SCRD eyes restoring, expanding free mulch program

SCRD briefs

John Gleeson / Staff Writer
July 10, 2014 10:51 AM

News and notes from the SCRD.

The Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) is considering a request to reinstate a free garden mulch program in Pender Harbour — and might also extend it Coast-wide.

The program was in place for Pender Harbour residents for more than a decade, but was phased out about three years ago after the SCRD contracted Salish Soils to truck green waste from the Coast’s three landfills to Salish Soils for composting, Ron Knight of the Pender Harbour Garden Club told directors on July 3.

Chipped from green waste brought in to the Garden Bay landfill, and then partially composted, the free mulch cut back the amount of water used by gardeners and improved air quality by reducing the amount of burning and trucking, Knight said, calling the mulch “brown gold” because of its high quality.

“It was incredible stuff. I never had a weed grow. It never hurt the plants in the garden and I was just delighted with it,” he said.

Residents, he said, saw the free service as a reward for taking their green waste to the landfill.

Directors passed a motion for staff to report back on options for a Coast-wide program. Among the issues to be addressed are invasive plants, estimated costs, implementation timeline and the potential for partnering with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

Knight suggested providing the service free to anyone with a pick-up truck or smaller vehicle, but charging everyone else to ensure commercial haulers did not cart away all the brown gold.

Remuneration and expenses

The schedule of remuneration and expenses for 2013 was presented at the SCRD’s June 26 corporate and administrative services committee meeting.

Among elected officials, board chair Garry Nohr received $49,947 in remuneration and claimed $17,879 in expenses, vice chair Donna Shugar received $39,971 plus $11,206 in expenses, Area A director Frank Mauro received $37,427 plus $16,425 in expenses, Area F director Lee Turnbull received $36,508 plus $19,361 in expenses, Area E director Lorne Lewis received $35,604 plus $6,994 in expenses, Gibsons director Gerry Tretick received $28,837 plus $2,837 in expenses, and District of Sechelt director Darnelda Siegers received $23,155 plus $937 in expenses.

The lower remuneration for municipal directors was at least partly offset by higher payouts for their alternates — Gibsons Coun. Lee Ann Johnson, who earned $9,385, and Sechelt Coun. Doug Hockley, who earned $7,474. The highest remuneration for a rural alternate director was just over $2,000.

On the staff side, a total of 23 SCRD employees earned more than $75,000 last year. The top four were CAO John France ($157,349), infrastructure services manager Bryan Shoji ($125,852), planning and development manager Steve Olmstead ($125,177) and recently retired community services manager Paul Fenwick ($125,167).

The consolidated total for employees with remuneration of $75,000 or less came to just over $9 million, putting the final total of employee remuneration at just over $11.2 million, plus $203,000 in expenses.

Cumulative effects

The province’s fledgling Cumu-lative Effects Framework (CEF) process would be “an acceptable first step” in the creation of a comprehensive marine and land use plan for Howe Sound, provided Squamish Nation and the three regional districts in the sound participate, SCRD directors agreed at last month’s planning and development committee meeting.

The committee also specified that the process should consider watershed areas within Howe Sound as a whole and voted to ask West Vancouver - Sunshine Coast - Sea to Sky MP John Weston to contact the Department of Fisheries and Oceans requesting its participation.

Pitched by the province in January at the Howe Sound Community Forum, CEF was described as a pre-planning process that would bring communities together to identify key values.

The next community forum is scheduled for Sept. 12.

Economic development

Sechelt Nation and municipal officials attended two SCRD workshops this spring to explore regional economic development opportunities, and a facilitated meeting on the topic between the Band and SCRD is in the planning stages.

“They know and understand that we are going to be leading the way,” Sechelt Nation Chief Calvin Craigan said last week. “But we can’t grow without them. We’re definitely in bed with them. We can’t work without them and they can’t work without us.”

Within the next two to three weeks, Craigan said, the Band will announce “a couple of major new developments that are going to come into the community.”

© Coast Reporter

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