Council Matters for December 5, 2018

Council met for about four hours on December 5, 2018. Here are some highlights from the meeting.

We began with a Mayors report to summarize some of the work that is underway outside of Council meetings:

  • Ive been getting oriented as a member of the South Island Economic Trust Board.
  • North Cowichans two affordable housing projects werent included on the Provinces recent list of funded projects. However, we have since clarified that our grant application has not been rejected, but the Province has questions about design. Work is underway to address Provincial concerns and confirm funding. 
  • Discussions are ongoing with the Cowichan Valley School District about planning for a new high school. Joint North Cowichan Council and School District Board meetings are proposed in the future.
  • Island Health has confirmed that it will extend its lease on the Duncan overdose prevention site for another year.
  • BC Ferries will be commencing consultation on a terminal development plan in 2019 for the Crofton Ferry Terminal, with upgrades planned for 2022. I am working to arrange a meeting with BC Ferries and other stakeholders.

Council then held a public meeting on a proposed temporary womens winter response shelter proposed to be located on Cowichan Valley School District property at 2003 University Way. The application sought permission to operate a shelter from November 1 to March 31 each year, from 5pm 9am daily. Council received 34 pieces of written correspondence in support of the temporary use permit and 46 opposed. Many people spoke passionately about this application, and in the end, Council unanimously decided to issue the permit. Additional information is available in the news release. (Council was extremely pleased to hear from a group of grade 6/7 students from Drinkwater Elementary School that have undertaken a class project on this topic and attended the meeting to share their views.)

Council received a presentation from the Chesterfield Sports Society about the Cowichan Sportsplex. The new Community, Cultural and Recreation Program was announced this fall by the Federal and Provincial governments and provides $134 million for infrastructure projects around the Province. The Society wishes to apply to this grant program for up to 73.33% of the cost to build a new field house for washrooms, office space, change rooms, showers, and a meeting room. Because North Cowichan owns the land on which the Sportsplex is located, the Society requested that North Cowichan submit a grant application for this project. Council directed staff to prepare a report on this request and bring it back to the next meeting. 

The Chief Administrative Officer provided a verbal update on the Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit rezoning application. The CAO explained that phase one of the facility opened in 2016 and the owner has been pursuing phase two expansion for about a year. During this time, discussions have been largely focused on noise studies and mitigation and North Cowichan has retained a third-party acoustical expert to provide advice. The owner submitted revisions to the phase two expansion proposal in October 2018. The owner has also been carrying out public information activities and a report on what they heard and any revisions in response is required and will be considered as part of the application. This fall, the owner also submitted a Development Permit application, which staff view as premature at this time. Staff have confirmed that the Development Permit application will not be processed until a decision has been made on the rezoning application. At this point, staff are waiting to receive a report from our third-party acoustical consultant, at which point we expect to be able to move forward on the application review. 

Council then considered two development applications and gave first and second reading to an application to allow a second, detached residential building on 3042 Henry Road, and also gave second reading to an application to rezone 9833 Willow Street to facilitate a 7-unit multi-family building. As a next step, both applications will proceed to public hearings. 

Finally, Council discussed and approved its meeting schedule for 2019. Of note, Council decided to move the time for public hearings to the evening starting in 2019 in an effort to make public hearings more accessible for people that work during the day. 

Thank you for reading and staying informed! Our next regular Council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, December 19 at 1:30 p.m.