Council Matters - August 20, 2014

Council considered a full agenda with a crowded chamber at the August 20 Council meeting. There was significant public comment on the two main issues of moorage in Maple Bay and locating the new Chemainus skate park at the old Chemainus Elementary School site.

First, Council considered a report prepared by staff on the complexities of managing moorage in the Water Lot Private Residence (W1) Zone with overlapping local, provincial, and federal interests and jurisdiction. The issues are complex on how to deal with abandoned, derelict, and live-aboard vessels, as well as temporary and permanent moorage, all of which have the potential to impact the environment, other moored vessels, navigation channels, boat owners in general and waterfront property owners. The report recommended that Council:

1. Rescind the bylaw contravention notices issued on July 9, 2014, on the understanding that further enforcement action may be reviewed once more formal and updated regulations have been considered by Council;
2. Work closely with Transport Canada and the RCMP in order to take immediate action against any future derelict vessels and illegal mooring buoys within North Cowichans municipal boundaries;
3. Further investigate potential enhanced zoning regulations in order to provide enhanced municipal regulations related to moorage within municipal boundaries, which would include the following key issues:
    - live-aboards
    - derelict and abandoned vessels
    - registered Transport Canada mooring buoys
    - pollution / environmental considerations
    - noise
    - length of stay provisions
    - municipal licensing / permitting options;
4. Further investigate the possibility of entering into a Head Lease(s) with the Province of British Columbia in order to obtain additional regulatory control over key marine areas within North Cowichans municipal boundaries, including a review of administrative capacity and potential cost implications;
5. Consult with representatives from the boating community, the Maple Bay Community Association, and other interested stakeholders to solicit input and feedback on potential new regulatory measures.

Council supported these recommendations and the affected boat owners have had the bylaw contravention notices rescinded as a result. The various stakeholders will be invited to work with us to create a reasonable regulatory framework for these marine issues in North Cowichan.

The second major issue was the Chemainus skate park proposed for the old Elementary School site. Two delegations spoke to the value of the park to the community and the appropriateness of the preferred site. This was countered by other residents who feared the park would bring a fundamentally negative change to the neighbourhood. Council considered the input and then passed the unanimous recommendation of the Chemainus Advisory Committee that Council support the construction of a skate park at the old Chemainus Elementary School site.

Council then directed staff to proceed with issuance of a tender for the construction of a skate park facility at the old Elementary School site in accordance with the siting and final design plan prepared by Mark van der Zalm & Associates in collaboration with New Line Skate Parks. Staff and Council have carefully considered the concerns of some of the nearby neighbours and believe that the new skate park adjacent to the existing sport court and high school will be a very positive recreational facility for the community, and will not be an audible or visual disruption to the neighbourhood. Any issues that do come up will be dealt with as we do at all parks.

A third item of note was the advancement of the planned road through Stoney Hill. Staff reported on the results of the Environmental and Archaeological Studies and Council subsequently, and unanimously, passed the following:
1. That Council adopt "Local Area Service (Maple Bay Peninsula Road Extension), Bylaw", No. 3499.
2. That Council adopt "Maple Bay Peninsula Roads Loan Authorization, Bylaw", No. 3500.
3. That Council adopt "Forest Reserve Withdrawal (Maple Bay Peninsula Road), Bylaw", No. 3501.
4.  That Council read a first, second and third time "Temporary Borrowing Bylaw, 2014", No. 3549.

It is expected the adoption of these bylaws will allow the project to move ahead this fall.

As always, Council appreciates hearing from you as it deliberates difficult issues like those noted above. Email us at council@northcowichan.ca.