Summer’s here and the warm sunny weather is finally more than a weather channel promise. We hope you’re enjoying all that our beautiful part of the Island has to offer!
Our Annual General meeting on April 15, 2018, was a resounding success with over 30 members in attendance. We had the honour of hosting guest speakers: Jeff McArthur (RCMP policing issues); Ryan Evanoff (Ministry of Transport upgrades to Hwy 14); Arnie Campbell (presenting a new Interactive History of Otter Point website); and excitingly an announcement by Mike Hicks (CRD Director) on major provincial funding of $2-3 million for safety upgrades on Otter Point Road.
Our membership drive has been successful, increasing our fold by over 20 residents since the last AGM for a total of 462 (full and associate) members. A copy of the Annual President’s Report for the 2018 AGM is also available. We are also pleased to announce the appointment of the following directors (and contact emails) to the OPSRRA board:
- Bill Dushenko (returning as president – firstname.lastname@example.org; 250-642-4343);
- Cheryl Wirch-Ryckman (returning a vice-president – email@example.com);
- Brenda Mark (past treasurer, returning as director at large – firstname.lastname@example.org );
- Fiona McDannold (returning as secretary – email@example.com);
- Sandy Barta (returning as membership director and publisher – firstname.lastname@example.org);
- Barb Soley (new director at large – email@example.com); and
- Diane Foster (new treasurer - firstname.lastname@example.org).
Barbara Soley is a newcomer to the JDR area. She and her husband have recently retired and are looking forward to being active participants in their community. Diane Foster and her husband Michael lived in Otter Point for 12 years before relocating to Shirley in 2015. Intending to stay there permanently, they look forward to contributing to and becoming involved in the community.
Board Retreat (May 13, 2018)
OPSRRA directors held their annual retreat, in the beautiful sunshine of Mother’s Day, to do both board development work and planning for the coming year. Some of the community issues we will be addressing include the following:
- continuing work on Hwy 14 safety improvement and access issues in collaboration with other agencies (e.g., Ministry of Transport, CRD, RCMP, Fire, Search and Rescue, Ambulances);
- resources to establish “Welcome to Jordan River” signage at the CRD boundaries;
- funding to upgrade/maintain community notice boards and existing community “welcome” signage;
- working with federal and other authorities to address improved cell tower coverage and placement;
- continuing our membership drive through OPSRRA booths at community events (e.g., Shirley Days, Food Chi Events, Sooke Music Festival, etc.) including engaging volunteers to assist, using social media to target younger residents and updating brochures;
- building stronger relationships and dialogue with local industry (e.g., Timberwest) and other groups (e.g., Pacheedaht and T’Souke First Nations) to address environmental and other issues of mutual interest/concern such as logging in Muir Creek watershed;
- fundraising to support meeting costs and other unique projects for our members; and
- advocating for provincial groundwater aquifer studies in our communities in the longer term, in support of regional water resource sustainability.
This list is not exclusive/exhaustive and we encourage our OPSRRA members to bring any other important community issues to our attention by contacting email@example.com.
If you would like to become involved in any of these projects or initiatives, please don’t hesitate to contact us – we’re always looking for volunteers and ways of better engaging our members!
Community Notice Boards and Existing Community Welcome Signs
OPSRRA has submitted a Grant in Aid application to CRD in the amount of $700 for the maintenance and refurbishing of 27 notice boards in Otter Point, eight notice boards in Shirley and one notice board in Jordan River, which are nearing 15 years old; in addition to the maintenance and refurbishing of the four large “Welcome” signs in Otter Point and Shirley which are now seven years old. All are exposed to weather conditions and require periodic maintenance and repairs. As OPSRRA members volunteer their time and labour where possible, the funds are proposed for expenses including paint, fittings, posts, lumber and other material as needed. If you would like to help us out with this project in any way, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shirley Adopt-a-Highway and Clean-up Project
A proposal is being prepared by the Shirley Community Association (SCA) to organize an Adopt-a-Highway Program along a 14 km stretch of West Coast Road within Shirley limits. This would include the designation of litter pickup zones to be cleaned up monthly, installation of accompanying signage to deter illegal dumping, organizing community pickups twice yearly to clean dump sites, and litter pickup in danger zones along the highway (i.e. glens of Muir, Kirby and Sandcut; hazardous curves) that require safety gear for volunteers. In addition to involving local residents and businesses, it's hoped that volunteers who participate in this initiative will be supported by multiple agencies including the SCA as lead sponsor, Capital Regional District (CRD), highway contractor (i.e. Mainroad), and B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure’s Adopt a Highway Program. If you would like to find out more about this initiative, please contact email@example.com.
Internet Speed Update in Jordan River (JR)
Hard to fathom that high speed internet will be accessible in our region in under 5 years. In a wide sweeping infrastructure project, over 3,400 km of subsea fibre-optic cable will be stretched from Prince Rupert to Vancouver and then around Vancouver Island. The cable, once laid, will connect nearly 200,000 BC residents to reliable high-speed internet and cell phone services that will allow local residents to work, learn and play online with ease from their homes.
The project has received $45.4 million in funding from both the federal and provincial governments and will be managed by the Strathcona Regional District and CityWest. The first step in the project is community consultation and OPSRRA has reached out to the Connected Coast (link for Connected Coast: https://connectedcoast.ca ) project to help ensure our region’s needs are looked after.
Pacheedaht First Nation Celebration in Jordan River (JR)
OPSRRA’s president participated in the Pacheedaht celebration on Thursday June 21 (National Aboriginal Day and summer solstice) along with a few other members. It was a well attended event and the First Nation, along with their brothers, the Ditidaht, expressed their deep pride and joy in having diitiida (their ancestral point of origin) being returned to them. In addition to an hour and half of warm, heartfelt speeches from Chief Jeff Jones, Chief Robert Joseph (of the Ditidaht), elders and councillors, as well as officials from BC. Hydro, CRD and site archeologist, we were treated to songs from elder and drummer Jimmy Chester and his warm humour, along with a group of dancers from the community. This was followed by a delicious lunch of halibut and salmon steamed for three hours in a traditional fire pit along with BBQ'ed dogs and burgers, concluding with a tour of the site. We look forward to building strong relationships with our First Nation communities.
As always, we’re striving to improve the quality of life our members enjoy in our communities, but we can’t do it without your help and involvement. If you wish to volunteer your time and assistance in any way, again, please don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, have an enjoyable and safe summer everyone!