BREAKERS: BC Seniors Advocate – Ravensong options – Mayor flouts rules – RDN updates

  • Local caregivers Zoom with BC Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie June 25th
  • Ravensong pool expansion options evolve
  • Open for the season: Milner Gardens and Innisfree Farm
  • Mayor Wiese’s disregard for integrity and Town rules
  • Welcome to Doug Holmes, RDN’s new CAO

Local caregivers Zoom with BC Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie June 25th

Join Oceanside Caregivers on June 25, 2021 at 1:00 pm as they welcome guest speaker BC’s Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie to discuss caregiver concerns. Topics include financial and other resources available to help local residents caring for loved ones and supports for seniors concerned about their own care.

The Zoom link is:

People who don’t have a Zoom account can sign up for free to participate in this Q&A session with the BC Seniors Advocate.

Ravensong pool expansion options evolve

The uncoordinated planning of aquatic facilities for our regional district led the RDN Oceanside Services Committee (OSC), at their February 11, 2021 meeting, to send RDN staff back to the drawing board to develop phasing options. The changes to the Ravensong Aquatic Centre were now to initially focus on basic changeroom renovations, and then proceed incrementally to expanded capacity for other aquatic services and amenities such as a fitness centre. Second Opinion QB profiled the original options and uncoordinated planning on March 19, 2021 (link below).

At their June 10, 2021 meeting, the OSC was presented with four options. The renovation-only option turned out to be a non-starter. Gutting and replacing the changerooms, washrooms and lobby — without any temporary alternate facilities available — would mean shutting down the entire Ravensong Centre for 10 to 18 months. Apparently Island Health frowns upon using ATCO trailers and Porta-Potties as temporary substitutes for changerooms and washrooms at a public swimming pool.

Each of the remaining three proposed options would be completed in two phases. The main differences are in the scope and cost of each phase. A good summary, with excellent visuals (some included with the meeting agenda), was provided by contracted architect Kate Busby, followed by a review of financial and operational considerations by the RDN’s Tom Osborne and Dean Banman, and a good discussion by the Committee, all of which is available starting at about the 3 minute mark of the meeting recording. Spoiler alert: Option OO (as in the Original Option) and Option C are the preferred options of the OSC at this point.

The next checkpoint will be the OSC meeting in November 2021. Based on the pace of progress with Parksville’s proposed aquatic centre, and the need for funding approval through a referendum, it now looks like any major Ravensong Aquatic Centre construction would, at the earliest, commence in 2023.

Related article: Has the Ravensong pool upgrade been run up on the rocks?

Open for the season: Milner Gardens and Innisfree Farm

Two public gardens that we profiled last summer, Milner Gardens and Innisfree Farm, are open for the season.

Innisfree Farm Tea & Music
Sunday Afternoon Tea & Music at Innisfree Farm & Botanic Garden.

Milner Gardens and Woodland is open through the summer until September 5th, Thursdays to Sundays from 11:00 AM – 4:30 PM at 2179 West Island Highway in Qualicum Beach.

Milner Garden’s Camellia Tea Room Service is offered, but as take-out only at this time, available from 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM. 

Innisfree Farm & Botanic Garden will be open every Friday and Saturday from June 18 to mid-September, 2021.

In addition to the home baking and cold drinks available at Innisfree’s Green Dream Café, picnic baskets will again be available on Saturdays (by pre-order only).

This year, Sunday Afternoon Tea and Music events will be held monthly, the first one scheduled for June 20th. Innisfree Farm is located at 3636 Trent Road, Courtenay BC (Royston area).

Mayor Wiese’s disregard for integrity and Town rules

Blatant shilling on behalf of the Duttons and their request for Town approval to subdivide a chunk of their Pheasant Glen Resort property has been taken to a new level by Mayor Brian Wiese.

Wiese, chairing the RDN’s Oceanside Services Committee meeting on June 10, 2021, appeared wearing his Pheasant Glen jacket, label prominently appearing on the video for the entire meeting. Some may consider this clever, but many consider this behaviour to be an intentional, vulgar, in-your-face, middle-finger act of bullying aimed at anyone who tries to constrain his use of public office to aid the private interests of his political friends.

Mayor Brian Wiese chairing Oceanside Services Committee meeting June 10, 2021 wearing a jacket bearing the Pheasant Glen golf course logo.

Those who regularly witness his biased favouring of subdivision requests will not be surprised that Mr. Wiese was recently seen departing from the home of Rick and Linda Todsen whose controversial proposal is still before Council. As we pointed out in a previous article, no one at Town Hall seems to care about compliance with the Town’s very clear policy 3008-6 directing that “After the submission of a formal development application, applicants shall refrain from discussing their applications with members of Council except during meetings that are open to the public…” until the application is either approved or rejected.

Welcome to Doug Holmes, RDN’s new CAO

In our last Breakers section we reported on the active recruitment for two senior RDN executive positions. Two days later, the RDN announced that August 23, 2021 is the expected arrival date of our new RDN Chief Administrative Officer, Doug Holmes. One of his first priorities will be recruiting the GM for the RDN’s planning and strategic initiatives.

Speaking of the RDN, at their June 8, 2021 Board meeting, the motion by Area G Director Lehann Wallace to initiate a Restructure and Service Delivery Study of Area G was adopted, with only two Directors voting against (Nanaimo’s Zeni Maartman and Area F’s Julian Fell).

Some readers may have been confused by the incorrect map used in a story published online on June 10, 2021 by the PQB News. Their display of Water Region 3 (French Creek watershed) does not properly show the borders of Area G; the map shown here correctly shows the actual boundaries of Area G.