Council Matters for December 2, 2020

Council met for about 3.5 hours during our Regular Council meeting on December 2, 2020.

First, Council heard from Sandy Munns and Judy Stafford from the Cowichan Green Community, who came to speak to Council about their lease on 2431 Beverly Street. North Cowichan purchased this property in 2009. The Cowichan Green Community has been leasing the property since 2015 and their current lease expires in July 2021. The Cowichan Green Community is seeking an extended 10-year lease with North Cowichan that would include amendments for installation of a commercial kitchen and warehouse space and connection to municipal water and sewer. This would help support their future goals of expanding their programs and services.

Next, Council adopted the Housing Agreement Bylaw and leases for the new proposed affordable housing projects on Sherman Road and Willow Street. The full lease agreements for both properties and the Bylaw can be found on pages 65-160 in the agenda.

 Council considered replacing the current Nuisance Bylaw and the Untidy and Unsightly Premises Bylaw with two new regulatory bylaws; the Controlled Substance Bylaw and the Nuisance Abatement and Cost Recovery Bylaw. Both of these aim to speed up the process for dealing with violations. The Controlled Substance Bylaw is largely the same as the Nuisance Bylaw, however, it includes modernized language and updated regulations to reflect the decriminalization of personal production of cannabis. Regulations have been expanded to provide authority to Inspectors to enter onto properties to conduct inspections, post notices, carry out remedial work, or discontinue water services, where appropriate.

The Nuisance Abatement Bylaw seeks to establish a process for imposing costs that may be recovered and applied as property taxes when a property owner has failed to mitigate a nuisance on their property. Nuisance includes noise, odours, garbage, offensive materials, overgrown vegetation, graffiti, and other offences. Similar to the Controlled Substance Bylaw, this bylaw also requires property owners/occupiers to take action to clean up the property and authorizes North Cowichan to carry out remedial work when the owner fails to take action. Council gave first, second and third reading to both bylaws, and will adopt them at a future meeting.

Council granted a Temporary Mobile Home Permit (TMHP) for 5855 Menzies Road to allow a mobile home to be placed on the property in addition to the principal single-family dwelling. For more information on the application, see pages 219-233 of the agenda

As 2020 comes to an end, Council considered the proposed 2021 Council and Committee of the Whole public meeting schedule. Council decided to continue holding Committee of the Whole meetings every second Tuesday at 6:00 pm and accepted staff’s proposed schedule with a couple of minor amendments. The first regular Council meeting in January will begin at 4:00 pm, instead of 1:30 pm, and the second regular Council meeting in September will be held on Tuesday, September 21, instead of September 22.

Next, Council approved a Committee of the Whole recommendation to include an RCMP Office Supervisor/Police Support Services position in the 2021 budget, effective January 1, 2021.  This position would be funded by converting a part-time position to a full time one and covering the balance of the cost through savings in the existing RCMP contract. As a result, this position does not require an increase in the budget.

Lastly, under new business, Council considered a motion to direct staff to work with the Cowichan Housing Association to develop an Affordable Housing Policy and Implementation Strategy. Due to possible implications on staff capacity in undertaking this work, Council decided to defer consideration until the next Council meeting to allow for the second round of staff’s Business Plan Presentations to occur on December 8, 2020. Departmental Business Planning is the first step in Council’s annual budget deliberations and provides insight into staff’s work prioritization to action Council’s Strategic Plan over the coming year.

Our next meeting will take place electronically on Wednesday, December 16, 2020, at 1:30 pm.

Thank you for reading and staying informed!

 

Al Siebring, Mayor
Municipality of North Cowichan
T 250.746.3117
E Mayor@northcowichan.ca