Council Matters - September 16, 2015

On Wednesday, September 16, North Cowichan Council held a Regular Council Meeting from 1:30pm to 4:30pm. Some highlights of the meeting included:

 adoption of a Bylaw to rezone the old Maple Bay Elementary school to permit a mix of uses;
 adoption of Temporary Borrowing Bylaw 3573 for replacement of the watermain on Henry Road and flood protection work in the South End of North Cowichan near the University Village area; and
direction to staff to complete a traffic study on the section of Drinkwater Roadbetween Cowichan Valley Highway and Somenos Road,and examine the potential to realign North Road.

Council also asked staff to report back on the replacement of aging water infrastructure and, in the longer term, do an initial assessment of amalgamating our three separate water systemsSouth End, Crofton, and Chemainusinto one system.  The preliminary report on the possible amalgamation of the water systems will help Council determine the best plan moving forward to ensure we maintain a strong water treatment and distribution system in North Cowichan, and may even lead to a review of an amalgamation of our sewer system.

Council received a presentation from the Director of Financial Services on the outlook for the 2016 Budget and the schedule of meetings to finalize the 2016 - 2020 Financial Plan in early January. It became quite clear that there will be some significant budget pressures this coming year, including transfers to capital replacement reserves, and debt payments for the new RCMP Detachment and the final phase of flood protection works. Other challenges include the need for new equipment for our Fire Department, a Safety Officer, and Inventory and Asset Valuation for a potential Corporate Sponsorship Program. Council reviewed the information and accepted the budget meeting schedule, with the addition of a Town Hall Meeting to engage the public.

Finally there was a discussion of what the Municipality could do to aid Syrian refugees. It was determined that, although there is no option for a local government to sponsor refugees, support for community groups that sponsor refugees is possible.