Monday, January 31, 2011

Guest Editorial by Dorothy Baert Jan.31 2011

To Ralph and your blog readers, ,
I am writing to remind your readers that there is a Public Meeting at the Community Hall this Wednesday at 7pm. These town hall meetings are important forums for Council to receive feedback and an opportunity for the community to receive verifiable information on matters of community interest. I know I am excited about this opportunity to hear from Tofino residents.

I mention ‘verifiable information’ as some provocative statements on your blog could be taken by your readers as real or true when in some instances I know they are not eg: “Council is talking about Pay Parking” or that “something is in the works about Day Care”.

Our community deserves better than that. Even if these are subjects of discussion, which to my knowledge they are not, what is so threatening about a Council and staff discussing options if the intention is to improve the quality of life, the cost or benefit to the community and so forth? Except for legal or employee matters which are addressed by necessity in Camera, everything else is in the public arena.

Also, all Councillor contact information is available on the District website I personally welcome anyone to call me directly at 250 726 5565 or email , just don’t do it anonymously. Disparaging comments without accountability are toxic and damaging far beyond the intended target. This is not the same as criticism which is a sign of healthy dialogue, something I hope will be evident at the Town Hall Meeting. Hope to see you there.
Dorothy Baert

Jan 31 2011 Tofino Daycare

In response to many questions about the daycare center. Something is apparently in the works. I would imagine that it will be addressed at the budget meeting tomorrow morning at 9. I'll update when I get any info or if you know please post....

Friday, January 28, 2011

Water Bill time again jan 28 2011

Time to pay your water bill again....many blog readers have asked why we still have to pay the "Water Levy" ?? Does anyone have this information ?? I asked when I paid my bill and was told they are working on it....

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Temporary Use Permits Jan 27, 2011

Some concerned blog readers have asked what's going on with Council contemplating the future of Temporary Use Permits....please write in if you have any information....thanks,Ralph

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Municipal Auditor ? Jan.22 2011

I'm not a fan of any of the candidates for the NDP or Social Credit but Christy Clark has put forth an interesting proposal :

January 18, 2011

VANCOUVER - In recognition there is only one taxpayer in British Columbia, BC Liberal leadership candidate Christy Clark told the BC Chamber of Commerce today she is proposing an Office of the Municipal Auditor General.

"Municipal governments play a vital role in creating a sense of community and ensuring families have the services and amenities they need to flourish," says Clark. "Over the last several years, as the economy has shifted, municipalities have struggled to determine how to fund services and deal with the shifting of responsibilities from senior levels of governments. This new office would look at the competition between commercial, industrial and residential taxation, the role local government is playing and find ways to make sure the taxpayer is being well-served."

Under Clark's proposal, the office would be funded by the provincial government and work as part of the Auditor General's office. The office would provide advice on financial decisions, provide a measure of accountability and review the municipal taxation formula.

"As the auditor general does now, this new office would be able to select its own areas for review, react to requests from municipalities and look at suggestions from the public," says Clark. "Small towns, in particular, have an issue of capacity and this office would help meet those needs. A municipal tax review will examine whether the system is fair and that no one group is carrying an unfair burden, allowing for a public dialogue involving property taxpayers across British Columbia."

Following the municipal taxation and responsibility review, Clark would work with the Union of BC Municipalities to ensure the system is properly funded and communities can provide the services British Columbians want from local government.

"There are many instances of how municipal government is working across the province," says Clark. "The Municipal Finance Authority is a prime example of how the system can work. I would ask this new office, along with UBCM, to share best practices and help ensure all taxpayers are getting the best possible service."

Clark says, if elected premier, she will consult with local governments and ratepayer groups to establish the terms of reference for the review.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Jan. 19, 2011 Resort Municipality Funding

I have some more Info on the Resort Municipality Funding.
1.To date Tofino has received $1,721,486.64
2.The projects funded to date have been: Clayoquot Sound Theatre Seats, a contribution to the Ahkmahksis Water Reservoir, MUP and the Lighthouse Trail.
3. The funds can only be used for specific projects.
4. The current balance of the fund is $1,530,510.00

So you have to wonder why the District Council used a "Towns for Tomorrow" grant for the North Chestermans parking lot instead of using this fund ? That would have freed up the "Towns for Tomorrow" grant to be used on the water system.
You also have to wonder why this money isn't being used to upgrade beach access and facilities.It would make sense that as a Resort Municipality we would have a public washroom and decent parking at MacKenzie Beach, Middle Chestermans etc....I'm sure you will all have some ideas.....
I was shocked to learn that we have this kind of money available .Council should be working hard to ensure that this money is used wisely and nothing is coming out of general revenue that could be considered a Resort Municipality project....Your comments please ??

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tsunami siren loction map

Jan. 18 2011 TSUNAMI !!!

This is the location for the tsunami siren tower....comments ?

Parks Canada Sewer Update Jan.18 2011

Just spoke with Parks Canada....good news....they won't be sending any sewage our way until we have a treatment plant...they will be installing the infrastructure for that eventuality but until Tofino has treatment they will continue to use a honey wagon and use the lagoon in the park.

Parks Canada Sewer System ! Jan.18 2011

Special thanks to A loyal blog reader who has provided Tofinonews with engineered drawings of the new Parks Canada sewer system. Green Point Campground, the airport and the Long Beach and Incinerator Rock parking lots will all have their sanitary facilities connected to the Tofino sewer system.
Given that Green Point Campground is fully occupied all summer and that there is considerable tourist use of Long Beach in the summer it is predicted that a fairly large volume of effluent will be added to our sewer system.
According to the information provided work at Green Point is to be completed by the campground's opening date in March 2011.
I will try to contact Parks Canada today to see when they plan to connect to the Tofino sewer system.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Skype Legislation Jan.17,2011

Electronic Meetings

Section 128(1) of the Community Charter gives municipalities the opportunity to conduct special council meetings using electronic and communications media, such as telephone and video conferencing. This section also authorizes municipalities to allow individual council, or committee members, to participate in council or committee meetings through such media, when the member is unable to attend in person.

The intent behind this provision is to provide flexibility to councils in conducting business, without compromising the rights of the public to have access to the decision-making process. The legislation does this by setting standards, which require a municipality to:

* include the process for electronic meetings in the municipal procedure bylaw;
* provide notice of electronic meetings; and
* provide the appropriate facilities and equipment to give the public the opportunity to hear, or hear and see, the participation of council members.

When to Consider

Conducting Special Council Meetings Electronically
In general, municipal councils conduct their business during regularly-scheduled meetings. However, there will be occasions when a council needs to call a special council meeting.

The following are examples of these occasions.

* A new bylaw may be required to prohibit a particular activity that, in the absence of the bylaw, would likely occur in the very near future. If council’s regular meeting schedule and the need to separate the first three readings of the bylaw from fourth reading and final adoption would result in unacceptable delays, a special meeting may be held for timely adoption of the bylaw.
* Council may choose to schedule special meetings at budget time to allow members to focus solely on their review of the municipality's proposed financial plan.
* Councils may choose to hold special meetings to debate important development projects or the implications to the municipality of major events.

Whether they are called to take care of urgent business or to consider key matters, special council meetings are important. Generally, all members of council will want – and in certain cases, need – to attend. However, in cases where attendance is not possible, council could choose to hold the special meeting electronically.

B.C. Resort Municipality Initiative Jan. 17 ,2011

This morning I made a request for information on the Resort Funding Initiative to the District Treasurer . I received a prompt and courteous reply almost instantly. I'll have the requested information in a couple of days. Keep up the good work !Thank you !

waiver of public hearing Jan 17,2011

In response to some readers questions about the proposed rezoning in the industrial park: (4) A local government may waive the holding of a public hearing on a proposed bylaw if

(a) an official community plan is in effect for the area that is subject to a proposed zoning bylaw, and

(b) the proposed bylaw is consistent with the plan.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Just came across this on the net....if we are 3 years into this agreement....where's the money ?? what's with the Municipal Campground ? where's the museum ? anybody know ? who set these priorites ? OMG !!! we could have used this money instead of the " Towns for Tomorrow" grant for the North Chestermans parking ANYBODY paying attention ??

For Immediate Release


June 10, 2008

Ministry of Community Services


TOFINO – Tofino will receive $3.5 million over the next five years through an agreement signed with the Province today under the B.C. Resort Municipality Initiative, allowing it to invest a portion of provincial hotel room tax revenue in local resort-oriented projects and programs, Community Services Minister Ida Chong announced.

“This latest agreement, the tenth to date with the Province, will provide funding for a multi-use trail and path system, upgrade public beach access points and help construct a civic centre and museum, built to Silver LEED requirements, featuring elements of Tofino’s First Nations and maritime history,” said Chong. “By investing in Tofino, and other resort-based areas in B.C., we are helping create vibrant, sustainable communities which in turn provide tourism, jobs and economic development opportunities for all British Columbians.”

Funds will also be used to help revitalize downtown Tofino, build a municipal campground, complete the Ahkmahksis water reservoir, add pedestrian and cycling pathways, create a mountain bike park and construct the Light House Trail to connect Tonquin Beach to Middle Beach and Mackenzie Beach. This unique trail will take users through old-growth forest and along the spectacular coastal headlands.

As a result of these investments over the next five years, Tofino expects to see a 25 per cent increase in shoulder and off-season hotel occupancy rates and a 20 per cent increase in local employment during the off season.

“This agreement will help us to not only draw in more tourists during our key summer months, but also attract visitors in the shoulder and off seasons,” said Tofino Mayor John Fraser. “This will help showcase Tofino’s natural beauty to tourists from all parts of the globe and gives us confidence that we can make a notable contribution to meeting the Premier’s goal of doubling tourism in this province.”

Under the program, an eligible community receives a share of the provincial hotel room tax, an amount based on a formula that takes into account the level of tourist accommodation in the community, relative to other B.C. communities. To be eligible, municipalities must have tourism-based economies or be designated as a “mountain resort municipality” under the Local Government Act.

Communities must be prepared to put in place an additional two per cent hotel room tax, prepare a resort development strategy that reflects the input of stakeholders and enter into a five-year results-based tourism development agreement that sets out what will be achieved through this tax transfer.

Ucluelet and Tofino are the latest communities to reach an agreement with the Province. To date, Whistler, Golden, Rossland, Harrison Hot Springs, Radium Hot Springs, Kimberley, Osoyoos, Revelstoke and Valemount have reached signed agreements; two other municipalities are currently eligible to enter into agreements: Fernie and Invermere. The B.C. Resort Municipality Initiative is part of the Province’s ongoing commitment to meeting the goal of doubling B.C. tourism by 2015.

Developers Give Up !!! jan.16 2011

After many years of trying to develop the former Rae-Arthur property developers have apparently given up....too bad the District of Tofino and the developers couldn't have found some common ground to do something with this nice property....

New signs Jan 16,2011 your tax dollars at work

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Special Projects Coordinator ....what happened ??

There was much fanfare when Roberta Martell was hired as Tofino's "Special Projects Coordinator " but she's been gone from the District for over a month and council has been strangely quiet as to why she left.When a District employee or contract worker leaves under questionable circumstances it should be Council's duty to hold an exit interview to see why they left.
When Jennifer Robb was forced to resign as treasurer it was because she refused to compromise her professional ethics.I don't know if Council conducted an exit interview but I know there was a gag order associated with her departure.
Be sure to ask your Mayor and Council "what happened to Roberta Martell ??"
I guess the other question is how much did this cost ? Coming soon to an In-camera meeting near you.....

Sign of the Times Jan 15 2011

Does anyone know the story on the new signs that have been put up by the Fire Hall and at the fisheries house at 1st and main ? I'll try to post a pic soon...thanks,Ralph

January 15,2011 Federal Gas Tax Grants

An anonymous post suggested that people should do research on Federal Grants. I'll make it easy for them by publishing the Gas Tax Fund Project Categories.While this makes it very clear that the grant can be used for recycling,wastewater or water upgrades,council decided to use the grant to buy an electric truck. When council had the opportunity to use "Towns for Tomorrow" grant money for our water system they decided instead to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to beautify the North Chestermans Beach parking lot. While everyone will agree that a washroom was needed there did we need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars ??

SCHEDULE A- Eligible Project Categories and Sub-Categories by Community Tier
Project Categories Sub-Categories Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 3
Public Transit Develop or improve public transit system (rapid transit, buses, bus ways, sea-buses, commuter rail, ferries, street cars, cycling and pedestrian infrastructure, etc.) x x x
Road system improvements that encourage a reduction in car dependency (express bus lanes, HOV lanes, park and ride, bike paths, queue, etc.) x x
Implement innovative technologies that support environmental sustainability x x x
Rehabilitation of roads and bridges that enhance sustainability outcomes x x
Paths and trails x x
Community Energy Systems Improving energy systems through the use of water systems to generate hydro x x
Community energy systems (wind, solar, thermal, geothermal, etc.) x x
Alternative energy systems x x
Alternative energy systems that serve local government infrastructure x x
Retrofit local government buildings and infrastructure (e.g. water pumps, street lights, etc.) x x
Reduce the GHG impact of solid waste (e.g. biogas recovery and conversion of biomass to bio-oil) x x
Fleet vehicle conversion x
Implement innovative technologies that support environmental sustainability x x
Water and Wastewater Developing or upgrading drinking water systems to improve water quality and reduce water use, increase energy efficiency, and secure water supply in the face of drought x x x
Developing or upgrading wastewater and storm water systems to improve water quality and improve aquatic habitat x x x
Implement innovative technologies that support environmental sustainability x x x
Investments in the enhancement and/or protection of community green space such as streams and natural corridors including habitat protection systems to improve water quality and improve aquatic habitat x x
Solid Waste Management Develop or improve solid waste collection, treatment and disposal strategies in ways that reduce resource use, or encourage recycling and re-use x x
Support full cost recovery from users through improved application of user charges x x
Reduce the environmental impact of solid waste (e.g. composting, bio gas recovery) x x
Implement innovative technologies that support environmental sustainability x x
Capacity Building Increase local government capacity to undertake integrated sustainability planning including:
Regional growth strategies x x
Community development plans x x
Community plans x x
Community Energy Planning x x
Transportation plans x x
Infrastructure development plans x x
Liquid waste management plans x x
Solid waste management plans x x
Long-term cross-modal transportation plans x x
Water conservation/demand management plans x x
Drought management contingency plans x x
Air quality plans x x
Greenhouse gas reduction plans x x
Energy conservation plans x x
Implementing/planning innovative environmental technologies that support sustainability x x

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Esowista Update Jan.13 2011

In response to all the questions forwarded regarding the Westcoaster article :
The original agreement shows TFN (Esowista) paying $350,000.00 towards the upgrade of the Maltby Rd. pump station.Part of this cost will be offset by "latecomer" charges when the park and the airport connect to the system.
The proposed "Stump Dump" lift station is not mentioned in the original agreement.
Glad to see that District staff and engineers have a logical solution for the connection.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Jan. 12,2011 Reality Check

I recently heard of a rezoning application that has been ongoing for 5 years !! How can this possibly be ? Tofino has one CAO and one planner and a few clerks so every time council directs their actions towards looking into a campsite at the Stump Dump or Tonquin Park or electric quads or banning plastic bags or banning idling cars or lowering the voting age or pay parking or social subsidized housing or no oil tankers or no mining at Catface or electric trucks or whatever the "GREEN" agenda of the day is ,it takes away from the day to day running of the town.
I'm sure all the Socialists and Environmentalists mean well but Tofino Council should concentrate on the operation of the town. If they want to change the world some on council would be better off to run for the Green Party at the provincial or federal level.
Let's do something really green and deal with better local recycling,sewer,water,basic infrastructure,shoreline management and development before we look at issues that are outside of council's mandate.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Jan.10 2011 Chesterman's Beach Parking Lot

Work has begun on the North Chesterman's Beach parking lot. I'll try to have some pics up soon

Friday, January 7, 2011

Carbon Tax Review Jan. 7,2011

Glad to see George Abbott talking about a referendum on BC's Carbon Tax...Emissions have actually risen since the implementation of the tax. While many Green Weenies in Vancouver support the Carbon Tax out here on the coast where there is virtually no transit and no low carbon way to get around Clayoquot Sound, the tax is a burden on those least able to afford it.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Yew Wood explanation

The Yew Wood courtcase explained in brief terms:

Yew Wood alleges that the District of Tofino unfairly delayed the development causing them additional expenses and causing them to miss out on favorable market conditions.

The District of Tofino contends that it was simply following procedure.

If you want copies of the full court documents send me your email and I will forward them. It is pretty interesting reading.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Yew Wood Update Jan.5,2010

A quick check with BC Court Services Online shows that there has been no court date set so far for the Yew Wood Properties Ltd.VS.Braden Smith, Yew Wood Properties Ltd vs. Robert Scott Bremner or Yew Wood Properties Ltd. Vs. The District Of Tofino. I will try to find out from the District what we are spending in legal costs and the particulars of what costs are being picked up by the taxpayer.
As was shown in the Basi-Virk example a long drawn out case can be a huge burden to the taxpayer.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Esowista houses Jan.2,2011

New houses at Esowista nearing completion.Should be finished by early spring.

Anonymous postings Jan.2 2011

A lot of readers have been asking about the anonymous posting policy. I have spoken to a lot of readers and a surprising amount have expressed a fear of reprisals from the District. People have an illegal suite or a trailer in their yard or they want to get something subdivided or rezoned or the numbers on their garbage can are too small or their kid's tree fort doesn't meet the setbacks or their business is short one parking space or they don't want to get hassled about their business license.....
A sad commentary but it is very people have to comment in secret or the iron fist of the District will squash them ?? I found this out first hand during the water shortage. My surf shop got raided by two bylaw officers armed with digital cameras and I was told not to use any water.They said they were going to analyze the water in my tank (from a friend's well) and I would be charged. At the same time the Hotel and fishplant on either side of the shop were going full tilt.One of the officers was apologetic saying they were just following orders......from who ???
Please remember this is an election year and don't be afraid to speak out.....

Saturday, January 1, 2011