SURREY ASSOCIATION OF SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES

 

MINUTES OF GENERAL MEETING

 

Thursday, May 19, 2011, at 7.00 pm

 

Port Kells Community Hall, 18918  88 Ave.

 

Persons present:   Darlene Bowyer (Port Kells CA), George Davies and Cass Neilson (Royal Park Group), Bob Dhaliwal (W. Panorama Ridge RA), Maryanne Eyers (South Westminster RA), Deb Jack (Surrey Environmental Partners),  Barb Paton (Semiahmoo RA), Liz Walker (CRONIC), Rosemary Zelinka (Elgin Ratepayers and Coordinator for Surrey ASC).

 

Regrets – Ann Cassidy, Fred Weber

 

1.     Chair for the Meeting

Darlene Bowyer was appointed Chair of the meeting.

 

2.     Minutes

The Minutes of the March AGM were approved as circulated.

 

3.     Guest

Linda Stromberg from the Ad hoc Committee for School Funding spoke regarding a petition that is being raised to ask the provincial government for more and fairer funding for Surrey schools. She suggested that Surrey ASC might want to nominate someone to serve on the Committee. Several members agreed to circulate copies of the petition.  It was also suggested that local MLA’s should be approached.  Anyone else interested in working on the petition can contact Linda at linda@westernpowersports.com

 

Deb Jack expressed concern that City Council, although working to support more funding for schools, recently permitted a new development because modular classrooms are being provided in a school rather than portables.  There was general agreement that there should be a moratorium on development until schools are improved, and it was pointed out that this has been done before.

 

It was moved by Rosemary Zelinka and seconded by Maryanne Eyers that Barb Paton be appointed to represent Surrey ASC on the Ad Hoc for School Funding. CARRIED

 

4.     Bylaw Enforcement issues

It was noted that the Chief Bylaw Enforcement  Officer had been invited to this meeting but said he was unable to attend due to ‘several pressing issues”.

 

Darlene Bowyer reported that no action appeared to have been taken by Bylaw Enforcement regarding the specific examples she gave to them last year.

 

A number of examples of lack of bylaw enforcement were discussed, e.g.  a new single family dwelling where a large covered patio had been built and where Bylaw Enforcement had taken no action. Other examples include all trees on a site being cut down, and a house being demolished in Ocean Park over a weekend. It was noted that the maximum fine for knocking down a house is $28, twice the fee of a demolition permit.

 

It was moved by Barb Paton and seconded by George Davies that the Coordinator draft a letter for approval by the Executive, reminding the City of previous correspondence re Bylaw Enforcement and requesting an update and that a speaker be provided for one of our meetings. CARRIED

 

5.     Outcome of Ecosystem Management Study

It was noted that Council approved the recommendations of this study, despite letters of concern from Surrey ASC and Surrey Environmental Partners.  Some mapping errors identified by SEP were corrected but otherwise little notice was taken of our representations.  Some Council members did express appreciation concerning our “watchdog efforts”.  Hopefully we can achieve more during the second stage of this work and during the OCP process where development permit areas for protection of the environment will be discussed.

 

6.     Location of cell towers

There was considerable discussion regarding whether towers used to transmit cell phone messages are dangerous to health.  Information to that effect was presented by Liz Walker, while opposing or not proven views were put forward by others.  It was noted that the City recently decided to ask applicants for a cell tower at 168St/68 Ave. to look for another site, after considerable public opposition from nearby residents.  In that report, staff advised that Industry Canada, which sets the standards on these matters, prohibits municipalities from using health and property values as reasons to deny tower locations.

 

It was agreed that due to differing opinions, Surrey ASC would not take a position for or against the location of cell towers at the present time, but would be prepared to consider the matter again if new information becomes available.

 

7.     Progress re other City Studies

Public Open Houses regarding the draft report of the Review of the OCP are expected this summer.  SEP is asking for a stakeholders’ meeting to be organized regarding the proposed environmental policies.

 

8.     New Business

(a)  Surrey ASC has been invited to participate in the public consultation process regarding the proposed expansion to the Robert’s Bank container port.  The Coordinator will attend if possible, and otherwise Deb Jack, who will be representing SEP, will keep us informed.

 

(b)  Barb Paton will attend a City meeting regarding dog off-leash parks and report back to Surrey ASC.

 

(c)  Deb Jack reported that all draft options for NCP#4 in Grandview Heights involve fragmenting an environmental “hub” of highest value.  She and Mike Proskow are monitoring progress.  Surrey ASC mentioned this issue in letters to the City re the Ecosystem Management Study.  Deb suggested that the City’s development cost charges should include an environmental levy to allow the City to purchase important environmental areas.

 

9.     Next meeting

Thursday, Sept 15.

 

10.    Adjournment  - 8.55 p.m.