Save Lantzville Forest : residents rally support

Concerned residents have set up a website called Save Lantzville Forest to let the public know that there are plans to log upper Lantzville.

Here is the information you need to know:

  • Where is it?
  • Why is this of concern?
  • What can you do?

This forest located in Upper Lantzville is located within the Coastal Douglas Fir ecosystem, one of the most endangered ecosystems in British Columbia. The forest contains a fish-bearing stream (Knarston Creek), wetlands and vernal pools. Plus, a number of threatened species live in the forest. Also, residents use the area as it is easily accessible and has a well established trail system.

The area of concern is Woodlot 1475. It is a 244 hectare parcel of public land located in Upper Lantville (see map). It is an “urban forest” given that it is located in a residential area with more than 100,000 people living within 20 km.

Lantzville woodlot
Lantzville Woodlot 1475 to be logged

Why has this public forest been designated as a woodlot? How much will the Ministry of Forests benefit?

It appears to the Save Lantzville Forest group  that the Ministry of Forests has only viewed this area through the lens of “fibre production” – as simply another forest to be logged and hasn’t considered managing this forest for non-timber values such as recreation and biodiversity, despite the fact that it’s one of the few remaining parcels of publicly owned land on this stretch of Vancouver Island.

According to their website (SaveLantzvilleForest.com) annual revenue to the government would total approximately $1,000 for license fees and stumpage.

The overall concern is that over time there will be fewer and fewer opportunities to walk through an intact mature Coastal Douglas Fir forest. Instead, trails will pass mainly through clearcuts and fir plantations, an experience for which there is no shortage of opportunities on Vancouver Island!

Endangered Coastal Doulas Fir
Endangered Coastal Doulas Fir

An independent biologist report has been completed on WL 1475.  The comprehensive report includes important information such as:

Riparian Forest
Wetland habitat
“at-risk” owl species
“at-risk” frogs

Residents hope to convince the Ministry that this land should be saved from logging considering that so many citizens enjoy this land and wish to protect the forest for future generations to enjoy.  They are trying to convince the Minister of Forests that the majority of citizens in this riding don’t want to see this forest treated as a woodlot.

Considering the recent focus by BC government agencies on stewardship of the Coastal Douglas Fir Zone, this site should be considered a high priority for protection and/or special management.

To learn more about the Woodlot 1475 and offer your support, go to the Save Lantzville Forest website.

View from Copley Ridge Forest
View from Copley Ridge Forest above Lantzville *all photography credits to Save Lantzville Forest

The rude Canadian and women in Canada

This Victoria Day long weekend is a good time to reflect on an era when Queen Victoria saw the former colonies unite to become Canada and peace, order, and good government were the catch words of the day.

Women in Canada back in the day faced many obstacles and one by one they  knocked them down. During the Second World War, women were hired to do non-traditional jobs in manufacturing, forestry and other industries.

Have attitudes changed towards women in Canada? Are women being run out of their jobs as times get tougher?

A report on sexual harassment in the Canadian Forces was released at the end of April. An investigation revealed rampant sexual assault in the military. There were approximately 1,780 sexual assaults per year – five per day – in the Canadian Forces. Despite this, Canada’s top military officer refused to promise to enact the main recommendation in the report, namely the creation of a fully independent agency to receive complaints of inappropriate sexual conduct and offer support to victims of assault and harassment.

Then, this past week saw a female reporter confront several men who were harassing her while she was trying to do her job on site. There are those who argue that the FHRITP slurs uttered were a spontaneous action but was this in fact intentionally done to run her out of a job?

Taken as individual actions alarms are not sounded, but when more and more people engage in the same type of negative behaviour society as a whole must wake up!

ps. Will Queen Victoria be invited back to take part in this year’s Heritage Days parade in Nanaimo? Or has she been run out of a job and bridges burned?

Beban Park Master Plan

The updated Beban Park Master Plan is to be presented to council this Monday night.

What are the future development and management plans for Beban Park? Will there be a  new sports arena?

The last major planning for the Beban Park Master Plan was completed in 1997.  In 2009, the Beban Park Facility Redevelopment project was initiated to examine a building that would encompass Frank Crane Arena, Beban Pool and the Beban Social Centre facilities.

Three redevelopment options were presented to the public at an open house in February 2010. A final report was received by Council in April 2010 to act as a guide for facility improvements at Beban Park.

The 2015 updated Beban Park Master Plan looks at the following:

  • building or updating facilities
  • creating a “Heart in the Park”
  • routing traffic and people in “Clear Park Circulation”

Issues and concerns have been raised regarding aging facilities for the Vancouver Island Exhibition and the Nanaimo Equestrian Association.

The red squares show where work is planned for 2015:

  • Beban Tennis Courts – resurfacing  for 2015
  • Merle Logan Field – turf resurfacing for 2015
  • Barns – repairs
Beban Park asset renewal plan
Beban Park asset renewal plan

Below is the vision for Beban Park. Unfortunately, it appears that one of the last stands of trees will be cut down to make way for expanding a recreation field near the dog off leash area. (top right hand corner)

To read the full report go to the City of Nanaimo website.

Future plans for Beban Park
Future plans for Beban Park

Back in 1953 Beban Park was acquired by the City of Nanaimo and was approximately 160 acres. Now it is 127 acres property. What happened to the 33 acres?

May is Invasive Plant Month

May is Invasive Plant Month in Nanaimo and the City is focusing on English Ivy and Broom.

Take advantage of the two free days this month to “Drop off” your invasive plants such as English Ivy, Scotch Broom, Himalayan Blackberry, and Daphne.

• May 8 DROP OFF Day at Bowen Park 12-4 pm
• May 16 Broombusters Work Party at Oceanview Park 10 am-12 pm
• May 22 Ivy Pull Work Party in Bowen Park from 2-4:30 pm
• May 31 DROP OFF Day at Bowen Park 12-4 pm

Unfortunately, there is appears to be no public campaign this year to make residents aware of the most dangerous invasive plant introduced to the island which is a plant called Japanese Knotweed. Knotweed can destroy your home! Nanaimo has a long way to go to “Knock out Knotweed”.

The video below made in 2011 shows how Knotweed is growing through a house in England and banks won’t give the homeowners a mortgage. The same will be happening here if our Council isn’t proactive.

Also, will anyone stop the marsh killer at Buttertubs Marsh?

No parking in Nanaimo?

At the last Nanaimo Council meeting on Monday, April 20th, two developers requested reduced parking. What is happening to the parking in Nanaimo? Here is an overview.

The first development was a three-storey, 45-room hotel on 440 Selby Street downtown. The second was a 55-unit rental apartment at 6330 McRobb Avenue in North Nanaimo.

45 room hotel at 440 Selby St.
45 room hotel at 440 Selby St.

The proposed hotel at 440 Selby Street is to include meeting rooms, a spa/salon, a 36-seat restaurant, plus 45 hotel rooms. Council approved 25 parking spaces; not the required 45 underneath the building, nor the 35 stalls recommended by the City.

The on-site parking requirements for a hotel is 1 parking space per hotel room, or 45 spaces. According to Bylaw 7013, it states that if the development can’t provide the parking then there is a required fee of $3,000 per parking stall.

Councillor Fuller used his favourite word to describe the situation: “bizzare”. Fuller was the only council member to vote against the motion. Fuller said he was very concerned with the growing congestion and lack of parking in the area.

55 rental unit 6330 McRobb Ae
55 rental unit 6330 McRobb Ave

The proposed 55-unit rental apartment at 6330 McRobb Avenue is causing great concern for the neighbours. Two strata council representatives from different complexes gave presentations outlining their issues with granting reduced parking for the development.

The residents’ concern was that there will be no required underground parking. The number of parking stalls required for the proposed apartment is 83 parking stalls and this is to be reduced to 66 stalls. (Ratio: 1.2)

The delegations said that the side roads in the area are too narrow for the volume of traffic (see the red lines in the diagram above).  Strata representatives gave examples of people working in the area who fill up the streets and park in the empty lots adjacent to the Texada.

The developer said “we won’t ghettoize the neighbourhood”, referring to the fact that over half the units will be micro or one bedroom units. Also, he gave the example that his other 6 rental complexes in Nanaimo under utilize the parking stalls available.

Mayor McKay gave two examples of other developments that were approved with reduced parking on site, 775 Terminal Avenue and 1820 Summerhill Place.

Summerhill Place fronting on Townsite Road near Bowen Road with 103 units was given approval for 109 parking stalls. (Ratio: 1.06)

Terminal Ave has 121 units and 145 parking stalls. (Ratio: 1.2)

Multi-Plex Apartment 6524 Portsmouth
Multi-Plex Apartment 6524 Portsmouth

In contrast,  there is a proposal to remove a single family dwelling at 6524 Portsmouth and build in its place an 8-unit residential development which will have 12 parking stalls.  (Ratio: 1.5)

Nob Hill
Recently the City has restricted the street parking at Nob Hill to two hours for non-residents. Apparently, visitors and commuters from other parts of town frequently parked in the residential streets for long periods of time.

Hospital Area
People living in the the Hospital Area have raised concerns of a lack of street parking. How does the hospital plan to solve its parking issues? Will they build another parkade?

Transit
Transit needs to work with the major employers in these nodes and coordinate buses so that they can meet the needs of commuters. Many of the bus routes are too long, too infrequent and the times do not match peoples’ work schedules.

One visitor to Nanaimo took to twitter to complain about the lack of transit service. If it takes an hour and 40 minutes to get to the Departure Bay ferry by transit and 10 minutes by car people are not going to get out of their cars.  Providing parking is expensive, heats up cities with lack of green spaces, and increases traffic congestion.

The developer of the Summerhill Place said to council during his presentation that he really believes that people are using vehicles less in urban centers.

At another council meeting a resident living in Harewood gave a presentation to council with his concerns about traffic congestion.  In his neighbourhood parking survey he counted an average of 5 vehicles per single family dwelling. Most of these homes have secondary units.

Do people live, work and play in their Nanaimo neighbourhoods? Are people turning to transit and cycling? Or are they constantly on the road driving from one strip mall to the next?

Bike to work week Nanaimo is coming up from May 25 – 31.

Massive problem: illegal garbage dumping in Nanaimo Regional District

How frustrated are Mid Vancouver Island residents with illegal garbage dumping?  Extremely frustrated.

Illegal dumping raises significant concerns with regard to public health and safety, property values, and the environment. If not addressed, illegal dumps:

  •  attract more waste
  •  attract rats
  • spread disease
  • pose a fire risk (become targets for arson)
  • serve as magnets for other criminal activities (dumping stolen items)
  • contaminate drinking water
  • harm fish habitat
  • spread invasive plants

In lower income areas, residents have difficulty affording trash pickup and disposal fees. The problem tends to be worse in areas with a high population of renters who have less stake in the community or absentee property owners who do not respond to problems. At the same time, illegal dumping is given a low priority by local governments.

The City of Nanaimo apparently has a budget of $20,000 a year to deal with illegally dumped garbage out of a $200 million dollar budget.

Volunteer clean up Nanaimo from illegal dumping
Volunteers clean up Nanaimo from illegal dumping

Recently, residents had enough of an illegal dump site behind Rosstown Road in Nanaimo and 27 people came to clean up the area. They removed 4.14 tonnes of garbage.

The facebook site “Stop Illegal Garbage Dumping” where these pictures are from shows the great efforts people have taken to do something about illegal garbage dumping locally.

Little Mountain Errington illegal garbage dumping
Little Mountain Errington illegal garbage dumping

The facebook site also highlights illegal garbage dumping at Little Mountain in Errington and the unusual odors emanating from this illegal dump. Over the years people have raised their concerns but so far the regional district hasn’t made any plans to clean it up.

According to the Regional District of Nanaimo’s website in 2012 they recovered 42 tonnes of  illegal garbage spread out over more than 60 locations.  But has anything been done recently?

Those who dump waste illegally will be subject to a fine of up to $200,000 in the RDN.

It doesn’t appear from their websites that the communities of Nanaimo, Lantzville, Ladysmith, or Parksville have any fines for dumping illegal garbage. Nor do they have any page on their websites where someone can report illegally dumped garbage such as this online form from the City of Richmond.

Cassidy and Errington have a garbage problem
Despite the fact that garbage collection is a service provided by the RDN in Cassidy and Errington, it appears by all the dumped garbage in the backwoods and roads in the area that a LOT of residents “dump or lose” their trash.

Cassidy Illegal Garbage Dump
Cassidy Illegal Garbage Dump just down the road from the new dump

Volunteers removed eight to ten tonnes of illegally dumped garbage on logging roads from Cassidy down to Peerless Road in Ladysmith (near the new dump, ironically).  According to the facebook site volunteers have cleaned this same stretch yearly for the last four years,  collecting about eight tonnes per year.

**Representatives from the RDN must canvas these areas to find out why the residents are dumping and what can be done to address this issue.

Nanaimo Visitor Centre across from illegal garbage dump
On Northfield Road, directly across from the Nanaimo Visitor Centre, sits piles of illegally dumped garbage. Let’s remember tourists are in the process of deciding if they want to visit downtown Nanaimo and enjoy our beautiful harbour city.  Will this pile of garbage turn them off?

Over a million dollars for bird contract at garbage dump
In 2013, PK Bird Control Services was awarded a three-year, $649,500 contract “to keep the skies clear” at Nanaimo’s regional landfill (8 birds & 6 handlers). Over the years this has added up to over a million dollars on bird control services.  There should be no food waste to attract birds anymore so is this really necessary? The contract is set to expire early next year. Could this same amount of money be applied to cleaning up the Nanaimo area?

Still no yard waste collection in Nanaimo
There are currently 26,414 households that receive garbage collection.  There are still no plans to start yard waste collection in Nanaimo. Other communities have it. Why not here?

The cost of dumping yard waste at the Nanaimo Recycling Exchange is:
$5 minimum (even for a small grocery bag)
$10 car or van
$15 regular truck or trailer (overload rates apply)

Taxes are going up every year, the governments are growing and people are seeing less and less services. Why should people spend their spare hours cleaning up after thoughtless people? Let’s demand service from our local governments to get the mid island cleaned up.