Comment Re: Grant received for Saltair portion of Trans Canada Trail

1. The main obstacle to completing the trail is money. It will take $1.55 million to complete the Saltair section. The big cost is doing the two bridge structures over Stocking Creek. The engineering work has been done for this section and it is shovel ready when the money is ready.
2. This a regional project so regional money will be used along with grant money from different authorities like ICET, Western Diversification, Trans Canada Trails Foundation, Bike BC, Green Municipal Fund, New Canada Building Fund, Regional Parks Budget Gas Tax and others.
3. The Island Corridor Foundation controls the land beside the train track where the trail will be built. The Island Corridor is owned by all the municipalities and regional districts from Victoria to Campbell River. This 6.3 km Saltair section of the trail will be built on the west side of the track continuing from Chemainus to Stocking Creek Park.

Controversial Reflections

Earlier this month, SDRA President John Silins resigned.  In a memorandum, which can be found at, he reflected on his eight years as an SDRA director and four years as president. In part, Silins commented on the CVRD’s decision to purchase the old, Mount Breton Elementary School and grounds.  He said, “Soon after the purchase rumors or – in Trump speak ‘alternative facts’ were floated about, probably by unsuccessful developers. These included, in part , the building was full of asbestos and remediation would cost in excess of a million dollars as would deconstruction, the septic system was shot, no economical heat, health hazard, the roof needs replacement – hundreds of thousands of dollars, buried leaking oil tanks and so on. Unfortunately the rumors still persist. Why? Because the owner, CVRD, of the property never, in the years it owned the building, did a building inspection or assessment.”

Mr. Silins’ credentials as a volunteer and community activist cannot be questioned but his observations in this regard appear to be at least slightly incorrect.  Some of Silins’ “alternative facts” are real facts resulting from inspections or assessments.

The building is in a manner of speaking “full of asbestos”.  On July 16, 2014, Hazpro Environmental Ltd. (“Hazpro”) completed a hazardous material survey for the CVRD.  With respect to asbestos, Hazpro reported, “Asbestos was identified in the mastic on the underside of the sinks; it is assumed that all sinks have asbestos mastic. In the furnace room asbestos containing duct tape as well as gaskets on the furnace. The plaster throughout the building is asbestos containing. The exterior stucco is asbestos containing as well as the vent mastic on the roof. The doors to the furnace rooms were not sampled but are assumed to be asbestos containing.”

Similarly, the roof does need replacement and this will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.  On July 20, 2014, Westcoast Roof Inspection Services Ltd. (“Westcoast”) reported to the CVRD about the condition of the roofing.  In part, Westcoast found the roofing was more than 15 years old with a life expectancy of one to two years and would cost between $321,000 and $535,000 to replace.

Even though the CVRD had eight weeks (June 16 to August 8, 2014) for pre-purchase inspections, these were the only two inspections completed prior to purchase.

Silins is also incorrect about the CVRD’s failure to do a building assessment or inspection while it owned the building.  On July 7, 2016, North West Environmental Group Ltd. (“North West”), produced another asbestos report and an air quality report for the CVRD.  In part, North West told the CVRD it would have to have a hazardous materials risk assessment completed by qualified personnel prior to any removal and/or alteration work within the building and that specific repairs and asbestos removals were required for compliance with the BC Occupational and Safety Regulation.  North West’s air quality report describes a mould spore count in the gym that is 55 times higher than normal.

The 2014 Hazpro and Westcoast reports can be found here: Hazpro140716 and Westcoast140720

The 2016 North West reports can be found here: North West 160807 and North West 160808

Area G – Grant in Aid Funds

Why should Saltair taxpayers taxation funds – Area G – Grant in Aid (collected on our property taxes) pay for “Take 5 – advertising fee for Saltair Businesses”?

Take 5 publishes events for FREE. Who exactly made these arrangements with the Take 5? Should they not be paying for the advertising fee for Saltair Businesses?

It is great to recognize the community members who sat at the side of the road to do the Bike BC stats count. These stats were of benefit for the CVRD Parks & Trails to apply for the Rural Dividend Fund Grant and the award of $500,000 towards the Saltair section of the Cowichan Valley Trail/TCT.

In 2016 the Saltair taxpayers taxation funds – Area G Grant in Aid donated $500 to the quilting group towards the Canada 150 quilt that they are doing an amazing job on. Nice to recognize the work they are putting into such a large and time consuming project.

These are both commendable groups of volunteers in Saltair and a party to recognize their efforts is a great idea.

“Take 5 – advertising fee for Saltair Businesses” is this how the Area G – Grant in Aid should be spent? Why does the SDRA think so?

CVRD EASC (Electoral Area Service Committee) 17 May 2017

Recommendation That it be recommended to the Board that a Grant-in-Aid, Electoral Area G – Saltair/Gulf Islands, in the amount of $250 be provided to Saltair Ratepayers Association to support an appreciation event for the Saltair Cycling Group and 150 Quilters and Take 5 advertising.