Council Matters for January 17, 2018

Council met for just over three hours on January 17 for its first regular Council Meeting of the New Year. 

The meeting kicked off with presentations from two delegations. First we welcomed the Cowichan regions new Medical Health Officer, Dr. Shannon Waters. Dr. Waters provided an update on the Cowichan Local Health Area Profile, and suggested that we can work together to effect change in some of our regions health issues. We learned that there is a high return on investment on dollars invested in the health outcomes of children, and that the number one chronic health issue right now in both the Cowichan Valley and British Columbia is mental health.

Next we heard from some of the driving forces behind the 2018 BC Summer Games, to be held in Cowichan July 19-22, 2018. Jen Woike, Mona Kaiser, and John Elzinga shared that there is an expected 6,000 spectators, 3,700 participants at 27 venues, and a need for a 3,000 volunteers to make it all happen. Their volunteer drive kicks off this weekend at the Hometown Hockey event (taking place in the Cowichan Aquatic Centre parking lot), and you can also sign up to volunteer online:

In preparation for cannabis legalization, Council passed first and second reading of a new zoning bylaw amendment that, if adopted, will require proposed retail cannabis businesses to apply for a site-specific zoning amendment. This has been brought forward to ensure that Council can consider, and the community can provide input on, the appropriateness of cannabis retail locations. The next step in this process is a Public Hearing, which will be held at an upcoming Council Meeting (date still to be determined).

Council had a discussion about carbon offsets and whether or not the municipality should spend $25,000 on carbon credits to offset greenhouse gas emissions. Council made the decision to not purchase carbon offsets for 2017 and 2018, and instead direct money towards other projects in the Corporate Energy Program and Climate Action and Energy Plan to advance our ongoing work to reduce carbon emissions. 

Staff reported on the results of a survey sent to the Crofton community to evaluate their level of satisfaction about the recently completed Crofton revitalization projects. As part of this survey, 700 households and businesses in in Crofton were invited to participate, and we heard back from 184 people. Overall, 86% of respondents said that the projects met or exceeded their expectations. The full report on these results can be found in the meeting agenda package, starting on page 102: Crofton Survey Results.

The meeting ended with an update on the status of odour issues related to Coast Environmentals operations in Chemainus. It remains that the municipality is limited in actions that we can take regarding odour concerns, because our authority is limited to our Zoning and Business Licence Bylaws, and Coast Environmentals use is compliant with our zoning. In the end, Council agreed to send a letter to the Minister of Environment specifically asking that odour regulation be addressed in the OMRR permitting requirements. The municipality continues to work with all jurisdictions involved towards a solution on this matter.

Thank you for reading Council Matters. Meetings are open to the public and you are welcome to attend. Can't attend in person? Visit our website at to watch live. The next meeting is Wednesday, February 7 at 1:30 p.m.