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Public Meeting Nov 19th (7pm) – Garbage & Recycling

NOVEMBER 19th at 7pm @ the cobble hill hall

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Garbage Collection options

As you may have read in the paper, the CVRD is asking the public its opinion about what it would like to see from the CVRD in the way of garbage and recycling options. You will be seeing flyers on your recycling bins at the end of this month. Simply fill them out and hang them on the bins the next time you put them out to the curb.

Upon receiving the survey, there will be a public meeting to talk about the options on the table which include:
– staying with the system in place (Pan Disposal or self regulation)
– Bi-weekly curbside Recycling and Garbage pick-up (same day) –  Price includes garbage tote = $102
– Weekly Organics pick-up and bi-weekly Recycling & Garbage pick-up (same day) Price includes collection totes = $165

Some of you may have already received a pamphlet from PAN disposal that looks like this

pan flyer

While I understand that PAN disposal and its owners see a threat to their business model if the CVRD was to start collecting garbage like it does in 4 other electoral areas, I feel it is important to fact check some of what is said in this flyer PAN has distributed. The following list is from our staff at the CVRD

1. The survey is not a “vote”. The CVRD Board has requested for a survey and not a vote. The CVRD has made it clear on all written material and at all Open House presentations that this survey is not a formal vote and is intended to gauge the resident’s views with respect to waste collection services in the CVRD.

2. The survey will not be completed from all areas within “2 weeks” but will span over a few months as we have at least two meetings proposed in January 2016.

3. The newly proposed “services” cannot and will not start in “January 2016”.

4. “Lack of choice” – The survey, the CVRD website, and the Open Houses in each Electoral Area provide ample opportunity for residents to gather information regarding “choices”.

5. “The CVRD plan effectively shuts down local small businesses” is an inaccurate statement. The survey will reflect the choices of residents living in each Electoral Areas regarding source separated garbage, recycling, and organics collection. Residents will choose one of three choices clearly highlighted on the survey: 1. Complete service (bi-weekly garbage/recycling and weekly organics collection); 2. Partial service (bi-weekly garbage and recycling collection); and 3. No new curbside services (meaning, no change to current services). Once staff present the survey results to the Board, the Board will decide if and when to select either service options. The question regarding “who” the hauler will be is the next subsequent question, where I am certain that the Board will consider the private businesses.

6. As the curbside budget spans all Electoral Areas, some of which do not have access to private collection services,it is necessary to ensure that all residents get access to the same choices presented in the survey. It would not be fair and equitable to offer a fully automated service to residences in one Area and neglect the other.

7. “Community Consultation” – This is exactly the purpose of the survey and open houses. Pan Disposal was a part of this community consultation for Area A. Also, several press releases, website info and social media info sessions will be provided throughout the length of this survey.

8. “Tax increases for everyone” – CVRD’s garbage pick-up service is based on an annual utilty bill . The curbside budget is funded solely through these utility bills collected in the Electoral Areas. There is no tax requisition. CVRD has provided the fee for every option if the Board decides to use CVRD Staff and Equipment to deliver any new services. In fact, for an average family that requires weekly and bi-weekly pick up service, their bills will decrease significantly. **For the areas that do have CVRD collected garbage, their bills have fallen in the three years they have been active.

9. The leaflet states that the blue box costs were significantly higher than expected. The costs were in line with what was stated and when the blue totes program was started all utility bills in the Electoral Areas were lowered and have not had an increase since 2013. This includes budgeting for future capital replacement. It also states that the curbside budget does not include fees for tipping, fuel, labour, insurance WCB vehicle repair and maintenance. All these expenses are fully captured in the curbside budget

10. True costs – Garbage pick-up as mentioned above is based on an annual utility bill (Function 515). The survey includes all costs for waste pick-up. Speaking about Function 520, increased recycling and organics will eventually lower the requisition, lower the greenhouse gases and will also benefit tax payers through reduced illegal dumping and waste burning after effects.

Sorry for the long post but I felt it important to get all the facts across. If you still have more questions, please feel free to email me or attend the November 19th meeting.

MClement@cvrd.bc.ca

FOLLOW UP POINTS

Since writing this article a few extra comments/conecerns have come to my attention that I want to address in point form.
1. Non answered ballots will be counted as a “YES” vote. – FALSE
As an elected official who is making these decisions, it would be foolish of me to interpret non-answers like this.

2. Doesn’t matter what we vote, the CVRD staff have already made up their mind – FALSE 
First, the staff at the CVRD don’t make these decisions, the elected officials do.
Second, I have not made up my mind. I want to see what the surveys say as well as what is said at the Cobble Hill Hall meeting.

3. The projected costs are going to be higher than what’s on the ballot.
The CVRD is already gathering garbage in 4 of the 9 electoral areas and have been doing so for the last 3 years. This gives ample data to show what the costs are of garbage collection are. In fact, the costs have been going down, albeit only $1 per year… leading me to feel confident that staff do indeed know the costs.

UBCM 2015 

This week I am attending the Union of BC municipalities in Vancouver. It is a conference of all local governments in BC. There will be workshops, lectures and open panels on various subjects. I will be focusing on agriculture and economic development workshops. 
This is a great opportunity to connect with other local government officials to hear how they are connecting and innovating in their community. 
I will also be meeting with the minister of Jobs/tourism and the minister of Agriculture. One of my “asks” will be to have the provincial government conduct an Island wide study of our food systems. As it stands, no farmer or quota board has any idea whether Vancouver island is in surplus of deficit of certain foods. A study of this nature could identify opportunities for the valley. For example, it is known for a fact that we have no button mushroom production on Vancouver island but the study would better identify the economic feasibility of such an operation as well as the number and size of facilities needed. 

I believe that it’s in the best interest of the valley as well as the island to ask for an island wide study because certain operations are better suited on different parts of the island. Just like a farm, you don’t want to plant low value crops where you can have high value ones instead.
It is still my belief that the valley with its abundance of vacant farm land, high youth unemployment and its location between two urban centers could be an agricultural economic powerhouse. 
If you are a farmer in the cowichan valley, I would love to hear from you about any ideas, comments or concerns you have. 

Email: mclement@cvrd.bc.ca

Cell: 250-715-6874  

Time to farm

matteus greenhouse water

For those of you tuning into the CVRD live streams or coming to the meetings, you may notice me missing. I have to take this month off to catch up on the farm for the month of June. My alternate, Don Herriott will be there and i am in touch with him.

You can still reach me at 250-715-6874 or at mclement@cvrd.bc.ca

The last seven months

It’s been seven months since I have taken office and it’s been a rollercoaster!

From the first inaugural meeting where I asked for a question segment to the people running to be chairperson, to our 11th hour budget debates… it’s been full speed all the way!

Things have slowed down a bit and I feel I have finally got a grip on the reigns so I thought I would sit down and post a few updates.

 

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presenting to the board view

I recently put forward a proposal for a small scale farming taskforce to identify and present solutions to the barriers to small scale farmers. We didn’t have quorum to make it official but I am working on it and will post more.

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Being a dad, farmer and politician isn’t with out it’s challenges. I bring Amalia to some meetings with me.

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Bright Angel Park has seen some substantial upgrades. We were given a tour by staff to show the improvements.

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Brian Curruthers – CAO

As some of you may know, we have a new Chief Administrator Officer (CAO). Think of it as a general manager…
Brian has impressed me with his professionalism, honest opinion and calm demeanor.

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A Small visit to Oak Transit let me see how our handi dart system works and who it services. Click HERE for their website

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A tour of our parkland and the trespassing by South Island Aggregates onto CVRD parkland.

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Tour of malahat cultural building with Cheif Harry

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Malahat has a reading center and day care in their building.

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Presentation to Malahat Nation about our proposed water governance structure.

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Rob Douglas and CEO of Coastal Communities Credit Union

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Rob Douglas is all about the Coops!

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Parks meeting with Amalia.

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Cobble Hill parks meeting with a presentation on Boatswain park

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Sonia Fursteneau has a huge commitment to community empowerment.

Working with Sonia over the last 7 months has been amazing. She is a force of nature! Her conviction in stopping the SIA contaminated soil site is unparalleled.

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The Weir

In the event of an emergency like an earthquake, Arbutus Ridge has the communications center that would be the nerve center of all communications in the region.

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A tour of our Cowichan River water system with UVic law students

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Learning to be a director

Sorry for the lack of posts, it’s been a whirlwind adventure so far.

As you can imagine, there is a lot to learn in this new role and it really hasn’t stopped. The CVRD learning curve in conjunction with my wife opening a new tutoring centre has left me tired but fulfilled.

Some of you may have seen my name in the paper and on various blogs about my motion to ask questions of the people running to be the chairperson of the CVRD. Some argued that there wasn’t a process and therefore should not have happened.

I believe that for such an important position (the spokesperson of the CVRD and 80,000 people) that it was vital to ask questions. It would have been nice to have a procedure in place for the process but there wasn’t one. And as have learned over time, “do not let perfect be the enemy of good”.

It would have been nice to have the questions asked be rotated so that Jon was not the first person to answer on all questions. It would have been nice to not allow digital devices in the answers. We can improve on a good idea and create policy to help ensure fairness in the future.

I believe that we are moving in the right direction of a more open and transparent government

Thank you Cobble Hill

Thank you Cobble Hill voting me in as the Cobble Hill Director.

I am overwhelmed right now with the phone calls, emails and support coming from the community. Thank you.

I believe that by focusing on the issues, knocking on doors and listening to the community, our campaign was able to to reach its goal.

I will continue that process of being open to the public and to hearing new ideas for the community.

 

What water means to me

I grew up in the Cowichan Valley in the 90’s and I don’t remember there being so many droughts as there have been the last few years. Perhaps now that Zoe and I are starting our farm, we pay attention to these issues more…

Two recent events have really shaped my views on water. One was a video contest that NATO held in 2012 where I had to create a one minute video of “what security meant to me”. My gut decision was WATER. Here is the video that I won with and took me to the Chicago NATO summit as the only Canadian representative.

Then earlier this year, the Shawnigan Lake Residents association (SRA) hired me to live stream their environmental appeal online. I sat in on 30 days of deliberations, arguments and scientist explanations. It was an eye opening experience to see the complexities of how water flows and it was equally eye opening to the powers we do (and do not) have to protect our water. I made a video earlier that year as a gift to the SRA for all their hard work. I really wanted to capture the worst case scenario of a destroyed aquifer.

I recently went to a discussion panel in Duncan put on by the council of Canadians, which covered food and water security. As various people spoke, the topic seemed to stray into how we could CONTROL water through metering and fines. It was at that point that I said, “We keep talking about how to make the stick bigger through fines and metering but we aren’t talking about how to make the carrot bigger.”

How do we reduce residential water use?
How do we reach the goals of irrigating more farm land?
How do we make those work at the same time?

I don’t have all the answers but I do have the passion to find out through group discussions, looking at other regional districts and speaking with experts from all over Canada.

I hope to have your vote November 15th so that we can continue to have these important discussions.