We’ve all heard the adage that “the only constant in life is change.” My shíshálh colleague at the SCRD Board table tells the story of growing up playing ball hockey on Highway 101. Of course, there is no one better positioned to reflect on the impact of change in this part of the world than the Nation and its members.
With the pace of change accelerated by things like climate instability, disruptive technology, globalized markets and demographic shifts, local governments face the challenge of “managing” that change with a limited toolbox. How do we maintain what makes communities like Roberts Creek special, while maximizing the opportunities presented by change?
An Official Community Plan or OCP is the visioning document that informs proposed changes in a community. Additions to the current rural areas’ Official Community Plans to support housing diversity have been proposed that will encourage further “densification” through cluster, strata, multi-unit, mixed use or other approaches in locations that are close to amenities, such as Roberts Creek’s village core, while maintaining existing density limits in other areas. Bylaw amendments with regards to short term rental regulation through temporary use permits will be coming forward for public and Board consideration later in the year. The main zoning bylaw for all rural areas (other than Pender Harbour) is also up for review, and affordable housing, short term rentals, food growing, and home based businesses have been identified as key areas of focus.
Infrastructure and service changes with regards to water, garbage/recycling/organics, and public transit are all examples of Board decisions driven by the imperative to do more with less in times of change. I would note that more detail on each of these issues above can be found on the scrd.ca website, and also that this Director’s personal perspectives on much of the above can be found at robertscreekmark.com.
This is a good opportunity to thank the many SCRD Advisory Committee members across the Coast who volunteer their time every month to provide valuable input on items under consideration. In addition, members of the public who take the time to provide feedback through the many engagement tools used by SCRD staff help to provide a solid foundation of public input into Board decisions.
There are many others who contribute to keeping our communities special. In Roberts Creek, the community association, volunteer firefighters, library volunteers, and organizers of events like Earth Day, Creek Days, Slow Sundays, mandala painting, Seedy Saturdays, community garden and pathways groups, numerous regular music and arts series, youth basketball tournaments and the like are just the start of an incomplete list.
While pickup ball hockey games may no longer happen on Highway 101, an engaged community ensures that the changes that emerge reflect our shared values.