Council Matters for October 2, 2019

Council met for about 3 hours in open meetings on October 2, 2019. Here are some highlights from that meeting:

I provided a summary of Council’s attendance at the Union of BC Municipalities conference last week. In addition to attending multiple workshops on relevant issues that local governments are addressing across BC, North Cowichan also met with a number of Provincial ministers and senior staff to advocate for issues in our community. We met with:

  • The Solicitor General, who told us that the North Cowichan-Duncan RCMP Detachment are likely to receive 2 new RCMP officers in the near future. We don’t have this formally in writing, but we are hopeful and expectant.
  • Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, who we urged to provide more Provincial support for our community.
  • Minister of Agriculture, who we urged to refrain from enforcement activity regarding the Chemainus River Campground, for which North Cowichan will be submitting an Agricultural Land Reserve exclusion application.
  • Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, who we thanked for beginning the long-awaited upgrades to Crofton Road.
  • Minister of Education, who we lobbied for the new Cowichan High School.
  • Minister of Environment, who we asked to take a more active role to improve water quality in Quamichan Lake.
  • Next, Council heard from Tracy Thompson and Stacy Middlemiss about the take-home Naloxone program being offered through Island Health and Canadian Mental Health Association. Council heard about the ongoing challenge of the overdose crisis and the work that local organizations are doing to prevent overdose deaths. Council heard that the situation continues to be dire, Naloxone and overdose prevention sites are making a difference.

Council then reviewed a staff report seeking direction about resident interest in creation of a local area service for the extension of approximately 480 metres of watermain from 6145 to 6009 Genoa Bay Road south of the Maple Bay Marina. Council asked staff to work with residents to explain the costs of such an extension and what process should be followed if they wish to undertake a resident petition.

Council adopted a new Delegation of Authority Bylaw, which delegates certain powers, duties, and functions to officers and employees. The new bylaw reflects changes to employee titles, updates procurement figures to be consistent with other local governments, and grants authority to the CAO to deal with employee matters. You can read the Bylaw here.

Council also adopted a permissive tax bylaw for tax exemptions for the following:

  • Franciscan Poor Clarie Nuns for 2382 Calais Road (property);
  • Sword Ministries Society for #101, 5855 York Road (property);
  • Vancouver Island Vispassana Society for 2359 Calais Road (building);
  • Vancouver Island Vispassana Society for Wicks Road (building).

Council then debated Councillor Marsh’s motion that Council reinstate its Environmental Advisory Committee and recommence meetings in October. By way of background, Council disbanded the majority of its Standing Committees following last year’s election to allow the newly elected Council time to establish its priorities and determine where it would benefit from Committee support. While many Council members expressed a desire to reinstate the Environmental Advisory Committee, Council acknowledged that it will be discussing its overall approach to Committees later in October and determined that it will wait to make a decision until having a broader discussion.

Council also discussed Councillor Justice’s motion regarding Quamichan Lake health. Councillor Justice proposed amended wording, which carried unanimously as follows:

Whereas it is one of Council's strategic priorities to take action on the water quality of Quamichan Lake;

And Whereas phosphorus deposition in Quamichan Lake is the result of land use practices including land clearing, agricultural practices, residential development, residential life in the watershed, as well as our methods for dealing with storm-water and septic disposal;

And Whereas some jurisdictions have come up with ideas to curtail and limit the deposition of phosphorus into watersheds and lakes using planning policy and land use regulations and engineering standards;

Be it resolved that in anticipation of the rewriting of the OCP, the new Zoning bylaw and other relevant documents, council direct staff to consider ways to reduce both the deposition of phosphorus into the watershed and the flow of phosphorus into the lake including, but not limited to, engineering standards and land use regulations and planning policies which have been used successfully in other jurisdictions.

Council considered a number of requests from local arts groups and decided to:

  • Appoint Councillor Marsh as a liaison to the Cowichan Valley Cultural Arts Society (CVCAS) Board;
  • Authorize the Mayor to write a letter of support, in principle, for the CVCAS's proposal to conduct a feasibility study to build a multi-purpose arts centre, with the proviso that it be identified that no funding options are available;
  • Authorize staff to participate in interviews for a CVCAS feasibility study regarding a proposed multi-purpose arts centre;
  • Authorize the Mayor to write a letter of support, in principle, for the Cowichan Valley Public Art Gallery Society’s initiative to bring a purpose-built art gallery building to the Cowichan Valley to host on-going international, national and local art exhibitions, with the proviso that it be identified that no funding options are available.

Lastly, and importantly, Council announced the community members appointed to participate in volunteer teams supporting the Official Community Plan review project. This announcement comes after a lengthy open call for volunteers. Council appointed the following individuals as Community Ambassador Teams (see terms of reference):

Community Ambassadors
Bell McKinnon David Darwin, Dave Jackson, and Matthew Huotari
Berkey’s Corner Andrew Wilson, John Scull, and Kevin Rodger
Crofton Carol Donelly
Chemainus Ken Brown, Tom Andrews, Christina Godbolt
Lakes-Jaynes-Timbercrest Area Cindy Lise
Maple Bay Sheila Kitson, Ann M. Murray, Wendy McPherson
 Quamichan  Marilyn Palmer, Douglas Hume, Sarah Nelles
 Rural  Nancy Dower, Carreen Unguran

 Council also appointed the following individuals to the OCP Advisory Group (see terms of reference):

  • Bernie Jones
  • Cam Campbell
  • Mona Kaiser
  • Shannon Waters
  • Sandra McPherson
  • Nick Neisingh
  • Rupert Koyote
  • Terri Mattin
  • Caitlen Kenny
  • Hajo Meijer
  • Tim Openshaw
  • Chrisopher Crowther
  • David Messier

Council thanks all members of the community that put their names forward for a volunteer role!

That’s it for this week! Thank you for reading and staying informed. Our next Council meeting is Wednesday, October 16 at 1:30 p.m.

Al Siebring, Mayor
Municipality of North Cowichan