Council Matters - August 16, 2017

Council faced another long agenda at its August 16, 2017 meeting, with the meeting coming to a close at 8:40 p.m. 

The meeting began with a presentation from CVRDs Manager of Environmental Services. The CVRD has launched New Normal Cowichan, a multi-phased project aimed at taking action on climate adaptation. The final report on Phase 1 of the project was presented, Climate Projections for the Cowichan Valley Regional District. It gave us a very interesting look at how climate change will affect the Cowichan Valley; wetter winters, hotter, drier summers, and an increase in extreme weather events are projected for the 2050s and 2080s. 

Council gave first and second reading to a Zoning Amendment Bylaw for the redevelopment of the Old Chemainus Elementary School site. We received input from the Chemainus community earlier this year, and it was recommended by the Chemainus Advisory Committee that the rezoning of this property include greenspace for a fenced food forest, fenced dog park, and a family use area. In addition, there are proposed single family lots, as well as a lot for multi-family affordable townhouses. The next step is a public hearing where we will hear additional input from the public.

Council adopted a Zoning Amendment Bylaw for the construction of two townhouse buildings on Dingwall Street. We are seeing more applications for higher density housing in North Cowichan, which we see as a positive step to address the current lack of available housing in the Cowichan region. 

Staff presented an initial outlook for the 2018 2022 Financial Plan and 2018 Budget. Residents can look forward to community consultation and town hall meetings during the budget process and those will take place at the end of October.

Council heard a report from the Planning and Sustainability division that the department has been processing well over 500 enquiries per month over the last several months. The department has also been tasked with leading a number of significant, long-term projects, and we heard that it will not be feasible to complete all these projects before the next Municipal election. After lengthy discussion, Council confirmed that staff should continue to prioritize customer service and development applications. In addition, Council prioritized the following strategic initiatives: review of Official Community Plan policies, review of the Urban Containment Boundary in the Gibbins Road area, the Bell McKinnon Local Area Plan, affordable housing and secondary suites zoning changes, and redevelopment of the Chemainus elementary school property. Council will also consider whether to include an additional Community Planner in the budget for 2018.

Staff provided Council with an update on the road and water main construction taking place on Beverly Street. The report confirms that comprehensive measures have taken place to protect the environment and Somenos Marsh during this construction. 

Thank you for reading Council Matters. You are welcome to provide feedback on these or other Council matters by emailing: Our next regular Council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, September 6, 2017.