Council Matters for January 16, 2019

Council met for three hours on January 16, 2019. Here are some highlights from that meeting.

Our meeting began by celebrating the announcement that Rowing Canada Aviron will be making North Cowichan its new home beginning in 2021. With its focus on health, sport, and excellence, Rowing Canada is exactly the partner that we want in our community. We envision many opportunities for collaboration and learning together. We believe that Canada’s top rowers will be inspiring role-models for young people in our community. Please learn more at

We also celebrated our Financial Services Division, which has received for the eighth year in a row, the Canadian Award for Financial Reporting. This award recognizes excellence in governmental accounting and financial reporting. You can read more here.

Council then received presentations from:

  • Amy Melmock, Manager of Economic Development Cowichan, who provided an overview of the economy and employment in the Cowichan Valley and highlighted what her agency is doing to improve the lives of Cowichan residents by creating better paying jobs.
  • The Clements Centre Society, about their vision to develop a Child Development Centre to provide resources and services to children and their families. They have purchased a building, and would like North Cowichan to be involved in and support this project (no specific request was made at this meeting).

Council moved on to consider reports and approved the relocation of the Spirit of the Earth Statue in Chemainus from the corner of Willow Street and Chemainus Road to Heritage Park. For more information, see pp. 26-28 of the agenda.

Of interest to many residents, Council considered a policy to guide consideration of retail cannabis zoning applications. The policy suggests that retail cannabis is most appropriate on properties that are:

  • On major roads
  • In already commercial lands
  • 600m from schools, playgrounds, rec centres
  • 300m from another retail cannabis use

The policy also confirms that North Cowichan will only consider cannabis land-use applications where an application has been submitted to the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch, and that applicants be required to hold a neighbourhood information meeting as part of the land-use application process. Council considered three options for regulating cannabis: 1) adopt the draft policy and process applications in compliance with the cannabis retail sales policy, 2) adopt the policy and undertake a call for applications that would be evaluated at the same time, and 3) reject the policy and process applications without an established policy.

After much discussion, Council decided to adopt the Retail Cannabis Sales Policy and direct staff to present rezoning applications in queue. For reference, six rezoning applications for retail cannabis have been received to date. The policy and details about retail cannabis can be found on pp. 29-40 of the agenda.

Council also initiated the process to update the definitions in the Zoning Bylaw to reflect updated Federal and Provincial cannabis production licensing regulations and asked staff to report back on options for Micro Cannabis Production Facilities and cannabis production facilities in the Agricultural Land Reserve. Those reports will be presented at a future Council meeting.

Council decided to support two applications to the Agricultural Land Commission to accommodate two residential dwellings to build accommodations for farm labour (6645-6647 Somenos Road and 3324 Gibbins Road).

As Council has not yet adopted a budget for 2019, it granted pre-budget approval for two upcoming projects: a 2019 Citizen Satisfaction Survey ($15,000) and employee training on public participation (up to $12,000). A report with more details on these projects is available on pp. 91-93 of the agenda.

Council discussed again the scheduling of Public Hearings and decided on a time in the evening to make them more accessible for people that work during the day. Going forward, public hearings will be scheduled on the third Wednesday of each month at 6:00 p.m. Please note, the previously scheduled public hearings for Bylaws 3725 and 3737 will remain as scheduled on Thursday, January 31 at 6:00 p.m.

Thank you for reading and staying informed! Our next regular Council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, February 6 at 1:30 p.m.

Al Siebring, Mayor
Municipality of North Cowichan