Council Matters for March 6, 2019

Council met for about 4 hours in open meeting on March 6, 2019. Here is a recap of our meeting. We began with presentations from:

  • The Cowichan Green Community, reporting on the many programs and services that they offer in the community. Click here to read more about the amazing work of this non-profit organization.
  • Nick Versteeg, inviting Council and the community to a showing of his new film “A Just Society,” playing at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre on March 28 to raise awareness about the opioid crisis and substance abuse on the Island. Event details can be viewed here.

A major item on the agenda was presentation and adoption of Council’s 2019-2022 Strategic Plan! Council is very excited about this new document that articulates a shared vision and priorities for this term. Council’s six strategic priorities are illustrated below, and I encourage you to review the full plan yourself and tell us what you think.

Council had a lengthy discussion on the 2019-2023 Financial Plan and approved, in principle, a tax increase of 3.2% for 2019. Staff will now develop and come back to Council with a Financial Plan Bylaw and an accompanying Tax Rates Bylaw for Council to consider adopting. While Council has provided support "in principle," the budget and tax rates will not be set in stone until we adopt these two bylaws. You can read more on pp. 53-55 of the agenda.

Council endorsed the recommendations of the Forest Advisory Committee and Municipal Forester to harvest trees within the Municipal Forest Reserve that blew down or were heavily damaged during the December 2018 windstorm on Stoney Hill, Mount Tzouhalem and Maple Mountain. Blowdown assessments on Mount Richards, Mount Sicker, and Mount Prevost are delayed due to the recent snowfall and will continue as the snow melts. You can read about the background and salvage plan in detail here.

Council reviewed a staff report on micro cannabis production facilities and directed staff to bring forward a more detailed report along with a draft Zoning Bylaw Amendment to define micro cannabis production facilities and consider adding them as a permitted use in the C3 zone.

Council authorized expansion of the Cowichan Valley Regional District’s existing licence of occupation to expand the Stoney Hill Regional Park parking lot by up to 1.5 m in order to facilitate an increased depth of parking stalls to make Stoney Hill Road safer for patrons and motorists. This expansion will require removal of approximately 5 trees.

Council repealed the Select Committees Bylaw so that we can move forward with the establishment of a new Committee structure and develop Terms of Reference for our new Committees based on the newly-adopted Strategic Plan. Stay tuned for future updates about Committees.

And finally, Council passed a motion directing me, as Mayor, to send a letter to the Cowichan Valley Regional District, expressing concerns with a proposed rezoning application in Area D (Cowichan Bay) to allow marine manufacturing in the I3 zone, on the basis that marine manufacturing could have impacts on the Cowichan Estuary, which is partially contained within North Cowichan’s boundaries. The letter will request that an environmental impact assessment be conducted on this application and that the public hearing on the application be deferred until thatenvironmental assessment is conducted and its results are considered by the Cowichan Valley Regional District Board.

Thank you for reading and staying informed! Our next Council meeting is March 20, 2019.

Al Siebring, Mayor
Municipality of North Cowichan