Council Matters - April 15, 2015

On April 15, the Council Chambers was filled by citizens interested in knowing the future of the synthetic turf proposed for the Sherman Road soccer field. Council had delayed a decision pending a report from Island Health regarding possible health concerns from the crumb rubber material used in the turf. The report concluded that "given the current available evidence, the existing information does not suggest that synthetic turf fields have a substantive independent effect on human health". Council agreed to proceed to tender with the additional option of a 'cork' field to be included in the tender documents.

Mr. Geoff Strong headed a delegation seeking a declaration regarding the right to live in a healthy environment. He introduced eight year old Aiden Wetzel-Eden who made a very impressive speech, backed by a PowerPoint, in support of the declaration. Council has a policy of not making proclamations, and so the matter was referred to staff for consideration of how we could express support within our policy guidelines.

The vote to advance the Tax Rates Bylaw failed as Council was unable to agree on the distribution of taxes to the nine property classes.  Some Councillors prefer allocating the 3.22% property tax increase equally to the nine classes while others would prefer to reduce the Residential Class to 2.98% (saving the average home $3.33 per year) and to increase the other classes, including the Business Class paying 3.70%. As Council was unable to advance the Tax Rate Bylaw at this time, the 2015 2019 Financial Plan Bylaw will not be considered until Council resolves it tax distribution issue. It was decided to defer further discussions until all seven members of Council are present. Council has a legislated deadline of May 15, 2015, to pass both the Tax Rates Bylaw and 2015 2019 Financial Plan Bylaw. It is expected that Council will hold a Special meeting prior to May 6 to ensure adoption of the bylaws prior to the deadline. Be sure tocheck our websitefor the date and time of this meeting.

Council agreed to facilitate the provision of hydro service to Stoney Hill residents along the Stoney Hill Road network by allowing BC Hydro to survey and register rights-of-way, and to do some tree trimming and removal.

Following a recommendation by the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee, Council directed staff to work with the Cowichan Land Trust, Penelakut First Nation, and the Chemainus Residents' Association to develop a stewardship plan for the Echo Heights municipal park.

Thank you for reading Council Matters. Council appreciates your feedback. Write to us at to to let know what you think about these or any other matters.