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



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