public 'vote') on a corporate logo as the logo does not impact citizens in any way. The expenses are covered under the current budget.

Q:There used to be time when our streets of Sechelt got regularly swept , but now with our property taxes gone up 3 fold ,it seems the streets only get swept the day before a Parade . Council workers used to clean the storm water drains , not so much anymore ?

January 2, 2020 - The District of Sechelt doesn’t own a street sweeper so street sweeping is done by a contractor. Sweeping is done every spring (to clean up the winter debris) and again just before summer, as needed. Sweeping is not done in the winter as it could cause ice to form on the roads and it would wash away any salt or brine the is put down to prevent icing. Our crews do clear storm drains and flush them as necessary but we ask residents to keep an eye on the storm drains near their homes too. If we don’t know a drain is clogged we can’t fix it so we count on residents to help out by clearing the leaves or contact us.

Q:How can you justify spending more money on a new logo that the public voted down?

January 2, 2020 - A District logo is a corporate initiative and it was not put to a public vote. This is something for District letterhead and email signatures etc and, as such,  a decision to be made by Council and staff. 

December 15 - 21, 2019

Q:Why is the District not fixing the huge puddle in the middle of Sandy Hook Road? this is a hazard!

December 17, 2019

This issue was reported to the District of Sechelt in November 2019. Public Works and Engineering staff assessed the drainage issues on site and have determined the problem to be two-fold.  A plugged catch based is contributing to the ponding of Sandy Hook Road, as well as several filled in ditches.  When residents fill in their ditches to create parking it can prevent water from draining properly, especially if culverts are not installed, or are not maintained by the property owners.  Sechelt Public Works Crews are working to unplug the catch basin, detemine its outfall locaiton, and will be communicating with property owners about the filled in ditches.  In some cases this may mean digging up driveways to re-establish proper drainage in this area.

Q:Why is the runway the airport being extended?

December 19, 2019

District of Sechelt Council established the Aiport Development Select Committee to provide recommendations for the Sunshine Coast Regional Airport. The committee recommended a runway extension to improve safety and allow larger aircraft to land.  Medical transport planes had stopped landing in Sechelt due to safety concerns. More information on plans for the aiport can be found on the December 18, 2019 staff report, page 110.

November 17 - 23, 2019

Q:Can I rent that little blue house in Mission Point Park? How do I do that?

November 19, 2019

Absolutely! Mission Point House is a great venue for small meetings, workshops fitness programs, birthday parties, weddings and many other events.  Mission Point Park can also be rented along with the house. Visit our Mission Point House facilities page for information on rates, capacity and photos!

Information on our other facilities, including Seaside Centre, Rockwood Lodge and Trail Bay Pier are available on our Community Facilities page: https://www.sechelt.ca/bookme

November 9 - 15, 2019

Q:Why is there STILL nothing being done about the illegal poaching on Davis Bay Pier?

November 15, 2019

The Department of Oceans and Fisheries has confirmed that there are no concerns of about the crab and fish stocks near the Davis Bay pier because this area is off limit for commercial fishers.  The DFO patrols this area and have issued tickets over the summer, although they noted that most people do have valid fishing licenses.  Each person in a family (any age) can have a license that allows them to take up to four crabs each. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has a notice out that crab fishing is not permitted from one hour after sunset to one before sunrise.

If you have concerns about the fishing practices on the pier (or anywhere on the Sunshine Coast), please contact the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.  We encourage citizens to report poaching and issues with signage to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans 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. I spoke with the DFO and confirmed that this is the best number for Sunshine Coast poaching reports: 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

October 27 - November 2, 2019

Q:What is burning in Sandy Hook? I can see the fires across the porpoise bay!

October 28, 2019

A large parcel of privately owned land in Sandy Hook has been designated as a Private Managed Forest. Private Managed Forests are regulated by the Private Managed Forest Council and municipal bylaws do not apply to them.  The buring in Sandy Hook was approved by the Private Managed Forest Council and is being closely monitored by forestry professionals.  For more information please see our news release.

Q:After reading about 5g and the " 5G Space Appeal" and all the cities and countries around the world fighting to keep it out of their community, because of Dangers !! . Just wondering where our local council stands on this subject ???

October 30, 2019 - 5 G is not a topic that has come before Council for discussion. Citizens who would like Council to take a position or take action on a subject can contact Council by email council@sechelt.ca or by appearing as a delegation at a Council meeting. Here is the Delegation Request Form. 

October 6 - 12, 2019

Q:Why is the District building a dog park when Parks and Public Works staff don't even have a building to work in?

October 11, 2019 - The dog park budget is $100,000 and is funded through Development Cost Charges (DCCs). These DCCs are for a community amenity. By law, the District can not spend those funds on anything other than a community amenity. 

The budget this year for the Parks and Public Works building is $866,681. That is for the feasibility study and design work.  $20,938 has been spent.  There was a budget for this project in 2018 however the cost was deemed too high and staff were asked to reassess and redesign the project to lower the costs. 

September 29 - October 5, 2019

Q:How come the shíshálh can attract business and development and the District can't?

September 30, 2019 - Tsain-Ko Development Corporation, the parent company of the shíshálh Nation’s economic development arm, has an economic development staff to attract businesses to their privately owned property. The District of Sechelt does not own any commercial property for development purposes. A significant amount of borrowing or a property tax increase may be necessary for Sechelt to venture into the development business and hire staff to manage it. 

A local government receiving development applications from individuals wishing to develop on their private property is very different from a local government with a private company and private property to develop themselves. 

The District of Sechelt works with private developers to ensure private developments follow existing policies, bylaws, and provincial regulation. District staff communicates with developers daily to work with them to navigate the public process and move the projects forward. Most of the development applications that are currently in progress are for housing, though we do have a mixed-use development coming up on a Council meeting agenda.

Check out the development application chart on our website for information on current development applications. Most private or publicly traded companies will only start a new project if the market demand is expected to yield a profit.  Many factors such as population, demographics and logistics influences these choices.  

 

 

 

 

September 22 - 28, 2019

Q:When will a final decision on the Ballie Rd bollards happen?

Sept 27, 2019:  A staff report is expected to come forward to Council with a recommendation on the Baillie Rd bollards in the next few weeks. We will be sending a message to people who emailed Council about the bollards to let them know when Council will be making the decision. If you would like to receive an email when this report is confirmed on a Regular Council Meeting agenda, please email kpoulsen@sechelt.ca.

September 15 - 21, 2019

Q:I heard the developer in Selma Park is paying for all the sewer expansion in Selma Park and Davis Bay. Is this true?

September 17, 2019 - The development in Selma Park was approved under the condition that the properties be connected to the municipal sewer line.  The installation of the sewer lines has not started yet. 

September 8 - 14, 2019

Q:What's going on at Ebbtide? Are you getting rid of the non-potable water tap?

September 13, 2019 - One of our capital projects this year is to put in a dog park on Ebbtide. It was discussed as part of the budget process last year. We are finally getting started on it. The cost of the park is estimated at $100,000. $90,000 of that comes from development cost charges and the rest from reserves. We are digging up some blacktop and moving the tap to make room for the park. It will likely not be open to the public for some time though. We want to give the grass a good start before we let dogs on it. 

Q:When do the new council committees start? Are they public?

September 13, 2019 - The committees started last week. Each committee will set their dates as they need to and those dates will be posted to the Meeting Calendar on the website and they will be posted to What's New (bottom right corner of our home page). Citizens can subscribe to What's New and receive an email notification when items are posted. The meetings are all open to the public but they are not being live-streamed. This information was also published in the newspaper. 

September 1 - 7, 2019

Q:Why isn’t there a security guard at Seawatch 24/7 to protect the houses?

September 4, 2019 

The site has been evacuated for safety reasons so for safety reasons we cannot have people working on the site. The RCMP will only attend the site for lifesaving assistance, but if suspicious activity is reported or suspected they will monitor the site from the perimeter to make an arrest.

Q:How much does the Seawatch drone footage cost us?

September 4, 2019 - Each flight over Seawatch costs approximately $300. The company is local. An RFP is not required as the cost is below $5,000.  We can't disclose how many or when the flights are, as that would defeat the purpose of drone surveillance. 

August 25 - 31, 2019

Q:Why can't I park my kayak on the grass near the Edgewater at Saltgrass park?

August 29, 2019

There are so many kayaks stored on our public property at Saltgrass Park, that the public may be limited in their use of the park. While we love that people love kayaking and boating in Sechelt, we also have a duty to protect our public park spaces. These need to be accessible to the community, as well as special interest groups like boaters. Most of the boats are likely from the Edgewater complex, so we sent a letter to the Edgewater strata asking that the boats be removed. We are working with the Edgewater strata to find a solution that ensures the environment is respected, that open access is maintained, and that the area remains available to all members of the public for their continued enjoyment, while also accommodating their residents’ storage needs.

August 11-17, 2019

Q:There haven't been any new businesses in Sechelt in years.

August 14, 2019

Business licenses in Sechelt: 

  • 2014 - 593
  • 2015 - 643
  • 2016 - 730
  • 2017 - 787
  • 2018 - 808
  • 2019 - 919

Q:What took the District so long to clean up the median on the highway?

August 14, 2019

Medians and ditches along the highway are the responsibility of the Ministry of Transportation and Highways. We have asked them repeatedly to clean up the medians however they have declined. District staff decided to take it on themselves and asked the Sechelt Indian Band to help out. It was a bit of a cleaning flash mob. 

Q:Is the DOS taking the shelter from Greencourt to put in a park somewhere?

August 14, 2019 

The District was offered a shelter from the Greencourt supportive housing and declined. 

  • The District does not have a use for the shelter at this time. Storing it is not an option.
  • Bus shelters are the responsibility of the Sunshine Coast Regional District as they manage transit for the Coast.
  • It has been suggested the shelter might go next to the community garden. Putting a shelter for smokers beside the community garden and adjacent to a non-smoking elementary school is not an option. 
  • The District has no knowledge of the structural integrity of the shelter. 

July 21 - 27, 2019

Q:There is a lot of poaching going on on the local wharfs and beaches around here . I have seen a NO crabbing , Fishing signs on the Wharf St Pier in previous years ! I am thinking that all the public Wharfs should be closed for fishing ,crabbing. We need a DFO officer o the lower coast 24/7. Some visitors don't read the signs

July 26, 2019

If you have concerns about the fishing practices on the pier (or anywhere on the Sunshine Coast), please contact the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.  We encourage citizens to report poaching and issues with signage to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans as soon as possible when they observe it. Numerous letters were sent to the DFO last summer, including letters of support from our MLA and MP. 

The more incidents documented by the DFO, the more evidence they will have to support a case for additional enforcement on the Sunshine Coast. I spoke with the DFO and confirmed that this is the best number for Sunshine Coast poaching reports: 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:Just wondering who monitors the davis bay pier. There’s quite a bit of fisherman that fish on the swimming side and won’t move. Lots of local kids use this pier for swimming. Such a shame this area isn’t monitored more.

July 23, 2019

The Davis Bay Pier is monitored by the District of Sechelt bylaw officers.  They have some scheduled patrols of this area, but most enforcement matters are complaints-based.  Please call the bylaw department right away if you notice any issues with sharing the wharf: 604-885-1986. Our staff will attend onsite as soon as possible, prioritizing all complaints with respect to safety. For weekends, if you are comfortable taking photos of the offenders, please email them to bylawenforcement@sechelt.ca so they can track repeat offenders.

June 23 - 29, 2019

Q:Why is Sechelt charging houses that are not connected to the sewer system and have no option to get connected a sewer user fee and sewer parcel tax?

June 25, 2019 - The District charges a parcel sewer tax to properties within the sewer service area. Those properties may be currently connected or will be connected at some point in the future. The revenue for the sewer parcel tax is meant to fund sewer capital expenses for the expansion of the sewer system. Properties that fall within the sewer service area typically receive a benefit of higher assessed values even if they are not connected. 

The sewer user fee is only charged on properties that are connected to the sewer system. The exception is properties who have the ability to connect to the system but have not connected within the first two years. After two years, all properties on the sewer line will be charged the user fee. 

June 9 - 15, 2019

Q:Is the goundwater filling station on Ebbtide safe to use on vegetables and has it been tested recently for ecoli?

June 21, 2019

There has been continued concern about the quality of the non-potable water station at Ebbtide. Please note:

  • It is groundwater, not effluent or grey water. This is from an underground stream.
  • It has been tested by certified water testing laboratory and those results can be found through the link below.
  • Vancouver Coastal Health has stated that the provision of this non-potable, irrigation water from this well, ( with signage) will be exempted from application of the Drinking Water Protection Act and Drinking Water Protection Regulations.

June 14, 2019

During Stage 2 and higher, the District of Sechelt provides a non-potable water station located at our Ebbtide works yard for our residents. This ground water has been tested by Caro Analytical Services, with the following confirmed:

  • This water is safe to use on vegetables, trees, shrubs, flowers, and grasses
  • In all situations, edibles grown in a garden should be washed before eating
  • This water is not disinfected therefore is not potable and not for human consumption

In addition, when using the Ebbtide non-potable water station, please keep in mind:

  • This water is not for commercial use
  • There is a 100 gallon per fill limit

Health Canada's Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality Summary Table can be found here

The June test results can be found here

Updates on water can be found on our Water and Sprinkling page.

May 26 - June 1, 2019

Q:I can't find anything on your website that shows what I can recycle. Please provide a clear, concise description of what can/can’t be recycled in the blue bin.

May 28, 2019

From the Garbage and Recycling tab on our home page you land on the page with all the information https://www.sechelt.ca/Live/Garbage-Recycling.

Rather than producing a long list of what goes where we have a Waste Wizard embedded on that page that you can use to look up any item and it will tell you where it goes. Any item you don’t find in the Wizard, can be entered as a suggested item and we will be notified that someone didn’t find what they were looking for and we find out where it goes and add it to the Wizard.

 

Q:Why can't anyone put out advance warning when there is construction on the highway?

May 28, 2019

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.

Q:Why do some neighbourhoods have bollards and others do not? Why were the bollards removed from Ballie Rd?

May 30, 2019

Bollards are installed in a neighbourhood to change the traffic patterns by diverting traffic to other roads, which reduces road connectivity and can reduce traffic flows in specific areas.

The bollards on Baillie Road were temporarily removed so the traffic patterns could be assessed and Council could decide if it makes sense for them to remain. For more information on the temporary removal of the bollards on Baillie, please review the staff report on page 160 of the April 17, 2019 Regular Council Agenda.

Council is interested in improving safety and neighbourhood connectivity, both of which are elements of the Official Community Plan.  While bollards on Baillie Rd help to reduce traffic in the area, they may also increase the amount of time it would take an emergency vehicle to reach residents and cause delays for snow plows in the winter. Some residents are in favour of the bollards remaining and some are opposed. These are some of the factors that will be considered by Council, along with the traffic data. 

Other neighbourhoods in Sechelt have bollards for various reasons.  Here are some examples:

  • Bollards that separate a side road from the Sunshine Coast Highway have been put in place as a requirement from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, which is the organization responsible for the highway.
  • West Sechelt subdivisions on Apollo, Andres Road and Partridge Way are each on a separate strata property. This means that the roads are owned by three different stratas, not the District of Sechelt.  Each strata has their own road and servicing, but these interconnect with other stratas via a sharing agreement. Partridge Way requires an emergency road right of way to meet fire department regulation. This was achieved by connecting Partridge Way to Andres Road. The main access point for the Partridge Way strata is off of Tyler Road.  The strata council of the first phase (Andres Rd) objected to having through traffic on their strata from a roadway connection to Andres Road. Therefore District Staff directed the developer (Oracle Properties) to install flexible bollards in order for facilitate the access of emergency vehicles only.

 

 

Q:I saw sprinklers going on District of Sechelt property outside of designated sprinkling hours!

May 28, 2019

The District of Sechelt has an arrangement with the manager of water at the Sunshine Coast Regional District. We are allowed to water outside of the normal watering times as long as we stick to the same days and time duration.  We do have to abide by the same watering restrictions as everyone else. Note that sports fields are under different regulations than privately owned lawns.  Watering of sports fields is permitted for Stage 1 and Stage 2.

Q:Was there an RFP for the removal of biosolids from our lagoons? And where will the biosolids go?

The RFP (request for proposal) was issued on April 5th and awarded to the only bidder on April 26th. The company that will remove the biosolids and dewater the site is AquaClear from Alberta. The biosolids will remain on site for one year to dewater and further compost. We will issue another RFP in a year to have the solids removed in an environmentally responsible way. There are many ways of dealing with it and one of them is to further compost it for commercial fertilizer use. 

Every time you flush your toilet, you contribute to our biosolids and it all has to go somewhere.... 

Q:I can't get to the public hearing about cannabis. Doesn't Council care what I think?

For any public hearing on any topic there are more ways to have your say than attending a meeting. You can email us at haveyoursay@sechelt.ca and your email will be forwarded to the department responsible for the project or you can direct your email to Council at council@sechelt.ca. You can also mail a letter to us at: PO Box 129 | 2nd Floor, 5797 Cowrie St. | Sechelt, BC | V0N 3A0. We are also happy to chat if you'd like to phone us at 604-885-1986.

Some of our larger issues or projects might have multiple ways to become involved. We usually take out ads in the local paper and post them to social media. We also create a page on the Have Your Say section of our website. Keep an eye on this page for popular topics.

 

Q:What am I getting for over $700.00 increase in my property taxes?

The average household in Sechelt will see a $122 increase in their Sechelt property tax. Of the tax bill that you receive, 39% is for Sechelt and the rest goes to other governments. Sechelt does not control those tax rates. 

Every year we all see an increase in our expenses. Insurance, gas, utilities and other items have all increased for the District of Sechelt as well. We did add a new staff position this year. We have a new position to manage our community facilities and assist with community events. The booking of our facilities was previously contracted out but we are bringing it in-house and expanding on the responsibilities. 

You can see the full list of what everything costs here https://www.sechelt.ca/Work/Finance-Taxation/Budget-Information

Q:Just wondering about the slash pile that is just north of the development to the west of Chat High School , are the developers responsible to get rid of it before Wild Fire Season?

Thank you for the question. We will have our Bylaw officers look into it today ( May 27) and request the developer clean it up. 

May 5 - May 11, 2019

Q:Why are sprinklers spraying all over the sidewalk in Davis Bay? Shouldn't this be stopped by the District of Sechelt?

May 10, 2019

Although the properties you are referring to are not District property, we are concerned when anyone is wasting water.  Please contact the property owner to alert them that they are wasting water. If you are not comfortable contacting the property owner you can call the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) at 604-885-6806. The SCRD is responsible for the provision of drinking water on the Sunshine Coast.

The District of Sechelt property at the Davis Bay waterfront is along the seawall pathway.  The small lawns and gardens in that area are watered using efficient micro-drip irrigation systems that do not spray. The District only uses drought resistant plants and grasses and native vegetation to reduce the amount of water needed.  The District adheres to water regulations and will be reducing the use of the micro drip irrigation as required by water restrictions.

Q:I would like to know if anything is planned for easing the summer traffic congestion at Cowrie and Trail Avenue. The influx of pedestrian traffic has caused major delays and frustration at the four way stop. Drivers waiting to take their turn to move on are sitting, idling, for long periods of time as one long, straggling line of pedestrians after another stop all progress..

May 9, 2019 

Here is the final design for the Cowrie/Trail intersection. This configuration indicates that some access restrictions were introduced for left turn movement onto Trail from the Mall. In addition, the design improves pedestrian and cyclist safety while removing the existing left and right turn lanes. However, it doesn’t alleviate the traffic congestion at this intersection during the summer time.

Further study would be required for the installation of a traffic light.

April 28 - May 4 2019

Q:Why can't we do yoga on the pier anymore?

May 4, 2019

One of our local businesses had been holding yoga classes, with permission from us, on the Trail Bay Pier for the past few summers, however, we realized we had been violating our lease with the Province in allowing this. We wrote to the Province to ask for permission to sublease our space for quiet activities like yoga and pilates. While we wait for a response from the Province, Council has approved for classes to run this summer and asked that we update our bylaws and policies. IF APPROVED by the Province, Sechelt piers will be considered a District facilities and will be rented out, as our other facilities are – first come, first served. If we get too many applications we will need to implement a transparent process to ensure all vendors have an opportunity to apply.

For more information please review the staff report on page 112 of the May 15, 2019 Regular Council Agenda.

Q:What, if any are the rules for harvesting seaweed or anything else from the beach in Sechelt ?

Beaches and oceans are the responsibility of the Provincial and Federal Governments. The District of Sechelt does not maintain or regulate our beaches. The Province of BC has some information on aquatic plant harvesting on their website. 

April 21 - 27, 2019

Q:I live in a manufactured home park (MHP) and don't have much garbage - do I have to pay for the full service from Waste Management?

April 25, 2019

Prior to April 2018 manufactured home parks were outside the solid waste collection service area for the District of Sechelt. Although there was no garbage or recycling collection for manufactured home parks, Direct Disposal made its own arrangements directly with the manufactured home parks, allowing residents to use the garbage tags, even though they were not included in the service area. 

When Waste Management bought out Direct Disposal in December 2017 they decided to not continue offering the same service to manufactured home parks (“MHPs”) that Direct Disposal did. Based on the terms of the contract with the District of Sechelt, they were not required to allow for the continued use of the garbage tags. Waste Management had identified two concerns that lead to their decision.  Firstly they did not want to sell garbage tags on behalf of the District and, secondly, the revenue from the tags was not sufficient to cover the cost of picking up the bag and disposing of the garbage at the landfill.

When notified about the situation some of the MHP’s and the individual manufactured home owners expressed concerns to the District about losing the service they had been used to getting. The first proposal was to have each MHP owner or each manufactured home owner contract directly with Waste Management for solid waste collection and disposal services.  Waste Management offered to provide the collection and disposal service directly to each home owner at a cost of $24.35, plus GST, per month.  This would equate to a total annual charge of $306.80.

District staff, through negotiations with Waste Management, agreed to add the MHP’s to the solid waste collection contract for the rest of the District.  The Solid Waste Control, Collection and Disposal Bylaw No. 548 was amended by Council to include manufactured home parks.  A pro-rated fee of $108 (equal to 6 months of service) has been levied for each manufactured home owner for solid waste collection and disposal for 2018.  In 2019 each manufactured home owner will be levied the same fee as any other single-family residential property owner in Sechelt for solid waste collection and disposal services ($216 for the year/$18 per month). Garbage tags alone are no longer an option for manufactured home parks and the rate negotiated by the District is less than the rate offered to homeowners by Waste Management.

Acknowledging that the higher cost for garbage pick up may impose additional financial burden on manufactured park residents, the District of Sechelt council passed a resolution on November 21, 2018 to allow eligible property owners to apply for a fee reduction equal to the portion of the Additional Homeowner’s Grant that an owner was unable to claim to a maximum of $216. This means that if your property taxes are lower than the amount of the Additional Homeowners Grant ($1,045) you can apply that amount to your garbage collection fee, up to $216.

To apply for the fee reduction, please email info@sechelt.ca for a fee reduction application before June 30, 2019. For more information please see:

Solid Waste Collection and Disposal Bylaw No. 548, Consolidated

 

April 14 - 20, 2019

Q:I have noticed several times while walking the Chapman Creek trails looking for solitude, a constant drone of a large yellow helicopter travelling back and forth in the area. What is going on? Why is it constantly travelling in this air space? The times I walk are in the afternoon, usually about 2 or 3pm. It has been like this for weeks now. It is ruining the pleasure of the trails and causing noise stress to me and my dog.

April 17, 2019 - Airspan Helicopters have been training their pilots and are following the Transport Canada airport flight circuits in the airport area.  This is an annual occurrence to train pilots as mandated by Transport Canada.  Since the Chapman Creek Trails are located near the threshold of the runway, activity within the airport will have a degree of impact in the nearby surrounding areas. 

This annual training will be complete by the end of next week. 

April 7 - 13, 2019

Q:How much more will my taxes be this year?

The proposed tax increase is 8.41%. That amount is taxed on the portion of your property tax bill that goes to the District of Sechelt - about 40% of the total bill. The rest of those funds go to other governments. For the average Sechelt home that will be about $122 more in 2019. 

Note the final tax bylaw has not been passed yet so this is not confirmed - it could still change. The bylaw will be passed by May 15th. 

Q:Why isn't water a strategic priority for this Council?

Council agrees with you that water is a priority but it is different than a ‘strategic’ priority. It’s a bit like paving roads and having a working sewer system. We don’t make those things a strategic priority but they are definitely a priority. They are at the core of what we do.

 

Strategic Priorities are values specifically related to a specific focus area like economic growth or environmental sustainability. Those priorities will guide future decision making. One of Council's strategic priorities is to manage growth effectively. This will guide their decisions around future development, roads, active transportation corridors, water, sewer and a host of other things that we need to do to manage growth effectively.

Q:There is a log on the beach on Poise Island park and tripping hazzards on the path. When will the District fix this?

The District is not permitted (and does not have the mandate or staff resources) to move logs on the beaches as per the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries regulations. Staff will clear debris away from our trails and stairs leading to beaches but there will be tripping hazards. Nature provides hazards like roots and rocks on our pathways and we smooth out the trails somewhat to remove the largest of them but there will always be tripping hazards when you are walking in the forest. Be careful. 

Q:I understand that Sechelt council intends to spend $6 million to do something to gold-plate Trail Avenue? Do any Councillors live on Trail Ave?

The way local government works, staff manage assets like roads and sewers and develop maintenance and replacement plans. Council approves the expenditures for those plans. Trail Ave is in rough shape and it has a high rate of vehicle/pedestrian/ bike interactions. A grant was available to pay for most of the cost of fixing the road, adding a bike lane and adding a sidewalk so staff proposed it to Council two years ago and it was approved. After the extensive consultation on the design we did with the community, we are now forging ahead because it needs to be done. It does not impact the tax rate. And to our knowledge none of the current council or the past council lives on Trail Ave... but we didn't ask. 

Q:How about adjusting that intersection by the cenotaph so that one car turning left to buy a muffin can’t stop all the traffic on the Coast?

Because that is the Ministry of Transportation responsibility and not the District of Sechelt. 

 

March 18 - 24, 2019

Q:Does Brickers Cidery have a special event permit for their upcoming event?

March 21, 2019

No, Special Event Permits are not required for events that take place on private property. For more information on special events in the District of Sechelt please review the Guidelines.

March 11 - 17, 2019

Q:How can I have my say on the proposed changes for the Trail bay Boulevard?

June 18, 2019 - Details on proposed changes for the Trail Bay Boulevard can be found on our Have Your Say Page. This project has been deferred to the 2020 budget period. 

During Active Transportation Month in May 2019 we tried a partial closure of the Boulevard as a pilot project.  This trial involved designating one lane on the Boulevard as a one-way driving lane and one lane for pedestrians only. During the trial, parking was not permitted on the Boulevard, requiring drviers to park on side streets or nearby parking lots. The District of Sechelt has recieved comments in support of the pedestrian lane on the Boulevard and comments in support of keeping the parking lane instead.  To submit a comment, please send an email to haveyoursay@sechelt.ca.

February 25 - March 3, 2019

Q:SEAWATCH Concordia Subdivision: What security measures are in place for the neighbourhood during the evacuation?

February 27, 2019

The District of Sechelt and the Sunshine Coast RCMP Detachment are working together to ensure the safety and security for the Seawatch neighbourhood.  The approach integrates all services, including fire, police, engineering, planning and other services.  A variety of proactive and response measures are in place, including human and electronic measures. 

The Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) has initiated Site Level Support (1001) response for the evacuation area. Site Level response means that first responders may attend onsite when needed to save lives and to protect public health, the environment and public infrastructure. With the geological instability in the evacuated area, first responders are not able to enter the site unless it is clear that lives are at risk. The fence and signage in the evacuated area are intended to warn people about the dangers in the area and restrict access.  As required by the Emergency Program Act, RCMP coordinate and support police and security services for the evacuated area and are working closely with the District of Sechelt.

The following measures are in place for the Seawatch neighbourhood:

  • Fencing and signage
  • Scheduled patrols at the perimeter of the evacuated area are conducted by District staff multiple times each day
  • RCMP officers are conducting targeted patrols at the perimeter of the site day and night
  • RCMP confirmed that they will respond to reports of suspicious activity and to public safety concerns in the Seawatch neighbourhood
  • Any vehicles parked near the Seawatch neighbourhood not registered to addresses inside the evacuated area are tracked
  • The area is patrolled by drone surveillance. At the recommendation of the RCMP, to deter criminals and to ensure greater security we will not provide the times or frequency of those patrols
  • Video surveillance at the perimeter of the site will be put in place as soon as possible.

Should you witness suspicious activity that is happening now, or someone's safety is immediately at risk, call 9-1-1. Should you have information about ongoing or suspicious activity that has happened in the past, please call the non-emergency line at (604) 885-2266.

February 11 - 17, 2019

Q:Is the District responsible for clearing snow on sidewalks?

The District of Sechelt clears sidewalks around municipal buildings. All other sidewalks are the responsibility of the property owners. Failure to clear within 24 hours can be reported to our bylaw department.

While we’re on the topic of snow removal, here is everything you’ve ever wanted to know about snow removal in Sechelt:

SNOW REMOVAL on District of Sechelt roads:

  • Arterial roads & bus routes are cleared first, then collector roads and then residential. If the arterial roads get an accumulation of snow before we even get to the collector roads, we start all over again. How fast we get to your road depends on how much snow falls from the sky.
  • We have 130 km of road to clear so it takes time.
  • We own 2 one-ton trucks with front plows and salters and 2 dump trucks with salters and belly plows. Council recently approved the purchase of one more truck with a blade and salter that can also be used by our Parks team in the non-snowy months.
  • Our plows are equipped with metal blades that scrape right down to the road. The blades wear out every four hours and our guys have to head back to the tent in the yard to change the blade. A blade is about $150. When you see our plow stop and head back to the shop, it isn't broken, it's just time for a blade change. (FYI: the tent is really cold and they have to lie on the ground to change the blade - we really appreciate how miserable that job is for our guys!)
  • We are experimenting with a rubber blade. It is about $500 but so far we are getting much more wear out of it. It only works if the roads are sloppy and slushy. It won't remove compacted snow.
  • Brine is used when the road is bare and dry and we expect snow or ice. Brine stops the ice and snow from sticking... for a while. If there are accumulations of snow it won't continue to work because the snow melts and washes the brine away.
  • Salt is used when a road has been driven on and the snow becomes compacted. Salt will melt it or at least loosen it so we can come back again and scrape away the slush.
  • Brine and salt are only used up to about -8 degrees. After that, they will melt the ice a bit but it will freeze again quickly and become very smooth and dangerous.

Snow Removal on Sunshine Coast Highway 101: This is the responsibility of the provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. They contract their snow removal and highway maintenance to Capilano Highways; call them toll free at 1-800-665-3135 or by email at info@capilanohighways.ca

February 4 - 10, 2019

Q:SEAWATCH Concordia Subdivision: What changed? Why evacuate now?

The engineering report indicates the sinkhole danger extends throughout Seawatch and includes homes as well as roads and other infrastructure. When it is a matter of public safety, the District must rely on the professional advice of our engineers.

The February 6th Thurber report stated:

“the sinkhole hazard is increasing with time and is not confined to locations where sinkholes have occurred previously. There is a very high probability of at least one sinkhole collapse each year based on the recent history of the site.”

The report further states:

"Future sinkholes or landslides could damage existing infrastructure such as underground utilities, roads or sidewalks, or private property including buildings and retaining walls. Injury or even death are possible consequences.”

The sinkhole that showed up in December did so with no warning at all. District staff have been monitoring the site weekly for some time and previous sinkholes formed slowly over time. This one was sudden, unexpected and significantly larger than any other.

Q:SEAWATCH Concordia Subdivision: Why didn’t the District do the dewatering solution that was recommended a few years ago?

In July 2015, engineers hired by the District provided costs estimates for various remedial measures that could be undertaken to improve the stability of the ground in the Subdivision.

The total cost of the measures proposed were estimated, at that time, to be in the order of $10 million. The reports, however, cautioned that this was a very complex site and that there was no guarantee that the proposed measures would lead to a long term stable solution.

The District determined that it could not incur such expenditures for a project of this nature where there was no agreement the measures would produce a long term solution.

Further the District did not have funds of that magnitude available. Borrowing that amount would have required approval in a public referendum and would have imposed a substantial tax burden on all of the District’s residents for years to come.

Q:SEAWATCH Concordia Subdivision: Since the DOS allowed this development don’t you have the responsibility to make it right for these people?

  • In 2006, Concordia Development, the owner and developer, was required as part of the Subdivision approval process, to register a section 219 Restrictive Covenant against title on all lots. This covenant attached an expert geotechnical opinion that described the geotechnical attributes of the land and documented the history of  sinkholes in the area to that time. That Restrictive Covenant was registered on the title of each lot in the subdivision. All subsequent purchasers had notice of the known underlying geotechnical hazards in the subdivision.
  • In accordance with the Community Charter and the Local Government Act, the District relied on the sealed geotechnical reports provided by the experienced Geotechnical Engineer retained by Concordia Development.

Q:SEAWATCH Concordia Subdivision: Why isn’t the DOS suing the developer to force him to take remedial action?

Property owners will need to take their own actions against parties they believe are responsible. The District cannot do that for them.

Q:SEAWATCH Concordia Subdivision: Why don’t you just buy their homes?

The District’s position is: the District and the Sechelt taxpayer are not responsible to remediate a problem created by a private venture. If Sechelt citizens would like to provide a financial solution for the developer, it could double or triple the property taxes. A 1% tax increase results in revenue of only  $86,000.

January 14 - 20, 2019

Q:Why does your communications manager post things during work hours to closed group Facebook pages. Isn't this a waste of my tax dollars.

January 14, 2019 - The District of Sechelt uses quite a number of means to communicate with citizens. We post to our own social media pages, post to our website, take out ads, update our Sechelt Citizen App, take out radio ads etc. One of the many ways we can reach citizens is by sharing our Facebook posts to other pages. This accomplishes two things: we make more people aware of the issue we are sharing and we make more people aware of our Facebook page. The more likes we get on our page, the more people we can reach with each posts. This is just one of the many ways we try to reach our citizens. And social media is free. Our only cost is our time. 

Q:The DoS CFO stated that he expects this to be the last year of high tax increases. I would like to know how things are going to change in the future and what is being done to ensure these high increases will not continue. Can you explain why they will not be as high going forward?

January 14, 2019 - Every year staff calculates the cost of providing the current level of service. Unless there are significant changes to what the citizens and Council want to provide, the predicted tax increases on page 8 of the draft financial plan will be reasonably accurate. Remember this is a draft. Nothing is final until Council says it is. The anticipated tax rates are 2019: 11.81%, 2020: 4.13%, 2021: 5.33%, 2022: 4.24% and 2023: 3.23%. The draft plan and lots of other fun facts are on our website: http://www.sechelt.ca/Work/Finance-Taxation/Budget-Information 

Q:Budget 2019 question: It would help me if you could share the expected return on investment if the facilities coordinator is hired. Will the hire result in an increase in facility rental revenue, or save money in some way?

January 14, 2019 - The rental revenue is currently approximately $42,000 a year. Could it increase? Maybe. Or could we ensure those facilities meet the community's needs better? Maybe. We hear people say things like Seaside should have a better kitchen, Mission Point House needs outdoor furniture and better indoor furniture and dishes... But we have never talked to our users to find out what they need and what we can provide. If we did that, would they be rented out more? And what is the value in having municipal buildings that meet the community's needs? What price do we put on bookclub meeting space and art walls etc?

Q:The 2019 budget calls for Planning Consultants. Why are they needed?

January 14, 2019 - The planning consultants help with large scale policy projects. This year we will be reviewing our OCP (our largest and most important policy) and, in response to some feedback we have received about inconsistencies in our policies, we will be reviewing and rewriting some others.

Learn more about the budget: http://www.sechelt.ca/Work/Finance-Taxation/Budget-Information

 

Q:Are the 3 new staff positions in the budget new and if so why are they all needed?

January 14, 2019 - Yes, they are all new. Facilities Coordinator because the booking of our facilities is currently contracted out and we'd like to do it ourselves and we would like to manage and market them better to see if we can meet the community's needs better and increase revenue. Development Engineer is something we don't have but need. It is a position that provides engineering expertise regarding the engineering and servicing needs for new developments (Yes you can build there and we can put the sewer line here but get a geotechnical report on X). We do still do this work but it is done by our municipal engineer who has other responsibilities and can result in long delays for property owners and developers. The Building Inspector is required to help us keep up with the current workload and provide more timely service for our building community. Will get more details from those departments and update this in the morning if they have anything to add. (8:24 am Tuesday update: The above information is correct but we added the line re the building inspector about hoping to provide more timely service.)

January 2 - 12, 2019

Q:My neighbour's house smells. Are grow ops legal now?

January 3, 2019 - No. Please report this to the RCMP.

We are currently reviewing our zoning bylaws regarding marijuana sales and production. There have not been any provincial permits or local business licenses permitted to date. Production permits will likely be in industrial or farming areas and not in residential neighbourhoods. 

You can learn more here: http://www.sechelt.ca/Contact-Us/Have-Your-Say-Sechelt/Cannabis 

December 16 - 22, 2018

Q:We used to have a street sweeper in Sechelt as well as the maintenance crew used to clear the storm drains before a big storm? What happened to these services ?

December 20 - Sechelt does not own a street sweeper. We lease one a couple of times a year to clean our roads. Our Public Works crews regularly clear storm drains. Sometimes during heavy wind we have a lot of debris throughout the district at once and they can not clear it all fast enough. To manage the risk of flooding, we ask that residents keep an eye on their storm drains and clear them or notify us if they need to be cleared. 

Q:When will construction on Trail Ave begin?

December 17, 2018 - The original Trail Avenue design came in beyond what was budgeted. Staff had the project redesigned and is presenting it to Council as part of the 2019 budget. 

Q:Just wondering if there any plans to capture and store some of this water that is falling and will continue until about March, Or are we just planning for another summer with not enough water

December 17, 2018 - Water is the responsibility of the Sunshine Coast Regional District however, they do not have a water supply problem, they have a water storage problem. The reservoir is not large enough to store all of the water necessary for Coast citizens and businesses. The SCRD Board is reviewing options to increase storage.

Q:What do I get for this new tax increase that I don't already have?

December 17, 2018 - At this point, there is no tax increase. Staff have proposed a budget for Council to consider. There will be a process in January for the public to provide feedback and then Council will deliberate and make decisions on what services or projects will make up the final budget. The budget proposed by staff does not contain any new services but does contain a number of costs necessary to maintain current service levels and maintain or upgrade infrastructure. 

 

November 18 - 24, 2018

Q:For what reasons can Council have a closed meeting?

November 24, 2018 - All meetings of local government must be open to the public unless authorized to be closed. Under certain circumstances elected officials may close a meeting or part of a meeting by passing a resolution in an open meeting that sets out the basis for closing the meeting. Often, once the issue has been resolved, Council will bring the matter to an open meeting.

Closed Meeting Requirements:

Municipal councils may close a meeting, or part of a meeting, by passing a resolution that sets out the basis for closing the meeting to discuss any of the following:

  • Personal information about individuals appointed to or being considered for appointment as an officer, employee or agent of the local government
  • Personal information about individuals being considered for an award or who have offered a gift to the local government on condition of anonymity
  • Labour/employee relations
  • Security of property of the local government
  • Acquisition, disposition or expropriation of land or improvements if local government interests could be harmed by disclosure
  • Law enforcement, if disclosure could harm an investigation or enforcement of an enactment
  • Litigation or potential litigation impacting the local government
  • A hearing or potential hearing by an outside administrative tribunal affecting the local government, for example, the Gaming Commission, the Passenger Transportation Board or the Utilities Commission
  • The receipt of legal advice
  • Information that is prohibited or information that if it were presented in a document would be prohibited from disclosure under section 21 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (business interests of a third party)
  • Service negotiations and related discussions that are at their preliminary stages and that could harm the interests of the local government if held in public
  • A matter related to the local government that is being investigated by the Office of the Ombudsperson
  • Objectives, measures and progress report discussions with local government officers and employees for the purposes of preparing annual reports
  • A matter that, under a separate enactment, may be discussed in a closed meeting
  • Deciding whether or not the meeting should be closed
  • Deciding whether or not a local government wishes to use the authority under section 91 of the Community Charter to exclude staff or allow them to attend a closed meeting, or in specified circumstances to allow other persons to attend a closed meeting

Local governments may not adopt bylaws in a closed meeting. All council or board votes on the reading or adoption of a bylaw must be made in an open meeting, even if the issues that gave rise to the bylaw were discussed in a closed meeting.

For additional information, please refer to the Community Charter, section 90 - Meetings that may or must be closed to the public

 

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. 

 

May 22, 2019 - For information on the 2018 tax deferrments, please refer to this staff report. The District of Sechelt receives a full payment from the Province to cover the portion of taxes deferred for each tax deferrment every year.

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.

May 21, 2019

Some of the residents on Ballie Rd would like the bollards to remain, while others have asked that they be removed. District of Sechelt Council and staff need to ensure the principles of the Official Community Plan are upheld and that the neighbourhood remains as safe as possible. Council have decided to have the bollards on Baillie Road temporarily removed and a traffic counter installed to measure the amount of traffic, types of traffic and speeds for a 60 day period.  For more information on the recommendation from staff to temporarily remove the bollards, please review the April 17, 2019 staff report (page 160).

The debate on whether or not to remove the bollards has been going on for some time.  Residents of Ballie Road have presented their cases to Council and committee as delegations:

For more information on the Ballie Road bollards please contact our Public Works Department at 604-885-1986 or info@sechelt.ca.

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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