YARROW COMMUNITY PLANNING

YARROW COMMUNITY PLANNING

MEETING JUNE 20th, 7-8:30 PM

YARROW COMMUNITY HALL

The city planning team will be meeting with residents for an interactive, visioning session

to guide future development policy for Yarrow.

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Wendy Bales (FVRD – Director Electoral Area “C”) is asking us to support the Petition to amend the British Columbia Mines Act.

She was sending us her views as follows:

We are at the 11th hour of plans for major irreversible changes that could be implemented that would be destructive to our water sources. Mining Zones are planned for our most important Fraser Valley Watersheds, and in habitats that are also some of the best salmon spawning areas left in the world!

Many believe that the APP could be approved before the next election and that if approved, the APP will help to rubber stamp permits in the large mining zones planned, accelerating the current unsustainable aspects of the Mining Act.

What can you do? Make some noise now, write to newspapers, as well as support others with comments who have written and contact politicians before the election and tell them to commit to scrapping the APP plan and to amend the Mines Act ASAP! It only takes on sentence. Before the election will be our best and most affordable window of opportunity to get commitments to restore some local rights over our watersheds. Attached is a petition to Amend the Mines Act, as well as some background in a resolution.

Please print a petition page and get your friends to sign. PetitionWendyBales.pdf

Important: Please write in the field Printed Name, your first and your last name.

In the field Address, fill in your full address including street address, city, province

Please follow her instructions and send petition sheets as indicated on top of the petition ASAP

The Vedder Mountain Preservation Group could be of big help to make a point and stimulate the Government to include members of the public and first nations to amend the Mines Act.

Thank your all for your help

Victor Froese Co-chair

Walter Raupach Co-Chair

Rich.Coleman.MLA@leg.bc.ca

randy.hawes.mla@leg.bc.ca

wbales@fvrd.bc.ca

The main selling point of the APP on the FVRD’s website , see mapping plans here: http://www.fvrd.bc.ca/INSIDETHEFVRD/COMMUNITYPLANNING/Pages/APP.aspx

 

234,635 ha. of Green Zones areas if approved will no longer need
public consultation and will facilitate easy permitting.

 

189,301 ha of Yellow Zones may have some public consultation similar to what we have under the Mines Act, under which there has been minimal consultation, regulating or enforcement of regulations(unless prompted continually by the public).

“The objective of APP is to develop a set of recommendations supported by local government and the Aggregate Industry for new approaches that reduce conflicts and secure a long-term stable aggregate supply.”

Contrarily well over 90% of those speaking at the public meetings have been opposed to the APP. Since we already have over a 100 years worth of gravel permitted for our local needs, what is it really about?

Many of the details of the APP have been decided in closed door meetings without public inclusion.

In spite of the overwhelming opposition, almost all FVRD Directors are still in favor of the plan. I believe that the main selling point for local government has been the tonnage fees that would go to the FVRD. I believe for industry and insiders since we don’t need more
gravel permitted for our local needs, that it is more about control over large areas our crown land, water and forest resources. Permits can also be bought, forests clear-cut and then re-sold to other international corporations like what we are now seeing with China
and India’s interest in our raw resources.

As a member of the APP tri-party committee I believe that both the APP as well as the Mines Act facilitates a system that will be unsustainable for our needed affordable water supply. International Corporations are already buying up control of our watersheds through mining permits. This is already happening! The plan is to eventually expand to have gravel zones through-out B.C.

With the recent downgrades to DFO and MOE any expectation of meaningful proactive regulating of our watersheds and habitats is unrealistic. The FVRD have not enforced their last new improved zoning bylaw for mining. The Ministry of Mines does very little
in the way of effective regulating and enforcement. Whether by the proposed APP Zones or by the archaic Mines Act if we want a sustainable future, mining with no limits or consideration of hydrological and cumulative impacts has got to be stopped. We
already have well over a hundred years worth of gravel permitted in the Fraser Valley. What we need now is water security and protection of our important habitats!

At the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) last fall, at a forum Rich Coleman told me that the they were already working with the APP maps and that they would have the backlog of permits processed by this spring. See in the attached link my resolution to Amend the
Mines Act that a majority at UBCM voted in favor of in 2011.

Your community may just be fighting for one pit or watershed protection issue today, but unless we get changes by amending the Mines Act among other things, our children will be fighting for their basic water rights. See what our government own environment scientists have to say about trends in the below summary and then multiply the affects if we don’t retain local standards and control to be able to protect watersheds.

http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hfd/pubs/Docs/En/En87.pdf

Come to the rally and see the maps of the large gravel zones that are proposed and network widely. For news or to help with more rallies to come call: 1-604-820-1451

Thanks

Wendy Bales

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VEDDER MOUNTAIN RELATED MEETINGS

  1. Trash Dumping in Chilliwack & on Vedder Mountain ( article in March 7th Progress) – Meeting schedule for Yarrow Elementary School, Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at 6:00 pm.  Seems to be initiated by BC Conservation Officer, Denny Cretien. 
  2. Vedder Mountain Crown Land Recreation Open House – (brochure delivered to mail boxes by BC gov’t) – Meeting scheduled for Wednesday, March 27, 2013 at Yarrow Elementary 7:00-9:00 pm.  The purpose is to review and provide comments on the proposed establishment of an interpretive forest site, recreation sites and trails located on Vedder Mountain.

Vedder Mt Brochure

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RIPARIAN AREA PROTECTION NEEDED IN NEW OCP

Victor Froese, February 2013

The sign below is found at the end of Browne Road where it extends over the
dyke into what is known as a wetland or riparian area. The City of Chilliwack’s
Riparian Bylaw 3249 supposedly protects such areas.

The bylaw is introduced by the following statement: All lands within the
boundaries of the City of Chilliwack are designated as a Development Area for
the purpose of protecting the natural environment, its ecosystems and biological
diversity, and in particular fish and fish habitat and riparian habitat, in accordance
with Section 919.1 of the Local Government Act.
No Dumping Sign
My daily dog walk took me past the sign above and I began to wonder why City
of Chilliwack trucks had been dumping materials into this wetland area over the
past dozen years. I photographed one of these events of active dumping and
sent the photos together with the following questions to the city.
City Cleanup of Dumping
City equipment buries materials dumped earlier – November 2012

I asked: After reading Bylaw 3249, No. 2588 I have the following questions:
1. Does the city consider itself to be regulated by this bylaw?
2. Is the activity to which I refer above not considered under the definitions of
“development” or do you consider it to be “exempted”(p.5)?
3. Was a riparian assessment done by a QEP? If so, what was the conclusion?
4. Do you agree that the area in question could be classified as Watercourse
Classification A and/or B?
5. Was a Development Permit prepared by the city to allow it to dump materiasl
into and A or B area which is within the 30 meter setback?
6. Was the possible HADD approved under the Fisheries Act?
7. Do you know which species are found and have been documented in this
wetland?

The questions and photos were sent to Tara Friesen, Karen Stanton and Kurt
Houlden at different times between Dec. 4/12 and Dec. 23/12 but no response
was received. On Jan. 9/13 I contacted Councilor Jason Lum to attempt to find
out why there was no reply. On Jan 18/13 I received a response from David
Blain, Director of Planning and Engineering (the complete letter may be found here: David Blain letter). Some key paragraphs are quoted below:

Your suggestions and concerns have been reviewed by the Planning and
Engineering Departments. As part of our current OCP review, the City
is reviewing mapping and policy amendments to identify and protect
environmentally sensitive areas. The wetland you have referenced lies within
the Vedder River Management Area (VRMA), and it is anticipated that high
level policies will be identified in the OCP for the VRMA as a whole, rather
than individual sites (for example, the wetland) within the VRMA.

With respect to your concern about the organic material that has been placed
adjacent to the parking area at the north end of Browne Road, this matter has
been reviewed. The material dumped there in November was from a nearby hillside slide that required immediate response during the night. Some of the
material has already been removed from the site, but the remainder will also
be taken away and the vegetation reinstated. There have been discussions
among municipal departments to ensure materials are not placed at that site in
the future. (Red colour added for emphasis.)

Thank you again for your interest in preserving habitat values along the
Vedder River corridor. If you have any further questions about the OCP
process, they can be directed to Karen Stanton (stanton@chilliwack.com).
Questions about the Vedder River Management Area and Committee can be
directed to Tara Friesen (tfriesen@chilliwack.com).

While this goes some way to address the observed problem, the questions
were not answered. I have again contacted Councillor Lum and indicated to
him that I would like the questions answered. It is critical to know if the City
actually feels bound by its own bylaws; our previous VMPG experiences
raise serious questions about that principle.

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UPDATE ON KIRKNESS ISSUES IN 2012

Co-Chairs Walter Raupach and Victor Froese did some follow-up investigation
to determine whether Kirkness was taking new initiatives related to his gravel
operations on Vedder Mountain. We contacted the City of Chilliwack, the
Ministry of Forests, Lands & Natural Resources (which deals with crown lands),
and the Ministry of Mines to see if any new applications had been filed.

City of Chilliwack
We had earlier discovered that Kirkness had filed an application to build a
“private driveway” up Vedder Mountain from Vedder Mountain Road to a
proposed “single family dwelling”. Through Freedom of Information (FOI) we
requested and received a copy of the application. The route was very similar to
the one filed to build the gravel conveyor so we provided the exact wording from
the earlier plan to the City. We also reminded the City of the conditions they had
placed on developments on the mountain. Eventually Kirkness withdrew the
application according to Glen White.

Ministry of Forests, Lands & Natural Resources (formerly ILMB)
We contacted Kevin Walker to determine what applications from Kirkness
they may have received. He indicated Kirkness had not submitted any new
applications however he still had a permit which allowed him to construct an
access road to his private property from the Vedder Forest Service Road (FSR).
He did point out that “there were concerns both from the Ts’elxweyeqw Tribe and
Chilliwack District staff”.

Ministry of Mines
Walter wrote a memo to Eddy Taje, the Inspector of Mines, which inquired as to
possible pending applications related to the Kirkness quarry. A follow-up was
required to the August 2012 question in order to get a response. The response
was: “We have no new applications”.

While it appears that when we made our inquiries there were no new
applications, we need to remain vigilant. The application process is such that
new initiatives can be filed by the proponent at any time; withdrawn proposals
are only on “hold”, they are not dead. We will again file a FOI with the City in
regards to Kirkness’s 2010 Soil Removal permits; this continues our practice of
requesting that information which the City withholds from us for two years.

Vedder Mountain Preservation Group will continue to keep its ears to the ground
about new developments which threaten us and our environment.

Kirkness pit on VM

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Yarrow OCP Community Talk

Yarrow OCP Community Talk
December 3, 2012
Reported by Victor Froese

The Yarrow Community Talk at the Community Hall was attended by
approximately 70 residents. This is the first part of community engagement
related to the Official Community Plan (OCP) revision which will guide
development for the next 10-30 years.

City staff made a brief presentation regarding Yarrow. Karen Stanton, Rod
Sanderson and Peter Lee were in attendance. Yarrow is the area between
Giesbrecht Road on the east and Boundary Road on the west and includes
Majuba Hill. The population has been largely stable for the past 15 years and
is estimated to be about 2,800 in 2012. The average household size is 3.1
people (2.5 for the City) and 41% of households consist of couples with children.
Twenty-two percent of the people in Yarrow (19% in City) are aged 1-14 years of
age.

The industries are categorized as 26% sales and service, 22% trades and
transportation, 16% business and finance, 9% management, and 8% primary
industries.

The infrastructure challenges are water supply, insufficient water flow for fire
protection, reliance on septic systems, and a high water table.

Mr. Klukas and an associate from Urban Systems from Vancouver conducted
small group discussions on a number of topics and had an electronic system to
record audience response. Questions were discussed for 15-20 minutes and
voting followed to arrive at the following results (only top results reported here).
1) What are the positives about Yarrow? 31% said rural but accessible, 31%
said it had a sense of community, and 29% indicated it was self-contained.
2) What are the challenges? 39% said “limit growth”, 16% selected
“transportation”, and 18% chose “crime”.
3) What is the vision for Yarrow? Items included preserving agriculture,
outdoors & environment, wider range of businesses, full spread of ages in
the population, better transportation, and recreation.
4) What characteristics are desired? Responses included visually appealing
core, a “destination”, no development close to river, careful development,
protect water quality, and overnight accommodation.
5) Response item for “development” – 14% for, 40% against.
6) Response item for “economic development” – 37% primary/farming, 24%
information related.
7) Response item for “transportation” – 31% roads, 26% transit.
8) Response item for “environment” – 28% environment, 26% air quality,
23% rural development.

9) Response item for “healthy community” – 60% crime & safety, 23%
housing.

Those in attendance were also asked to fill out a paper copy of the City of
Chilliwack Survey (which may also be found on-line at the City of Chilliwack
website). The survey asks respondents to indicate how important a variety of
development and recreation related issues are to them. The survey was also
enclosed in the Winter/Spring 2013 Leisure Guide. It is recommended that as
many people as possible complete the survey which only takes a few minutes to
complete.

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2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The London Olympic Stadium is 53 meters high. This blog had about 670 visitors in 2012. If every visitor were a meter, this blog would be 13 times taller than the Olympic Stadium – not too shabby.

Click here to see the complete report.

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