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Design Visioning Workshop final Presentations Video

18 students from VIU's Master of Community Planning program worked with members of the community to develop four different design concepts for the future of the village core. Community events each evening provided on-going feedback informing the evolving concepts. Many visionary and imaginative ideas were put forward!

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Village Vision: Byways & People Spaces.

Designing public spaces and pedestrian walkways

March 12, 2016

1:00 to 3:30 pm

Phoenix Auditorium

The Haven

 

AGENDA

12:30 Doors open

1:00 Welcome and Session Overview

1:15 Update on Status of the Village Way – Howard Houle

1:25 What do we mean by “Open Space” and “Connectivity” – Megan Walker

1:30 Keynote Presentation – Ross Blackwell

2:20 Design Workshops

3:05 Design Gallery

3:15 Confirmation of Top Choices and Feedback

3:30 Closing Remarks

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Water In-Water Out: Presentations from the October 4th Session

How much Water Exists in the Village Core? by John Peirce

How much do we need? How do we collect and distribute water? by Andrew Gower

What are sewer systems? How do we service, regulate & manage them? by Ian Ralston

What were the main points covered in the discussions?

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Village Vision Plan Framework - Draft Document

Over the past year you, Gabriola residents, have participated in four community workshops and offered up your ideas, comments and vision for our community. Reflecting on the information gathered from these events, the committee has organized the information in a draft document which outlines the overall vision, guiding values and principles you have offered. Please have a look and forward your comments to us in the area below this post. We look forward to your ideas and comments.

Village Vision Plan Framework

 

Vision

Gabriola’s Village is the heart of the island.  It is where Gabriolans gather to shop, celebrate, play, exercise, socialize, eat, work and live – a complete, vibrant, and walkable village at the center of our larger island community.  The complete and compact community design in the Village enhances connection, vitality, and walkability, and reduces sprawl and habitat fragmentation in the more rural areas of the island. Innovative and sustainable infrastructure ensures development respects the area’s carrying capacity.  Our streets and walkways are valuable public open space that put pedestrians and cyclists first, creating a welcoming, attractive, and safe environment to “park once then walk”. Places and buildings are well designed, human-scale, and use a local and creative vernacular, creating a distinctive and memorable Village environment that is compelling for visitors and residents alike. The Village is also the center of a strong, locally based economy that supports working families, demographic diversity, and a healthy, sustainable quality of life. Our governing bodies and private development work collaboratively to ensure public and private improvement projects contribute to the greater Village context, and make incremental progress towards the community’s vision for Gabriola’s Village core.

Guiding Values and Principles

Building for Resiliency and Sustainability

In the context of climate change and the island’s limited carrying capacity we need to plan for resiliency and sustainability.  That means understanding the limitations of carrying capacity, creating innovative approaches to manage pressures now and into the future, and understanding and reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.  Gabriola can learn from other rural communities and become a showcase for innovation in its own right through development of new water and septic technologies, use of solar energy, edible landscapes, rain gardens, green building design and grey water systems. We should not be afraid to rethink our attitude towards ‘density’ in the context of sustainability. 

Encouraging and Supporting Diversity

A vibrant village core will be demographically diverse, meet a diversity of needs, and provide a diversity of housing opportunities.  This means that the village core will have the capacity to support a cross-section of the population (e.g., seniors, special needs, families, youth, children, and single people).  Planning will address current, emerging and desired demographics (e.g., balancing the predicted growth in the aging population with the need to make the Village welcoming and attractive for younger people).  The village core will accommodate a variety of land uses including commercial, light industrial, institutional, housing, green space including small scale agriculture and cultural activities (e.g., artisans).  A vibrant village core will also depend on have a diversity of housing optionsincluding single family, duplex, multi-unit, and work/live arrangements and an array of affordability and ownership options including fee simple ownership, rental, subsidized, co-op housing, co-housing, and respite housing.

Sustaining a Welcoming Gabriola Aesthetic

The village should reflect the island’s rural culture and values and its deep roots in the arts.  The village should be visually and physically welcoming through the use of street art, information, attractive signage and places to sit and socialize.  The design of the Village should say something about our culture as West Coasters and islanders and the imperative that we live sustainably within our environment.  We should encourage the use of natural materials, small scale buildings and compact living spaces. Designs should be simple, sustainable, and emphasize the natural setting. 

Enhancing Community Vitality

Land use bylaws, building designs, landscaping and hardscaping should enhance the potential for the social, cultural, economic and physical well-being of the community.  Design should enable increased, multi-modal connectivity linking walking, bike-riding, bus routes to a central gathering place.  Linkages should focus on safely linking from the ferry to Tin Can Alley.  Building, green space, and infrastructure design should be built to a scale that empowers rather than overwhelms people who will be using the space. It should ensure accessibility as well as access to amenities such as washrooms and emphasize parks rather than parking.

A Community-Owned Village Core

While comparatively few people live in the village core, it represents a central gathering place on the island used regularly by every resident. We need to have a balance between privately owned properties and public spaces ranging from plazas or town squares to parks and gardens, as well as performance, exhibition, and community gathering space. Although the island is supported by a number of governance bodies (e.g., Islands Trust, RDN and MOTI) there needs to be a way to ensure islanders have a streamlined way to express their aspirations for the village core.  

Operating Principles

Our operating principles speak to the way we behave in gathering input, analysing, planning, and engaging. Our primary role is to facilitate a community process. We offer our time and energy on a volunteer basis for the good of our community by: 

·       Clearly articulating the role of this project as generating ideas and vision, and recognizing that this effort has no statutory authority for directing implementation;

·       Facilitating and encouraging open and bold thinking by everyone, while also providing information as needed to keep expectations realistic;

·       Designing a process that encourages broad participation by community members, groups, businesses, neighbors, local governing bodies and all stakeholders;

·       Documenting all ideas and comments and reporting them back to the community;

·       Being open, honest and accountable in our activities, and providing easy access to information to the community at large, everyone we work with and with each other;

·       Contributing our own ideas as community members throughout the process, while avoiding imposing our opinions on others, and challenging each other if we are acting in bias;

·       Promoting an environment of respectful communication and dialogue;

·       Endeavouring to provide useful and accurate information as needed to inform the discussion.

 

Focus Areas, Goals and Actions [to be developed]

At this point we envision six focus areas: housing; sustainability, ecosystems and reducing our climate footprint; site infrastructure and carrying capacity; character, aesthetics and culture; economy and commerce; public spaces; and circulation and connectivity.  For each of these focus areas we would identify: desired future states; primary goals; strategies; the actions necessary to achieve the goals; and the indicators that will tell us if we have been successful. 

We feel we can begin to flesh out some of these areas already either because we have already had a workshop specific to the topic (e.g., housing) or because we have gathered feedback that aligns with a particular topic (e.g., circulation and connectivity). 

Governance and Implementation [to be developed]

Recognizing that we don’t have the authority or resources to implement many of the things in the plan, this section will identify the parts of the plan that will require either changes to existing statutes, regulations, bylaws or policies or commitment of resources. It will likely address the following governance bodies: Islands Trust (land use bylaws and policies); RDN (building code; waste management); MOTI (roadways); and, Island Health (water, septic).   

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Water In, Water Out: Sunday, October 4th from 1:00 – 4:30 pm at the Haven’s Phoenix Theatre.

Is There Enough Water to Support Village Expansion?

The first three Village Vision Workshops have gathered Islanders’ ideas about roles for the village, land use potentials, and housing, respectively.  The emerging vision reflects a complete and compact community that promotes connectivity, vitality and walkability while not exceeding the carrying capacity of the Island.

A critical consideration for any future expansion of commercial, community and residential infrastructure in the village area must be the provision of adequate water supplies and adequate wastewater treatment.

Workshop #4 is titled “Water In, Water Out” and the discussions will be framed by presentations from experts: 

·      “Water In” will cover rainwater harvesting; water storage;; wells; “aquifers”; and the potential for shared systems. 

·      “Water Out” will focus on wastewater treatment; water re-use (grey water); and stormwater management.

Please join us on Sunday, October 4th from 1:00 – 4:30 pm at the Haven’s Phoenix Theatre. 

 If you pre-register for the workshop you will receive background information in advance.

Speakers for Oct 4 Village Vision Workshop

John Peirce, P. Geo., Gulf Islands Rainwater Connection Ltd., Gabriola Island

John has designed and installed rainwater-harvesting systems on Gabriola for the last five years. He is co-author (with Nick Doe) of the article The Hydrogeology of Gabriola.

John will speak briefly on the current information available on water use in the area of the village core.

Ian Ralston, Eng. L., Trax Development, Thetis Island

Ian is a provincially recognized expert on onsite sewerage systems.
He is a co-author of the APEGBC Professional Practice Guideline,
Onsite Sewerage Systems as well as the Ministry of Health Sewerage
System Standard Practice Manual (SPM) version 2 and the new version 3.
Mr Ralston is currently working with the Ministry of Health on
development of a Manual of Composting Toilet and Greywater System
Practice.

Ian has designed large and small onsite sewerage systems in BC since
1995, and specializes in the design and implementation of ground
discharge systems for difficult sites.

His presentation will cover:

  • Regulatory context and options available for small (<5000 GPD) and large systems,
  • Decentralized concept, management options, economic risk management.
  • Range of treatment technologies, with emphasis on "smarter" systems, with pros and cons
  • Rangeofoptionsfordispersal of treated effluent or re-use of reclaimed water (both grey and black), with some pros and cons.

Following the presentation: questions and answers to provide some basis for the
smallgroupdiscussions. 

Andrew Gower, P. Eng., Wedler Engineering, Courtenay, B.C.

Andrew helped start up the Courtenay office of Wedley Engineering. He has a keen interest in sustainable systems and has consulted on many rainwater and other alternative water systems. He is also the current Chair of the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce.

His presentation will cover:

Water requirements

  • Quantity – how much water do we need?
  • Quality – what are the current standards that have to be met?

Water sources

  • Ground water
  • Rainwater
  • Water-reuse (briefly)

 Challenges

  • Storage
  • Regulations

 

 

 

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VILLAGE VISION WORKSHOP THREE – HOUSING Community Discussion Points Summary

KEY TAKE-AWAY

There is strong support for increased diversity and density of housing in the village core.

WHAT?

What types of housing are needed on Gabriola?

What types of housing would be most appropriate for the Village Core?

·      Residential above commercial should be encouraged.

·      Interest in live – work models.

·      Need for both rental and ownership options; mix demographics and price points.

·      Need for “attainably – priced” rental and entry level ownership housing for lower income families and service job providers, as well as seniors and special needs.

·      Interest in denser single family residential models – such cohousing or cooperatives.

·      Interest in semi-detached housing options such as townhouses.

·      Interest in single building multi-family housing- i.e. apartments /condos.

·       Openness to increased height, up to maximum 3 stories. Height and massing should be broken up by courtyards, landscaping, changes in massing and setbacks.

·       Consider how to keep affordable housing affordable: i.e.’ limited equity models.

·      Need for hospice / extended care / assisted living facilities… but mixed into other housing types, not isolated.

·      Interest in defined cooperatives – collectives that mix denser housing and a common interest, such as agriculture or artist cooperative housing.

WHERE:

Where would you like to see changes to the status quo housing pattern, if anywhere?

Where would you define a Village Core boundary for allowing increased density, if anywhere? 

·      Re-zone and redevelop for denser housing within the village core area. Parcels suggested include Lochinvar triangle (most frequently suggested), Folklife Village Phase 2 the empty commercial parcel behind Folklife Village, Emcon, and a portion of the Commons.

·      The village core boundary needs to be clarified. The area suggested roughly includes:  ferry – RCMP – clinic – Tin Can alley.

·      Suggestion that density does not necessarily need to be in the village core if it is on a transit route

HOW:

How should increased housing in the Village core be achieved?

How should housing be developed?

How can the existing or potential barriers to any desired future housing patterns be overcome?

·      Change zoning to allow mixed use; secondary suites, cottages on both SRR and LRR in the core; and multi-family housing.

·      Existing density transfer model does not work – would issuing a charitable receipt help?

·      Allow a one-time creation of new densities for the village core.

·      Clarify the definition of “rural character”   - it is vague and interpretations are perhaps not serving our needs.

·      Many ideas suggested for how village housing can be developed: community owned land trust, on purchased or donated land; cooperatively owned, with shares; privately owned; housing society or other non-profit to take lead; community raises funds and RDN purchases land, and it is developed through a public / private partnership.  Suggestion for an Islands Trust driven task force to study the “how”.

·      Implement ways to overcome water and septic constraints. Let density be defined by ecological footprint.

·      More imaginative, positive, and expansive approach to zoning, including illustrations.

·      Recruit a board for the established non-profit/charitable housing society to help develop the housing.

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Session Three Agenda

Village Vision Workshop #3

AGENDA

2:00 to 5:00 p.m.

May 23rd, 2015

Phoenix Auditorium – The Haven

Session Objective: to investigate the potential for increased housing in the Village core.  

1:30                  Registration

2:00                   Welcome and Session Overview

2:10                  Building Relationships with Decision Makers – Steve Earle

2:20                  The Housing Context on Gabriola

How OCP Policies and Tools Address Housing – Melanie Mamoser, Trustee

What we Know about Current Housing Need and Supply – John Peirce

3:00                  Refreshment Break

3:15                  Housing Approaches for Small, Rural Communities – Matt Thomson

3:45                  Discussion Groups (see questions over)

4:30                  Plenary Reports

4:55                  Conclusions and Next Steps

Discussion Questions

We have posed a series of questions to get a better idea of how we might address housing issues in our community.  You are invited to choose two of the three topics and you will have 20 minutes at each topic table to share your ideas and brainstorm with others.  Each table will have a volunteer moderator whose job is to keep the discussion on track and ensure that everyone who wants has a chance to speak.  They will also be recording notes for reporting out. 

You can identify which topic is at which table by the cards indicating either “What”, “Where” or “How”.

WHAT

·       What types of housing are needed on Gabriola?

·       What types of housing would be most appropriate for the Village Core?

WHERE

·       Where would you like to see changes to the status quo housing pattern, if anywhere?

·       Where would you define a Village Core boundary for allowing increased density, if anywhere?  Should it be decided on a case by case proposal basis or should zoning bylaws be revised?

HOW

·       How should increased housing in the Village core be achieved? E.g., add new densities; transfer densities from more rural parts of the island; transfer accessory cottage densities from other parts of the island; other . . .

·       How should housing be developed? E.g., existing non-profit housing society; form a cooperative; private developer/market driven; community-owned development corporation, Community Land Trust or similar vehicle; developer/non-profit partnership or public/private partnership.

·       How can the existing or potential barriers to any desired future housing patterns be overcome? E.g., bylaws, water and septic infrastructure, others?

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Notes from the tables

HOW

 

How should increased housing in the village core be achieved?

-Boundary of village area was agreed upon at table

(Roughly; ferry-rcmp-clinic-tin can alley)

-Residential above commercial

-Live/work spaces

-Both rentals and ownership

-Increase commercial rental units per development permissible

-Create conditions for secondary suites

-Create conditions for permissible multi unit e.g. duplex/four plex etc.

-Density transfer tool is not functional w/out densities

-Confusion at table about why park transfers did not happen

-Suggested to do a one-time transfer of densities to start off bank

-12 densities were suggested as that is what one would get for a hectare

-The one time deposit for the density bank should be specific for affordable housing

-We need to get ahead of density, as a community, before it is upon

-The OCP mandate speaks of  ‘preserving the rural character’ of the island(s).

-This needs to be defined as the rural character includes the people and their culture, not just the natural environment

How should housing be developed?

Options for Land purchase

Community owned (Land Trust)

-Purchase or

-Donated

Coop owned

-Buy shares

Privately owned/Leased

-Long term

-Diversity is best for housing development

-Land Trust scenario would be ideal

-Allows young families and singles to get in the market

-Housing society or other non-profit to take lead

-Islands trust driven task force

How can the existing or potential barriers for housing be overcome?

-Island owned de-salination facility/system

-Onsite treatments

-Rainwater collection mandatory

-Environmental rules/guidelines for developers

(Ran out of time…)

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notes from the tables

Where 1 - Table notes: Village Vision Housing workshop May 21

  • 1 residential per / commercial allowance is not feasible for developers
  • Residential / commercial safer more economically viable
  • Community space & housing located in Lockinvar Triangle in a community owned space with parking pockets (parallel parking with bumpouts- for ease of pedestrian crossing & narrowing the street) around the triangle 
  • Any zoning needs to be illustrated for possibilities, as words only are not complete. Examples of illustrated zoning from planners Duaney PlaterZyberk ( http://www.dpz.com/Initiatives/AgrarianUrbanism)
  • Perhaps a land trust/strata rental housing mix.
  • Could the commons focus on rental property? it is zoned ALR
  • Builders could incorporate suites in SFR to accommodate affordability in the village area and beyond.
  • What is the status of mobile home parks in the ocp?

Where 2 - Table notes: Village Vision Housing workshop May 21

Currently

  • Institutional 
  • Commercial is zoned less than 1 acre
  • Commercial zoned folklife village
  • Why not more residential in the New Madrona?
  • Lockinvar Triangle Commercial on both sides of the street - street calming, housing
  • do we need more commercial?

Short term

·       Performing Arts should be in the Village not outside.

·       Sports and arts in the village - (community centre?)

Long term visioning beyond the Triangle

·       We need a long term vision for 50 years and a bigger circle

  • RDN, Land Trust, Municipally owned land

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Notes From the tables

VILLAGE VISION SESSION 3 _HOUSING


May 23.2015
“How” discussion table notes
Notetaker: Megan Walker


Discussion questions:
How should increased housing in the village core be achieved? E.g., add new densities; transfer densities from more rural parts of the island; transfer accessory cottage densities from other parts of the island; other…
How should housing be developed? E.g., existing non-profit housing society; form a cooperative; private developer / market riven; community-owned development corporation, community land trust, or similar vehicle; developer/non-profit partnership or public/private partnership.
How can the existing or potential barriers to any desired future housing patterns be overcome? E.g., bylaws, water and septic infrastructure, others?
Comments:

  •  Rezone Folklife Village Phase 2 or whole thing.
  •  RDN should purchase Lochinvar Triangle.
  •  Rezone the Emcon property to include denser housing.
  •  There is a bigger need for housing for families, not seniors or special needs.
  •  One time creation of density for creation of “attainable” housing for families.
  •  Donations of density in exchange for charitable receipt, especially for properties that are challenging / expensive to develop.
  •  Process: community raises funds, RDN purchases land, and a housing society develops.
  •  Housing for single, working, low-income service jobs.
  •  Boarding houses for up to 5 people as currently allowed is not an economical model.
  •  Density does not necessarily need to be in the core, as long as it is on a transit route.
  •  There is a community paradigm shift to support of density in the core.
  • Adding new densities is the least complicated method. Other methods have barriers, and mixed values. Plus those that might get added to the density bank.
  •  We need the Leadership piece from Matt’s model. Recruit a board for the existing society.
  •  Use modern technologies to overcome technical barriers. Look to the Living Building Challenge. But do not set goal so high that it can’t be achieved.
  •  The Who: public / private partnership with the RDN.
  •  Allow duplexes – if fits within the eco-footprint / carrying capacity of the site.
  •  Need charitable organization. To receive donations. Could be the Lions, PHC, or the Commons. Which could loan the money to the housing society. Needs highly transparent accounting.
  • RDN should buy the Lochinvar Triangle. With a vision the whole community can support. Community fundraising for the small “a” affordable housing and amenities. Develop through a public / private developer / housing society partnership

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Notes From the Tables

Notes from one of the How tables

We need to create new density, but it has to be done in a thoughtful way.

Density is now a safe topic; the “no more density people” are either dead or not politically involved.

We need more tools for secondary suites, and we need to get rid of bylaw 252 (the one about washrooms in secondary suites)

In order to increase density we need to become more flexible over water supply, reuse and treatment, including issues like rain-water, grey water, micro-treatment and composting toilets.

Steve

VILLAGE VISIONING – Housing. May 23/15 at the Haven

Some thoughts on the “What type of housing” question issuing from two brief groupdiscussions (Italics indicate a term needing agreed-upon definition):

First, some general comments were given on zoning:

- Gabriola has focussed on detached housing with few exceptions. We need to loosen up the zoning to allow for multi-unit housing in specific areas, with the proviso that any development be required to offer a minimum percentage of affordable housing (for those below the poverty line?)

- Proposal that there be no further development of commercial properties that do not include residential suites

- Mixed zoning is needed to allow for residential units above commercial spaces

- Let density be defined by ecological footprint e.g. possibility to walk to work requires less space for car. When analysing “carrying capacity” of the island, analyse alternative ways of collecting/conserving water and dealing with septic effluent. (e.g.constructed wetlands at strategic places or composting toilets)

General observations on the “What?” question:

“Housing Type” breaks down into two physical forms:

1. Detached housing - status quo (Single Family Residential) for most of Gabriola, or:

- created within a larger context such as a defined neighbourhood e.g. co-housing or agricultural cooperative (see below). Note the “how”: Zoning changes needed, s well as focus on sustainable building and infrastructure.

- distinct houses which may contain multiple independent rooms e.g. Abbeyfield model or boarding houses.

2. Multi-unit housing

- semi-detached such as duplexes or townhouses (i.e. more efficient use of space)

- multiple separate units (apartments) within one building

- mixed zoning strongly favoured (eg residential above commercial.) This was seen as essential to make the village core “live”- see Village Core discussion)

Maximum height? to be discussed (3 levels seemed to be a max)

Note – “Affordable” co-housing/co-op projects needto be kept affordable when resold!

A. What types of housing are needed on Gabriola?

Answers to this question tended to focus on those being housed, (with a strong preference for affordable solutions):

Elderly:

- “HOSPICE” - multiple-unit housing which would permit “aging in place” (needs to be defined i.e. degree of shared space/privacy?) Reference: the film “Quartet” – housing for a specific group of retirees e.g. artists.

–assisted living units (requiring medical care). This is distinct from hospice.

Note: despite isolating this group by age, there was general agreement on the need for housing to be within a larger mixed housing context (and “mixed” was defined very broadly.)

Renters (Note there is a critical need for modestly-priced housing!)

Type:

a) independent units within multi-unit structures (min. size – 400 sq.ft. although some felt units of 200 sq.ft. could provide the essentials of safety and privacy.)

b) cottages (defined as “detached” and of a max. size (700 sq.ft.?) (discussion went sideways into “How” comments).

c) boarding house model w/ common kitchen

Families with children

This was noted as a category with housing needs, but discussion didn’t focus on this beyond mentioning need to include it in mixed development projects along with provision of day care space.

Defined Co-operatives.

For example:

- Agricultural Co-operative - multiple families holding land together, with residential units grouped densely, providing privacy yet allowing best use of land for farming as well as communal spaces.

- Artist co-operative with loft/studios (dissolving separation of living from working space)

Experimental housing

- proposed: a demonstration of affordable, ecologically viable housing (subsidized by BC Housing ). This could feature solar hot water, solar power, composting toilet, and features not permitted in the Building Code ( eg. reuse of viable building materials, alternatives to the “sealed tight” unit requiring mechanical ventilation! etc.)

B.  Housing types appropriate for the Village Core (this led to inevitable “where” and “how” comments!)

1. Comments focussing on overall planning:

encourage walking with pathways everywhere need to accorded equal importance to car parking and roadways.

-visible, easy access bus shelters

-human scale – provide benches, trellises – comfortable, appealing spaces for people to meet and chat

work on aesthetics

– make/keep it beautiful and green (landscaping in Folklife Village is a good start)

- try to avoid long straight walkways

- lamp-post rather than industrial lighting (Folklife has done this well also.)

2. Comments defining “Village Style” housing:

- “not boxy”, avoid long unbroken walls

- no high-rise buildings (3 levels max)

- human not industrial scale

- break up multiple-unit buildings into smaller groupings with landscaped courtyards and porches. Stagger levels to achieve “living” landings (i.e. commons space with room to sit and talk, with benches and landscaping.)

- favour work/living proximity. This will give life to the Village, instead of rolling up the sidewalk at 6 pm. Involve residents in determining length of opening hours.

- favour mix of ages and incomes.

- allow space for day care centres

 

Comment

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Village Vision Workshop #3 Session Objective: to investigate the potential for increased housing in the Village core.

Discussion Questions

We have posed a series of questions to get a better idea of how we might address housing issues in our community.  You are invited to choose two of the three topics and you will have 20 minutes at each topic table to share your ideas and brainstorm with others.  Each table will have a volunteer moderator whose job is to keep the discussion on track and ensure that everyone who wants has a chance to speak.  They will also be recording notes for reporting out. 

You can identify which topic is at which table by the cards indicating either “What”, “Where” or “How”.

WHAT

·       What types of housing are needed on Gabriola?

·       What types of housing would be most appropriate for the Village Core?

WHERE

·       Where would you like to see changes to the status quo housing pattern, if anywhere?

·       Where would you define a Village Core boundary for allowing increased density, if anywhere?  Should it be decided on a case by case proposal basis or should zoning bylaws be revised?

 HOW

·       How should increased housing in the Village core be achieved? E.g., add new densities; transfer densities from more rural parts of the island; transfer accessory cottage densities from other parts of the island; other . . .

·       How should housing be developed? E.g., existing non-profit housing society; form a cooperative; private developer/market driven; community-owned development corporation, Community Land Trust or similar vehicle; developer/non-profit partnership or public/private partnership.

·       How can the existing or potential barriers to any desired future housing patterns be overcome? E.g., bylaws, water and septic infrastructure, others?

Comment

Comment

Village Vision Coffee House Session: April 22, 2015 at the Old Crow

Complete Notes of Discussion Tables

TABLE 1

Memorable places and why you like them:

·       Tofino: good energy, buildings close to the street, events happen in the streets.

·       parking on the street shoulders which calms traffic & doesn’t seem to bother pedestrians-still walkable.

·       Revelstoke:  Main Street has all that is needed.

·       Bandstand nearby which is surrounded by businesses, even though it is near a highway where all people drive through.

·       Coombs Centre - Goats & commercial core is interesting and dense - in the middle of nowhere but a vibrant economy happening...

What do/don’t you like about the Village Core?-+

·       Parking in Folk Life & in other malls. Why does it have to be front and centre? Couldn’t it be moved to the rear? Why next to the cafe’s? Why not a green space to look at?

·       CCCU parking, yuuk!

·       Question: Could we get street improvements like cafe’s and benches so we don’t have to look at cars?

·       Our beaches are world class & it is because the parking is away from the beach.

·       Cross walks: Why not at the corner where everyone needs to cross? It is very dangerous for people walking and crossing from Robert’s to FLV and from the school to the Commons. Why is it 10 feet in the wrong place? There is no safe connection - routes are not safe.

·       Density is good, greenspace in the middle of FLV was the plan - the vision was there but no regulation to force this to happen.

·       Huxley park access is dodgy.

·       Need to slow down traffic! cobblestone traffic calming or some such method, rumble strip…

·       have to go through the village to get to the ferry.

·       unlit crosswalks ( visibility) feels very dangerous crossing the street at night. Could cross walks be lit?

·       speed through the village - why not just lower the speed limit?

Other topics

·       How realistic is this visioning process? Could we get a pool and ice rink? Answer: it’s all about the money and taxes willing to pay.

·       What about the demographic clash of senior and young families? Answer: More about the clash in social conservative & liberal rather than demographics…there is a shift to younger demographic power such as the Island Trust Representatives.

·       GERTIE example it took 8 years but it happened! Cyclepaths, made progress with MoTI.

·       Question: Could we have a bandshell for Huxley Park? 150 seats? Answer: an open stage is in the current plan, without a cover (so far).

·       Question: can the island sustain more people? What about grey water, compost toilets, water collection & cistern should be required for all housing. 

·       Question: are people regulated to pump out their septic tank on a regular basis? Why not? What about the economics?

·       Comment: in Cowichan District - you can pay a building inspector to come out and inspect composting toilets as an alternative to having a septic field, the cost is something like $70. per visit (twice per year) …saving all that money for a septic field

·       Tourism: We should be encouraging tourism as an island economy in a bigger way.

·       Alternative village centres: 

·       What about the area behind the Skol? What about traffic access/egress from ferry?

·       What about a village at Whalebone?

·       What about a village at the South end? - it used to have Maranantha, grocery, Artworks, etc.                          

·       Design: Could we have a West Coast aesthetic & vernacular design so it looks more like what we are?

 

TABLE 2

What do you like about the current Village and what could be improved?

·       not enough cohesion, things/buildings feel separate from one another

·       no sense of core area

·       lack of signage

·       walkability should be improved

·       village core should reflect the values of Gabriola: at the moment it does not

What should the village look like in 20, 50 etc. years? What is your vision for the future?

·       true funky local vibe

·       sustainability for residents and environment

·       cultural hub of arts, socializing and commerce

·       more residences in Village area to add to the fabric of the area

Is there anything you would like to emphasize….

·       that the current bylaws are breaking the spirit of the island

·       the no signs and no ads on ferry hill are not helping the community grow and flourish

·       the islands Trust needs to re-evaluate their role in our community

·       the mandate of the trust is not only to preserve and protect the land but also the unique people that live on the islands

·       more and more bylaws stifle and choke communities

Is the current zoning creating the village you want?

·       NO!

·       the zoning is rigid and archaic, need to look at progressive ways to grow as a community

·       not saying that we need tons of development just out of the box thoughts on where we want to go as a community

·       mixed housing zoning

·       Emcon area should be mixed housing, young families and seniors living side by side

·       more residential zoning for the village core

·       housing options that are not just one house per lot would help younger demographic stay/live here

 

Where would a town square be best located?

·       unanimous Lochinvar triangle land

Anything you want to emphasize or add to the comments from session two?

·       nightly vacation rentals should be looked at being brought back

·       accommodations are limited here, if we want to stimulate economy this is a very viable way to do so

·       can have year round course on gabriola making it a play and stay and learn destination, however the accommodation options is what holds that back

·       there can be parameters to the nightly rentals that allows less impact on the island in terms of water etc.

 

TABLE 3

·       people come here for purpose beyond jobs, make your own business. 

·       some people do count on commuting

·       The village is a social centre for the island

·       Huxley Park is too tucked behind. Gabriolans like to gather could use more evening focused space, hang-out, lights, The Commons should be involved... there is a lot of space 

·       Zocolo, piazza – centres of small community life.

·       Alterative Housing choices: 

o   extended care housing 

o   aging population 

o   co-housing

o   the ability to have additional rentals. 

o   integrating seniors. 

·       Lochinvar Triangle: identify the road-blocks to redevelopment as a Village Core.

·       Natural materials, and small scale buildings. 

·       Maybe we could pitch somehow creating square in Folklife Village. 

·       Tourists come here for an island experience, not an urban experience. 

·       Close Lochinvar... encourage wandering. 

·       Getting community groups involved. 

·       Supporting mixed use zoning, housing above stores, for safety, 

·       Better trails for commuting.  -

·       More housing closer to the village - so don't need car as much. 

·       Supports mixed use zoning, 2 story buildings. 

·       Open to studying 2-3 stories or even more if well designed. 

·       Mixed age housing. Get creative. 

·       Public housing. 

·       Church St. should be walkable. 

·       Zoning - should be more supportive, less restrictive, based on actual concerns. Allow for it to evolve. 

 

 

 

Comment

Comment

Results of Inaugural Cross Government Meeting

Notes of Village Vision Cross-Governance Meeting –April 20, 2015

 

Present:  

Village Vision Planning Committee(VVPC):  Dyan Dunsmoor-Farley (Chair), Steven Earle, Laura-Jean Kelly, John Peirce, Jim Ramsay, Megan Walker 

Islands Trust (IT):  Laura Busheikin, Courtney Simpson

Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN):  Howard Houle, Paul Thompson

Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI):  Johnathan Tillie, Stu Johnson

 

1.      Opening Remarks and Introductions:

·         Dyan welcomed the representatives of IT, RDN and MoTI and thanked them for making themselves available for this initial meeting.

·         Participants introduced themselves and outlined their background and/or areas of responsibility as they relate to the VV process.

 

2.      Background on Village Vision Project:

·         Steve Earle reviewed the development of the project, which started with an Islands Trust World Cafe in 2011, and has led to the present community-led initiative with a strong emphasis on community input and collaborative conversations.

 

3.      Overview of Workshops #1 and #2:

·         Megan Walker summarized the first workshop which dealt with roles the village core currently plays and possibly could play, along with likes and improvement needs and suggestions for ideas to be explored.

·         The second workshop dealt with land use and zoning and touched on the existing village’s OCP and LUB features; the Lochinvar Triangle potential; denser housing; and economic considerations.

·         Megan noted the limitations in currently available statistics, which need to be made more robust, to lead the way toward creation of a sustainable economy.

 

4.      Ganges OCP Review Experience:

·         John Peirce reviewed comments from Sebastian Moffatt (featured speaker at Workshop #2 and principal author of the Ganges report) and Peter Lamb (Salt Spring Islands Trustee 2004-2007) on the reasons why the comprehensive review document did not result in the actions recommended.

·         Based on that experience, VVPC believes it essential to establish a collaborative working environment with IT, RDN and MoTI before recommendations on future directions are made.

5.      Government Agencies’ Comments:

·         RDN:  Paul Thompson explained that the RDN’s Village Centre Study was created to review the rural village centres established 20 years ago to see to what extent they had developed into complete communities (defined as including housing, services, development etc.), or had potential to become one.  All have defined boundaries.  Study results indicated some villages are further along than others and will be used for OCP review purposes.  John Peirce noted that there were some very useful demographic projections on the need for retail space in the future. He will follow up to get contact info from the consultant that did the study.

·         Paul also noted a groundwater study is ongoing in which Gabriola is involved, and Courtney Simpson indicated the Gabriola LTC contributed $12,500 over two years to that study.  It was noted that Island Health needs to become involved at some point looking at septic requirements in the village core, and they will conduct regular water quality testing on any new water sources on commercial or institutional properties.

·         Howard Houle indicated that Gabriola contributes to the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation and should have specific local data available for use by VV.  John Peirce will follow up.

·         IT:  Courtney Simpson reported that new bylaws have finally been approved by the Minister, including a development permit area for the Village Core, and greenhouse gas reductions. 

·         Laura Busheikin suggested the IT’s Grants Coordinator may be able to suggest funding sources for VV and she will see if that position can be of assistance.

·         MoTI:  Johnathan Tillie noted that his staff is involved with the Village Trail project. 

·         MoTI also works with Regional Districts and municipalities on local road improvements, and tries to ensure that requested changes reflect the will of the entire community, and not just a particular faction.  As an example, traffic calming requests tend to come from some people while others stress the need to expedite traffic flow during high volume periods like ferry arrivals. As long as the community has a reasonable consensus on what it wants, then MoTI can respond within the limitations of engineering standards and budget. 

·         With regard to stormwater runoff, MoTI is only responsible for road surfaces and drainage ditches, while other stormwater should be managed by property owners.

6.      How can we work together?:

·         It was agreed this meeting had been worthwhile and that another should be planned, say in the fall, after a further two public workshops have been held.

·         In addition, IT, RDN and MoTI will be invited to comment throughout the VV process and at the end.  This will include: VVPC providing ongoing information on the process and progress; opportunities for government reps to participate in the workshops as content experts and an opportunity to comment at the workshops; and, an opportunity to meet as key themes and/or decision points emerge with particular emphasis on those that are impact by multiple mandates.

·         It was agreed that VV should draft terms of reference for this collaboration process and meetings.  Dyan will prepare a first draft and circulate for feedback prior to the next meeting. 

 

Notes recorded by

Jim Ramsay (for)

Village Vision Planning Committee

 

Comment