Council Matters for December 18, 2019

Council met for about 3 hours in open meetings on December 18, 2019. Here are some highlights from our Regular Council Meeting.

First, Council adopted Bylaw 3768 which repealed a total of 52 irrelevant, outdated, or obsolete bylaws. Council gave first, second, and third reading to this bylaw at the December 4 regular Council meeting. These bylaws were uncovered through a review process that was initiated upon establishing the Regulatory Review Committee in late 2018.

Next, we reviewed a report from staff recommending that proposed amendments to the Firearms Discharge Bylaw (Bylaw 3077, 2000) be deferred until January 2021. With competing priorities and the impending large-scale public engagement on best uses of the Municipal Forest Reserve, Council voted in favour of deferring public engagement on the Firearms Discharge Bylaw. You can find background information on this topic on pages 40-51 of the agenda.

Council then considered a staff report on introducing a regular system of fire and life safety inspections of hotels and public buildings to follow the Fire Services Act. The 2018 Fire Services Review recommended implementation of the Fire Inspection Policy in 2020 and hiring a full-time Assistant Fire Chief, who would primarily be responsible for these inspections. At current staffing levels, the Municipality is unable to perform all necessary inspections. Council decided to implement the Fire Inspection Policy, butafter some discussion, decided to defer making a decision on increasing staff, and requested a report on cost recovery, analysis, and other potential alternatives to hiring a new position.  You can view the full report on pages 52-27 of the agenda.

Next, Council received three reports for their information:

  • a report on Council’s Strategic Plan, which included a progress update. This report detailed progress on completed, ongoing, delayed, on-track, and upcoming priorities identified in Council’s Strategic Plan. It also identified emerging tasks that have been, or will be, addressed that were additional to the Strategic Plan;
  • a report on the newly finalized Operational Strategic Plan, showing how staff intend to align their work and values with Council’s Strategic Priorities; and,
  • a report summarizing public feedback on Council’s Strategic Priorities. Engagement was conducted through an exercise during the “Let’s Talk 2020” Budget Open Houses in Chemainus, Crofton, and the South End in October, as well as an online survey.

These three reports can be found on pages 58-99 in the agenda.

Lastly, Council decided to renew Fire Protection Service Agreements for local First Nations. North Cowichan has been providing fire protection services to Cowichan Tribes, Halalt First Nation, Penelakut First Nation, and Sz’uminus First Nation since 1997; with the most recent Fire Protection Service Agreement being in effect from April 2014-2019. The new agreement is essentially the same as the previous one, with one small amendment that allows for a simpler calculation of the adjustments in annual fees.

Since this is the last Council update for 2019, I also want to take this opportunity, on behalf of Council, to wish you all a peaceful and joyous Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

Thank you for reading and staying informed! Our next Regular Council Meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, January 15 at 1:30 p.m.

Al Siebring, Mayor
Municipality of North Cowichan