Council Matters for July 18, 2018

Council faced a long agenda on July 18, meeting for 9 hours to discuss a number of topics. 

The meeting kicked off with 3 delegations, and we began by recognizing a CHAMP from Chemainus. Eight year-old Darevin Curnow is an incredible young man who spends his free time volunteering with the War Amps Child Amputee Program spreading important messages in the community, and across the country, about playing safe! Next we presented awards to North Cowichan elementary school students, who were the winners of our annual Friends of the Environment Contest.  Inspector Chris Bear provided the third and final delegation, giving Council a thorough overview of the RCMP detachments 1st and 2nd quarter activities. 

Next on the agenda was a Public Hearing for a Zoning Amendment Bylaw regarding retail cannabis sales in the municipality. This bylaw would require property owners to apply for a zoning amendment that would permit the sale of cannabis on their property, giving Council and the community the opportunity to provide input regarding the location of future retail cannabis stores. We heard from many members of the public who voiced their opinions on this matter. Council supported third reading of the bylaw and it will be back before Council to consider its adoption on August 15.

A Public Meeting was held for a Development Variance Permit for 6912 Flett Road for a reduction in the side yard setback for a poultry barn from 46 metres to 25 metres. After hearing from some members of the public and much discussion, the majority of Council voted to issue the permit.

Council considered a number of bylaws during this meeting, the first of which was the first 3 readings for the Bell McKinnon Local Area Plan Bylaw. This Local Area Plan was developed over the last seven months with extensive community and stakeholder input. Council passed the three readings with amendments to include an additional 1.51 ha of land in the core village area, and a policy to identify and acquire buffer areas to improve connectivity of wildlife habitat corridors. The bylaw will be back before Council for adoption at the August 15 Council Meeting.

Council gave first and second reading to an application to rezone 6495 Paddle Road to allow the future development of two 3-storey apartment buildings. Adoption of this bylaw will be withheld subject to the applicant agreeing to provide road dedication and offsite frontage improvements on Paddle Road that would enhance pedestrian safety. 

An application was before Council to rezone 2282 Moose Road that would facilitate the future subdivision of the property. After a lot of discussion and debate about the future of this neighbourhood, Council defeated first and second reading of the bylaw and so the application will not move forward. 

Council read for the first time a zoning amendment bylaw for Osborne Bay Road that would rezone the subject properties from a rural zone to a comprehensive development zone for a proposed commons development (a planned neighbourhood). Council passed first reading, and it will be back before Council for second reading on August 15.

Staff brought forward an update and report on Quamichan Lakes water quality. The health of Quamichan Lake has been a focus for Council since a toxic blue-green algae bloom in the summer of 2016, and researching solutions to the lakes health has involved multiple jurisdictions and multiple approaches and will require more time and more funding. Council agreed to direct staff to bring forward a proposal for building a reserve fund into the next budgeting cycle that would be used to help deal with water quality improvements on the lake. Council also decided to write a letter to the Province and Island Health requesting that they develop a program to monitor cyanobacteria and toxins in Quamichan Lake. 

Since adoption of the Parks and Trails Master Plan last year, staff have taken a more active management role with recreation in the Municipal Forest Reserve (MFR), including the planning, development and management of trails. Council agreed to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Cowichan Trail Stewardship Society (CTSS), one of our key community partners. This will provide greater structure for managing hiking and biking within the MFR, and also helps to align CTSSs goals with the implementation of Parks and Trails Master Plan.

Council agreed to approving a 25 Year Licence of Occupation with the Island Corridor Foundation for the purpose of constructing, operating, and maintaining a regional park trail, managed by the Cowichan Valley Regional District, within the E&N corridor. 

Council then resolved into a closed meeting.

Thank you for reading and staying informed! The next Regular Council Meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, August 15 at 1:30 p.m. You can find links to the official minutes from all past meetings on our website, located here: www.northcowichan.ca/custom/council-meetings.aspx