Council Matters for February 7, 2018

Council met for just over four hours on February 7 to discuss a number of current issues. 

The meeting began with two delegations from the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD). The first focused on the proposed regional Watershed Service Establishment Bylaw. With the region growing quickly and facing complex water issues coupled with climate change, a fragmented approach is no longer working, and the Board has determined that they need to look at managing our watershed on a regional level. We anticipate that a referendum question will be on the October 2018 municipal election ballot that asks citizens about this proposed tax, which would be on average approximately $15 per $100,000 of a propertys assessed value. You can find more information, and engage and provide feedback on this topic here: PlaceSpeak and CVRD website

The second delegation provided an update on the Regional Planning Initiative; Cowichan 2050, a regional process to support more collaborative regional planning. As we know, climate change is impacting our water supply, in addition to our climate and sea levels, and our population is expected to grow 25% by the year 2050. This project will help us prepare and find new ways of working together, allowing us to plan for the best possible future for the Cowichan region. 

Next on the agenda was a Public Hearing for a Zoning Amendment Bylaw at 5881 Genoa Bay Road (Birds Eye Cove Farm). It was a site-specific amendment to the Agriculture (A1) zone to increase the number of permitted events per year from 10 to 30. In December 2016, the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) released a decision on non-farm use on the property, with a maximum number of events per year of 30. Council doesnt have the authority to increase the number of events as decided by the ALC, but could decide on a different number of events (between 10 and 30). After hearing from members of the public, and much discussion, Council supported the application to increase the number of events per year to 30. 

Council adopted the 2018 2022 Five-Year Financial Plan Bylaw, which was before us a bit earlier in the year than usual. A new financial plan is adopted every year by Council, and we made the decision this year to approve the plan in February, as opposed to later in the spring, so some capital works projects can get started earlier in the year.

Council agreed to provide a letter of support to the Chemainus Festival of Murals Society for their Community Gaming grant application. We also had a request from BC Summer Games to consider allowing athletes and coaches to access the Cowichan Aquatic Centre, free of charge on July 22, 2018. Council agreed to support this request, noting the importance of supporting the Games and the legacy it will leave for Cowichan.

To end the meeting, Council directed staff to do a feasibility study that outlines possible delivery models and options for a bike share program in North Cowichans south-end commercial core and City of Duncan. The idea was brought forward by Queen Margarets students to our Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee, and Council decided that the feasibility study will first go to North Cowichans Environmental Advisory Committee, before coming back to Council for consideration. 

Thank you for reading Council Matters. You are welcome to provide feedback on these or other Council matters by emailing: council@northcowichan.ca. Our next regular Council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, February 21, 2018 at 1:30 p.m.