Council Matters for November 20, 2019

Council met for about three hours in open meetings on November 20, 2019. Here are some highlights from those meetings.

The meeting began with a delegation from Chris Duncan, President of the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce. Council hears from the Chamber every year around this time, with highlights of their annual operations. We learned that between community events and the Visitor Centre, they have served almost 30,000 visitors this year, which is triple the number that they used to see at their old location on Coronation Street, and down a bit from their record year of 38,000 in 2018. The Visitor Centre relies heavily on funding in the form of grants-in-aid from both North Cowichan, and the City of Duncan, and they expressed an eagerness to discuss a more stable funding partnership with their municipal partners going forward.

The next item on the agenda was discussion of the Proposed 2020 Council Meeting Schedule. Due to a few scheduling conflicts with conferences next year, we altered the regular schedule slightly, and will have 2 meetings in January (typically there is only 1 meeting), 1 meeting in February, and changed the first June meeting from June 3 to Tuesday, June 2. All 2020 Council Meetings will soon be posted on “Events & Meetings” section of the municipal website.

With a brief agenda, the Regular Council meeting closed just after 2:00 p.m., and reconvened at 6:00 p.m. to hold four public hearings.

First we looked at the Rezoning Application for Bylaw 3758 (Keeping of Farm Animals and Poultry). This was a housekeeping bylaw borne out of changing our Animal Control Bylaw to the Animal Responsibility Bylaw earlier this year, which left us without any regulation for the keeping of poultry, rabbits, and farm animals. After hearing from members of the public, Council gave the bylaw third reading. Regulations mainly remain the same, but we added definitions for ‘poultry’ and ‘farm animals.’ This means no poultry can be kept on lots smaller than .41 acres, which is consistent with the previous bylaw. Council requested that staff not enforce this at this time, and agreed that the “backyard chickens” issue requires more public input that would be most appropriately addressed through the update to our Official Community Plan which is currently underway.

We also heard from members of the public in regards to Zoning Amendment Bylaw 3763 which would permit Retail Cannabis Sales at 8432 Trans-Canada Highway (at Mt. Sicker Road, near the Red Rooster). Council gave the bylaw third reading, and it will be back before Council for final adoption in the coming weeks.

Thank you for reading and staying informed! Our next regular Council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, December 4 at 1:30 p.m.

Al Siebring, Mayor
Municipality of North Cowichan