A waterfront boardwalk from Main to Delkatla? More rental suites, recreation trails, maybe some backyard bees?
Those are a few ideas in a draft of Masset’s 2040 community plan — the first such plan for the village in 24 years.
Shannon Gordon, a consultant with the Whistler Centre for Sustainability, says the whole process started because Masset’s mayor and council wanted a guide for village priorities.
“A lot of community plans get started because there is a whole lot of development pressure, land-use stuff,” Gordon said. “But really, council wanted clear, overarching direction that they could follow.”
With 793 residents last year, Masset’s population isn’t expected to change much in the next 20 years. The draft plan finds there is plenty of existing housing for the next five years — demand may actually decline in that time — and little new housing has been built since 1980.
Last year, median home prices in Masset was $184,000 for a house, $67,450 for an apartment.
The draft plan, based on public consultations and the work of a 12-member public advisory committee, recommends the village to encourage “infill” development on existing lots as well as more secondary and rental suites in existing single-family homes.
While it may not be a pressing issue, the draft recommends that council keep in mind the idea of a second-home tax — one for property owners who do not live in their Masset homes, or rent them to anyone long-term.
“Usually you put that kind of policy in place if affordability is a real challenge, or if you have a shortage of housing supply,” Gordon said, but added that the planning committee thought it would be a good idea to keep the possibility open.
Besides a long-term vision for a walkable row of mixed-use character homes and shops along the waterfront between Main Street and the end of Delkatla — something that was flagged in Masset’s previous community plan from 1993 — the draft also recommends the village improves access to the small public park in Masset Harbour on the spit of land just south of the seaplane terminal.
Regarding the environment, the draft plan recommends the village should avoid hardening along the shoreline to mitigate the effects of storm surges and other climate-change impacts along with restricting use of non-essential pesticides on public land, and managing impacts of the seaplane terminal on Delkatla Slough.
Until Sept. 12, the draft Masset 2040 plan is available for public review and comment on the village website or in paper form at the village office. Residents can give their feedback using an online questionnaire.
Shannon Gordon will also hold a set of open coffee chats about the draft at the village council chambers on Monday, Sept. 11 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. and 5:30 to 7 p.m., or on Tuesday, Sept. 12 from 9 to 10:30 a.m.
The draft will go to four provincial ministries and the Council of the Haida Nation for review before it is approved by Masset council, likely sometime in early November.