Council Matters for October 16, 2019

Council met for about 3 hours in open meetings on October 16, 2019. Here are some highlights from that meeting.

Council heard from Sheila Kitson, President of the Cowichan Historical Society (CHS), which operates the Cowichan Valley Museum & Archives and is mandated to collect, preserve and interpret the history and heritage of the Cowichan Valley. In addition to operating the museum, the Society delivers school and public programming, permanent and temporary exhibits, special events, and archival services. Sheila explained that as a non-profit, the CHS depends on government funding, donations, and grants to operate and thanked Council in advance for considering the Society’s grant request for 2020.

Council made two decisions related to a significant road rejuvenation project in Chemainus. First, it decided to award the contract for Stage 1 of the Chemainus Road Corridor Improvements, which includes replacement of expired underground storm, water, and sewer infrastructure to CopCan Civil Ltd., which came in with the lowest tendered bid of ($1,163,976 plus GST). The tender was within budget, work will start next month and carry on through early 2020. Second, Council directed staff to carry on with a project design that will incorporate “Modal 3” on-street bike lanes and retain parallel parking on both sides of the road from Henry Road to Victoria Street. More information on this important project is available online.

Next, Council reviewed a staff report regarding FireSmart Community Funding, which is a provincial program intended to reduce the risk and impact of wildfire to communities in BC. Council directed staff to submit a grant application seeking funding to provide four days of free wood chipping for residents of North Cowichan in spring 2020. Wood chipping is a fire smart way to dispose of woody debris, as it minimizes the potential of on-site fire hazards and reduces potential issues with smoke emissions.

Council received the Third Quarter Financial Report, which provides the General Fund Statement of Operation, a Capital budget update, and Reserve Fund balances for the period ending September 30, 2019. Anyone interested in reading the report in detail can find it on pp. 47-74 of the agenda.

Council then discussed its position on proclamations and decided to reaffirm the existing practice of not issuing proclamations. Council’s reasons for doing so include the time and effort it takes to consider each proclamation request, and the challenges with fairness and equality if Council were to say ‘yes’ to some proclamation requests and ‘no’ to others.

Next, Council considered a request from the Vancouver Island Regional Library to amend two requirements in their development permit for the new Chemainus Library building. Council approved the requested amendment to reduce the area of window glazing in the south east corner of the building and denied the requested amendment to remove a canopy/awning feature from the Willow Street frontage. More details and images are available here.

Finally, Council gave second reading to a rezoning application for retail cannabis sales at 8432 Trans-Canada Highway, and directed staff to schedule a public hearing for the application.

That’s it for this week! Thank you for reading and staying informed. Our next regular Council meeting is November 6, 2019.

Al Siebring, Mayor
Municipality of North Cowichan