More communities in the District 69 region will be involved in funding the Lighthouse Country Marine Rescue Society.
At present only Electoral Area H (Bowser, Qualicum Bay, Deep Bay) in the Regional District of Nanaimo is contributing to the Deep Bay-based society which services Fanny Bay Area to French Creek, including Lasqueti Island.
A staff report was presented at the Oceanside Services Committee meeting on June 10 that indicates the need to include other communities to be involved in the funding to meet the society’s financial requirements each year.
Last March, the RDN board passed a motion to increase the regular contribution to the LCMRS from $7,500 to $8,500 for 2021 and to hike it up to $17,500 for 2022-2026. With only Area H is contributing to the services, the RDN can only collect a maxium requisition of $9,355.
The report recommended amending the Northern Community Marine Search and Rescue Contribution Service Bylaw to included the City of Parksville, Town of Qualicum Beach and Electoral Areas F (Coombs, Hilliers, Errington, Whiskey Creek, Meadowood) and G (French Creek, San Pareil, Little Qualicum, Englishman River) as they are also benefitting from the services provided by LCMRS. Their inclusion wold increase the maximum requisition amount to $76,895.
Area E (Nanoose Bay) was not included in the bylaw amendment as it already contributes to the Nanaimo Marine Rescue Society.
Area F alternate director Julian Fell wanted to know the rationale behind their inclusion to help fund the services when their community is landlocked and has no coastline.
“I believe a lot of people in you area as in my area and Parksville don’t live on the water but we have boats,” said Brian Wiese, committee chair and Town of Qualicum Beach director. “And I can assure you there’s a lot of boats equally in Area F as there is in Area G and H, and A, B, C and D for that matter. I think that’s probably what it is.”
Area G director Lehann Wallace cited the Oceanside Community Track at Ballenas as an example as to why all the areas should be involved.
“Students that go to Ballenas in Area F could benefit from the track and therefore should be contributing,” said Wallace. “And certainly when I drive through Area F, I see a number of boats that launch in French Creek. Actually I recognize a few people from F down at the marina launching boats. So, yeah, this is an example of where regional districts are a collaboration of areas whereby we can certainly benefit from sharing among the cost of service delivered.”
The service provided by the society is important to the region, said Wiese.
“Storms come up in a hurry,” said Wiese. “They come over the mountain and they hit you in a hurry out there. Qualicum winds they call it. You can get yourself in a whole pile of trouble in a short period of time. I’m pretty much appreciative of their efforts.”
The committee endorsed staff bylaw amendment recommendation for the RDN board’s approval. It also included introduction and three readings before the amended bylaw is forward to the Inspector of Municipal Affairs for approval.