Council Matters - November 20, 2013

On November 20, Council had another marathon meeting that started at 3:00 p.m. and ended after 9:00 p.m. The main topic of discussion was the land use proposal to preserve 80% and develop 20% of the Echo Heights property in Chemainus. 

At its October 16, 2013, meeting, Council requested three committees the Climate Change Action Committee, the Chemainus Advisory Committee and the Community Planning Advisory Committee - to make recommendations on the plan. During the November 20 meeting, staff presented a report highlighting the recommendations from these committees and recommended the 80/20 plan move ahead, incorporating elements suggested by those committees. After a lengthy discussion, Council approved the preparation of a bylaw for consideration that would rezone 20% of Echo Heights - primarily comprised of previously disturbed land - to allow for small lots, carriage houses, suites, and town homes, including the potential for co-housing on a portion of the site, while protecting the remaining 80% of the Echo Heights forest as a public conservation area.

Council also asked staff to report back on:
1. state of the art land development, planning and engineering best practices which could be incorporated into the 20% development area; and
2. a revenue-sharing plan to direct a portion of profits from the development to fund a conservation/stewardship plan for the 80% protected area.

Finally, in the event the new proposed bylaw for 80% preservation and 20% development receives first and second reading, Council directed that arrangements would be made for a public open house to be held in Chemainus prior to any Public Hearings on the proposed bylaw.

The November 20 Council decision is leading our community to the resolution of one of the most controversial issues of the last 15 to 20 years. Council appreciates and is listening to your input on this issue. Please stay engaged, and feel free to let us know your thoughts as the Echo Heights proposed plan evolves and Council deliberates on the proposed bylaw over the coming months.