Council Matters for February 17, 2016

A packed agenda resulted in a five-hour meeting for Council on February 17, 2016. The meeting began with a Public Hearing to receive input from the community regarding an application to rezone 6006 Lakes Road from R2 - Residential Restricted to R3 - Residential One and Two-family zone. After the Public Hearing was closed, Council supported the proposal and passed third reading for the Bylaw. Council will consider adoption of the Bylaw at a future meeting.

Bill Keserich appeared as a delegation on behalf of the Cowichan Soccer Association (CSA). Council received a verbal history of the long and successful relationship between North Cowichan and the CSA. The result has been continual improvements to the Sherman Road playing fields, including the recently installed artificial turf field, to which the CSA contributed $100,000 in 2015, and will contribute an additional $200,000 during 2016 and 2017. That set the stage for the establishment of use fees for the David William's Field at Sherman Road Park. These fees will be dedicated to a capital turf replacement fund.

Council supported a staff recommendation that we maintain municipal funding at $15,000 for the Chemainus BIA hanging flower basket program and have staff review the program with the BIA.  Council also indicated that next year they will consider making the contribution a line item within the Municipal budget, rather than a grant in aid.

The first staff report on the legislative implications of merging the Chemainus, Crofton, and South End water local area services was brought forward. There will be more analysis on the financial and engineering details of this potential amalgamation in the future.  After considering the report Council will then need to decide whether to proceed with the process to merge these systems.

The rezoning application for a new Cowichan District Hospital (CDH) has triggered the need for a Bell McKinnon Neighbourhood Plan to be completed over the next 5 months, in order that the impacts of such a development be fully understood before any approval of the rezoning for the CDH is considered by Council.

After four successful town hall meetings during the month of January which focused on the 2016 budget, staff prepared a detailed report on the public input received. Council will consider the input at the next Committee of the Whole budget meeting scheduled forFebruary 25, 2016 at 6pm, in Council Chambers at the Municipal Hall.

Finally, Council supported amending our UBCM/Federal Gas Tax Strategic Priorities Fund application to request a grant of $6 million, and authorized staff to make an application to request an additional $6 million grant under the second intake of the Build Canada Fund for relocation of the Joint Utilities Board outfall from the Cowichan River to Satellite Channel.

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