Council Matters for August 21, 2019

Council met for about six and a half hours in open meetings on August 21, 2019. Here are some highlights from that meeting:

Council received a presentation from Susan Beaubier from the Chemainus Health Care Auxiliary, highlighting the extensive contributions of this group to the community. Susan shared that this group of about 150 members collectively donates an average of 30,000 volunteer hours/year, primarily through operation of a thrift store in Chemainus, from which profits are donated back to the community! Major donations include: cutting edge x-ray equipment for Chemainus Health Care Centre, $0.5 M to the new Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, $300,000 to the new Cowichan Valley Hospice House, $9000 annually to Chemainus Secondary students, $10,000 annually to Cops for Cancer, and many others! Thank you Susan and the Chemainus Health Care Auxiliary for everything you do!

Council discussed the process and deliverables for hiring a consultant to lead community engagement to support development of an interim and long-term management plan for the Municipal Forest Reserve. With a few amendments, Council endorsed the draft request for proposals that was prepared by staff and UBC’s Dr. Stephen Sheppard. The RFP is expected to be posted in early September and to close in early October; it is hoped that a consultant will be selected and in place by late October and that engagement could commence later in Fall/Winter 2019/2020. More extensive details are contained in the staff report on pp. 33-42 of the agenda.  

As part of a follow-up to multiple previous discussions and presentations, Council reviewed a proposal from a number of UBC professors detailing the deliverables, timelines, and budget for this team of professors to support North Cowichan in developing interim (September 1, 2020) and long-term (January 1, 2022) forest management plans. Council endorsed moving forward with UBC on the terms of their proposal and waived North Cowichan’s procurement policy to enable this work to be sole-sourced to the UBC team. UBC’s work will begin this fall, in alignment with the community engagement process. To read UBC’s proposal, see pp. 46-52 of the agenda.

Council gave first and second reading to a zoning amendment bylaw for 4063 Cowichan Valley Highway, the Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit (VIMC). Council first received an overview presentation from Mark Holland, VIMC’s consulting planner, who provided background information on the site and details on VIMC’s proposal to expand its operations and rezone its properties to a single comprehensive development zone. Council also confirmed that the application should be referred to: the City of Duncan, the Cowichan Valley Regional District, Cowichan Tribes, the Sahtlam Neighbourhood Association, the Cowichan Watershed Society, and the Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society for comments. Finally, Council confirmed that a public hearing will be scheduled to hear from the public on this application. The public hearing is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, October 1 at 6:00pm at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre, but the official and confirmed details will be published in the local newspaper and North Cowichan’s website nearer to the date. More information about the application is available in the staff report on pp. 64-92 of the agenda, and individual application documents are posted here on North Cowichan’s website.

Council heard an update on the implementation of the Safer Community Plan, and we agreed to enter into a lease for a Community Safety Office at 490 Trans-Canada Highway. North Cowichan will be sharing the costs of the office 50/50 with the City of Duncan, and will be sharing costs for the funding of Community Safety Ambassadors as well. 

Three public hearings took place at 6:00 p.m., including two for Retail Cannabis Sales. Council passed third reading for both Rezoning Applications for Cannabis Retail Sales, one located at 110-2951 Green Road and the other at 2900 Drinkwater Road. These will be back before Council for final adoption at an upcoming Council Meeting. The third public hearing was to hear input about amending the zone at 3248 Gibbins Road from Rural Zone (A2) to Rural Restricted Zone (A3). Council gave third reading, and adopted, this Zoning Amendment Bylaw, permitting the construction of two detached dwellings on the property.

That’s it for this week! Thank you for reading and staying informed. Our next Council meeting is Wednesday, September 4 at 1:30 p.m.

Al Siebring, Mayor
Municipality of North Cowichan