Council Matters - November 7, 2013

On November 6, Council dealt with a very full agenda. During its Committee of the Whole portion, Council discussed the next steps in providing a public road to Stoney Hill. Consistent with the recommendations from the Stoney Hill Task Force, Council approved, in principle, the petitioners' route for a new road through Maple Bay peninsula, direct staff to work with petitioners to undertake a new local area service petition based on a 6 metre wide main road, and authorize the Mayor and Corporate Officer to sign the petition on behalf of North Cowichan's 6 lots."
Since October 2, Cowichan Tribes and North Cowichan Councils have met twice to explore First Nations concerns. North Cowichan Council subsequently passed the following resolution at its November 6, regular meeting: that staff . . . work with Cowichan Tribes and Birds Eye Cove Farm to prepare terms of reference for, solicit bids and undertake, an archaeological impact assessment and environmental study of the proposed roads on the Maple Bay Peninsula."
Council has postponed consideration of the three enabling bylaws until the  tasks outlined above have been completed.
Earlier in the meeting, Council received a delegation from the Quamichan Watershed Stewardship Society. The delegation explained the work that has been done to reverse the decline in the health of Quamichan Lake. They have established a Quamichan Watershed Management Plan, worked on wetland restoration, education around septic systems, raising money for projects, a public access strategy and established a very successful spring fishing derby.
The Stewardship Society requested that North Cowichan consider partnering in its Quamichan Lake Trout Refuge Project. The plan is to introduce oxygen and cooling, through fine bubble aeration, into a portion of the lake at a time when the fish are most vulnerable to dying from warm temperatures and low oxygen levels. The fish have the ability to remove excess phosphorous, a nutrient that feeds algae blooms that, in turn, consume oxygen when they die in late summer. A thriving fishery will support a healthy, 'blue' lake. Council was very interested in the project and requested that staff report back on the feasibility of supporting what appears to be a very worthwhile endeavour.
Council also supported a recommendation arising out of the Economic Development Advisory Committee to prepare a community profile, which is considered a key component in developing an effective business attraction strategy. By understanding our strengths and assets better, we will be in a better position to support, enhance and expand our local economy. Council has directed staff to apply for a grant from the Island Coastal Economic Trust to accomplish this project.
And finally, Council discussed changing its regular meeting time and directed staff to bring forward a bylaw to amend to 1:30 p.m. With the addition of the Council Live feature on the website, more people seem to prefer to keep up-to-date by watching the live video feed than attending in person during the dinner hour. And if youve missed the meeting and youre interested in watching the debate, dont forget that meeting video is also archived on our website the following day.