Powell River school district seeks expansion of outdoor learning centre

Haywire Bay facility slated for waterfront enhancement, gazebo and amphitheatre

qathet Regional District’s committee of the whole is receptive to expansion of the Outdoor Learning Centre (OLC) at Haywire Bay.

At the June 11 meeting of the committee, regional district directors reviewed correspondence from School District 47, which wants to enhance the waterfront, and construct a gazebo and amphitheatre at the Powell Lake location.

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A letter from the school district said the objective of the waterfront proposal is to design and build a new dock and infrastructure so the OLC can continue to offer safe, educational and accessible programming on and near the water. A second letter outlined proposed construction of the gazebo and amphitheatre at the facility.

Electoral Area E director Andrew Fall asked prior to development, if the outdoor learning centre could make a delegation to the regional board. He said in letters supplied by the OLC he didn’t see any indication of public consultation.

Chief administrative officer Al Radke said regarding the first matter, the delegation, a motion could be made to that effect. As for the public engagement, there is no requirement in the regional district’s lease with the OLC to do so.

Electoral Area C director Clay Brander said he thinks the OLC is a fantastic facility.

The committee carried two motions. The first was to recommend regional board direct staff to provide a letter of support to School District 47 Powell River Outdoor Learning Centre regarding the waterfront enhancement project.

The second was that the committee recommend the board approve construction of a gazebo and amphitheatre at the centre.

Fall then proposed a motion to invite the OLC to make a delegation presentation to the board prior to development of the project.

Board chair Patrick Brabazon said it was a little confusing to him because the committee had just recommended the board to proceed with this, but director Fall wants the OLC representative to come in prior to development. Brabazon said he was seeking clarification.

Fall said the letter from the school district talks about providing support in principle so initial planning stages of this project can commence. He said the project can move forward with all required permitting processes. He said the letter states the school district is prepared and committed to establishing and maintaining open communication and dialogue with regional districtstaff and directors throughout the planning process. The letter further states this includes the sharing and presentation of final designs, approvals and permits prior to the development of the site, according to Fall.

“That’s basically where I derived my whole motion from,” said Fall.

City director George Doubt said it is important to think about what the words say in the resolution. He said it does say the recommendation is that the board provides a letter of support for the waterfront enhancement project, and that the second recommendation is that the board is approving construction of a gazebo and amphitheatre.

“If the intention is that they come back as a delegation and explain to us some of the details, that would be nice, but the construction and the approval are in place now that we’ve passed that motion,” said Doubt. “I don’t think anyone should think they are going to come back and make a delegation and we are going to revoke approval.”

City director CaroleAnn Leishman said the recommendation was for the regional board to make the approvals. She said she was hoping Fall’s motion would hopefully precipitate OLC representatives coming to the board meeting where the item is on the agenda for discussion, debate and approval.

Radke said the committee was dealing with two different business items. He said with the second item regarding the gazebo and amphitheatre, there is no problem doing that on the leased property they have now. He said if the board approves it, the OLC can move forward on it.

He said the first item, regarding expansion of the footprint for the waterfront enhancement project, is the one that is in principle. What Fall wanted in terms of the school district coming back and making a presentation is so the regional board has a better understanding of what the project looks like and entails, according to Radke.

Fall said he didn’t think directors needed to ask for anything regarding the gazebo and amphitheatre.

The committee carried Fall’s motion asking for a delegation regarding the OLC.

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