Council Matters - June 18, 2014

At its June 18 meeting, Council held a lengthy Public Hearing to consider a proposal to rezone a lot on Highland Avenue from R3 (Residential One and Two Family) to R7-A (Residential Ground-Oriented Multi-Family) to facilitate a townhouse development. After the Manager of Planning & Sustainability outlined the proposal, a number of nearby residents expressed their concerns about the possible impacts of increased traffic, loss of nature, and increased storm water flows from the privately held site. Council had to balance those concerns with the following: 1) The proposed layout complies with the Riparian Area Regulations and the Streamside Protection and Enhancement Area requirements; 2) The land lies within the Urban Containment Boundary (UCB) and is therefore suitable for greater density according to the Official Community Plan; 3) The developer will be required to produce a storm water management plan that ensures post-development discharges are no more than pre-development; and 4)The developer could proceed under the current R3 zoning to build a project on the proposed development footprint. In the end, Council felt that the access roads are designed to accommodate the traffic concerns, the loss of natural habitat was a trade-off for confining growth within the UCB, and that the engineering department would not allow the project to proceed without proper management of storm water. Third reading of the bylaw was subsequently passed.

On a lighter note, as part of the Value-added Woodworking Contest sponsored by the North Cowichan Forestry Department, three local students received prizes for the wooden planters they built using local lumber supplied from the Municipal Forest Reserve.

Mr. David Slade addressed Council as a delegate of the Cowichan Watershed Board. He invited our community to participate in a regional water conservation challenge to encourage our residents to conserve water recognizing our daily usage in significantly higher than other areas. There will be more to come on this initiative to learn to preserve this important resource for future generations.

Due to time constraints, Council decided to postpone its discussion on the University Village Sustainable Local Area Plan to a future Committee of the Whole meeting.

If you have any questions on the preceding items, or if youd like to pass on your comments on any other matters, please contact us at Council appreciates receiving your input.