Council Matters for June 19, 2019

Council met for about two and a half hours in open meetings on June 19, 2019. Here are some highlights from that meeting:

Council received the 2018 Annual Report. Annual Reports are important: they outline key projects and initiatives delivered by North Cowichan, and they demonstrate financial accountability to citizens and taxpayers. The first part of the Report highlights key projects completed in our communities; the second part of the report provides an overview of North Cowichan’s financial performance for the fiscal year ending on December 31, 2018. I encourage you to browse the report here.

At the same time, Council received and approved the 2018 Statement of Financial Information, which is required by the Financial Information Act and discloses information about Council and employee remuneration and expenses, information on goods and services contracts, indemnity agreements, and severance agreements. This report is an important part of North Cowichan’s financial transparency.  

Council approved-in-principle a budget schedule for 2020-2024 and directed staff to prepare 2020 Operating Budgets that include: 2% wage increase, 2.5% increase for inflation, and any approved new service levels and priority projects.

Council gave second reading to a bylaw to amend 2900 Drinkwater Road to permit cannabis retail sales. This application has been the subject of much discussion already. At its last Council meeting, Council gave this application first reading, while at the same time rejecting a Zoning Bylaw Amendment for retail cannabis sales at 2951 Green Road and asking the applicant to resubmit an application with a revised storefront location within the same parcel.

Council adopted a speed limit change on Chemainus Road, reducing the speed from 50 km/h to 40 km/h on River Road from Chemainus Road to Askew Creek Drive.  Adoption of the bylaw change clears the way for the signs to go up as soon as Operations Staff can get to it. 

Council gave three readings to a bylaw to change the fees from $816 to $2,320 for driveway access culvert installations. This change is to reflect the actual cost of this installation that North Cowichan may provide to landowners, which includes labour, materials, and equipment.

Council authorized an encroachment agreement with the owners of 6472 Paddle Road to permit landscape irrigation within the road right-of-way. This is to allow landscape irrigation lines to remain in the road right-of way in front of this newly constructed apartment building.

Council discussed Councillor Douglas’ motion regarding regional management of forestry. Council passed the motion to ask the Province of BC to explore the feasibility of adopting a new model of forestry management that will empower local communities to engage in long term planning of the regional economies and ecosystems; creating a Forest Charter passed by the Legislature that includes an overall vision, sustainability principles, and standards for our forests; and appointing a Forester General to serve as a new independent officer who will report annually to the Legislature and work with the diverse regions of our Province on local land planning processes. The motion will be forwarded to the Union of BC Municipalities to be debated an upcoming conference.

Finally, Council held a public hearing for a number of housekeeping amendments to the Zoning Bylaw related to: 1) fractional parking, 2) temporary trailer language, and 3) heat pump/generator/air conditioner setbacks. These amendments are intended to keep the Zoning Bylaw up to date and accurate. After discussing the potential noise impact of heat pumps, Council gave third reading to the amendment bylaw for fractional parking and temporary trailers, but asked staff to review other jurisdictions’ setbacks for heat pump setbacks and bring this item forward again in the future.

That’s it for this week! Thank you for reading and staying informed. Council next meets on Monday, July 8 for a Committee of the Whole (12:30 p.m.) and a Special Council Meeting (5:30 p.m.), and our next Regular Council meeting is Wednesday, July 17 at 1:30 p.m.

Al Siebring, Mayor
Municipality of North Cowichan