Eoin Finn of Bowyer Island appeared before Sechelt council during the May 14 committee of the whole meeting to ask for support of a resolution urging the federal government to “ban the passage of LNG tankers in the waters of the Malaspina, Georgia, Juan de Fuca and Haro straits and Boundary Pass.”
He said that right now with ship traffic in the area “it’s a fairly crowded sea,” and that traffic is estimated to go up “over 300 per cent” in the coming years with the addition of oil and LNG tankers.
“That makes for more possibilities of ship collisions, which is rather of importance for LNG tankers because they are in essence floating bombs,” he said.
He pointed to a recent study sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Association that noted the increase in traffic would ultimately increase the potential for collisions “by a factor of five.”
“That would result in a very large boom if it’s an LNG tanker or a spill of oil on the Salish Sea. I think you would have to be on another planet not to realize that this is of increasing concern to the residents of the Lower Mainland in particular, and all along, as the tides fall in and out here rather quickly, to the residents of nearby municipalities,” Finn said.
When he finished his presentation, Coun. Doug Hockley asked Finn, “What’s the option?”
“To have it or not have it. I guess that’s the simplest option,” Finn said.
Council thanked Finn for his presentation, but made no motion in favour or against his proposed resolution.
Members of the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCM-SAR) Halfmoon Bay Station 12 presented council with a three-dimensional piece of art depicting the waters they patrol around Sechelt as a thank you for the District’s gift of boathouse moorage at the Porpoise Bay wharf.
The free moorage made for a permanent lifeboat station in Sechelt Inlet, which has dramatically reduced RCM-SAR’s response time in the area.
“We as a group wanted to thank you people for having the foresight to do that, and this is our way of saying thank you,” said station leader Mark Coombs.
A group working toward smoke-free spaces on the Coast asked council to consider a “leading-edge bylaw” that would ban smoking within 7.5 metres of doorways, windows and air intakes and ban smoking on restaurant and pub patios, parks, beaches, trails and in public places where people gather, including playgrounds and fields.
“It would also include weeds and other substances, water hookah pipes, e-cigarettes and other tobacco products,” said Stacey Berisavac of the Canadian Cancer Society.
Berisavac asked for the leading-edge bylaw after presenting findings of a Sunshine Coast smoking survey along with Caitlin Etherington, the Vancouver Coastal Health tobacco reduction coordinator, and public health officer Paul Martiquet.
The survey questioned 510 people on the Coast between July and September of last year and it showed that 95 per cent of people “agreed that we have the right to breathe clean air.”
“Approximately 80 per cent also supported the following points: a total hospitality patio ban would mean no businesses would have an unfair advantage; there is a need for protection from ‘big tobacco;’ and the need to protect hospitality workers from second-hand smoke,” the survey’s summary noted.
While the group pushed for an enhanced bylaw and offered their help to have one made, council wasn’t willing to move forward with a change and instead thanked the speakers for their presentation.
Regional housing needs assessment consultant Matt Thomson presented his findings to council May 14, saying Sechelt is the anomaly on the Sunshine Coast when it comes to affordable housing.
Median ownership costs are greater than median earning households can generally afford; however, the District of Sechelt is actually the one exception for this,” Thomson said.
He showed that in Sechelt the median household income was around $57,000, which would allow for the purchase of a home worth $270,000.
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