Council Matters - December 17, 2014

The last Council meeting of 2014 began with the Oaths of Office of the Chiefs and Deputy Chiefs of the four halls of North Cowichan's Fire Department:  Chemainus, Crofton, Maple Bay and South End. These firefighters have stepped forward to positions of responsibility at their respective halls. Beyond managing fire and accident scenes, they deal with training, bookkeeping, human resources, facility maintenance, new equipment and a host of other matters. Council expressed its respect and appreciation for their commitment to our communities.

Council then received Cowichan Tribes as a delegation. Led by Chief Seymour (Squtxulenuhw), he and Cowichan Elder, Arvid Charley (Luschiim), spoke to the importance of traditional food gathering along the shoreline of Stoney Hill and how that could be negatively impacted by the proposed rezoning that would allow individual private docks. They expressed that after meetings between Cowichan Tribes and North Cowichan, they had reached a level of non-opposition to the road to Stoney Hill, as long as the docks were not allowed where properties were serviced by the new road.

Shortly thereafter, staff presented an update on Stoney Hill Road. Staff advised that BC Hydro has raised concerns regarding crossings of hydro distribution lines along the planned road alignment. Once these concerns have been addressed, it is hoped the Municipality can obtain the necessary approvals from Hydro, and proceed to award the contract to construct the road. In light of this new information, staff requested, and received, an extension to the January 31 tender price cited by Dawson Contracting in their bid to construct the road.  Council considered and passed a staff recommendation to postpone the award of tender to Dawson Contracting until its January 21, 2015, Regular Council meeting.

Council also received a delegation from the Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society. The Society was given permission to begin testing on storm water entering Somenos Marsh from the greater Duncan drainage area. Their hope is to move from testing to the construction of a storm water wetland treatment pond on North Cowichan land adjacent to Beverly Street.

And finally, Council agreed to enter into agreements with Electoral Area F (Cowichan Lake South/Skutz Falls) and Electoral Area I (Youbou/Meade Creek) which eliminate two-tier fees for their residents at the Cowichan Aquatic Centre. We are happy that with the removal of the two-tier rates in these areas, everyone can now enjoy the excellent water activities and dry-land health and fitness programs offered at this award-winning facility at the same rates.

On behalf of Council, I extend season's greetings, and hope that you enjoy a safe and enjoyable holiday season!