Council Matters for January 20, 2020

Council met for about 3 hours in open meetings on January 20, 2020. Here are some highlights from our Special Council Meeting.

First Council heard from two delegations, David Messier and Jennifer Woike spoke on behalf of Cowichan Works, a local business group which opposed Agenda item 10.1 a motion “Pausing Consideration of Development Applications in Some Parts of North Cowichan During the OCP Process While the Urban Containment Boundary is Being Reconsidered.” Then, Dave Jackson spoke on behalf of the Bell McKinnon Residents’ Association and Land Owners also opposed to Agenda Item 10.1. You can read the whole motion on page 5 of the Agenda, and the full staff report in response to this motion on pages 33-52.

Due to considerable interest and turn out in response to Agenda Item 10.1, Council made a motion to waive the standard five-speaker limit and allowed increased public input.

After considerable public input and some discussion, a motion was made to refer this item to the Official Community Plan (OCP) Advisory Committee for comment and recommendation. The referral motion failed, and then the majority of Council voted against the main motion defeating it too.

Next, Council adopted Zoning Amendment Bylaw 3761 (Motorsport Circuit) to re-zone Phase 1 of the Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit property into a Comprehensive Development Zone.

Council considered amending the fees bylaw for dog registration to offset additional costs associated with increasing off-leash dog access at 3 municipal ocean park locations. On May 2, 2018, Council directed staff to request public input regarding allowing dogs to be off-leash at designated municipal ocean park accesses during the ‘shoulder season’ from October 1 –June 15. The results of this public input indicated that residents largely supported increased off-leash access at the proposed locations. It is estimated that increasing off-leash access could cost an additional $18,000 per annum, which could be addressed through:

  • Bringing owners of unlicensed dogs into compliance, and ensuring they regularly renew their dog licenses
  • Collecting outstanding fees (for all outstanding years not registered) if an unlicensed dog is impounded
  • Raising annual dog license fees 

After some discussion, Council voted to update the Animal Control Bylaw to include a clear definition of ‘control’ in relation to off-leash dogs and directed staff to prepare a report on amendments to the fees bylaw. You can find more information on pages 53-75 of the Agenda.  

Next, Council heard a report on the Integrated Climate Action Plan (CAP). In July 2019, Council passed a motion to acknowledge that we are facing a climate emergency. The environment is also a key aspect of the 2019 Council Strategic Plan. The CAP will establish a baseline and reduction targets for Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHGs) and key strategic priorities to achieve these targets. Areas of focus for updating the Plan will include encouraging the transition to electric vehicles, taking corporate leadership in lowering emissions, supporting ecosystems and carbon capture, and making buildings more energy-efficient.

Council directed staff to continue with the CAP and to develop actions, policy options, and cost estimates to achieve an 80% GHG reduction target by 2050. Council also directed staff to have an informal lunch and learn with members of the previously disbanded Environmental Committee and public at large in order to hear Dr. Preikshot’s report findings. You can find the report on pages 76-80 of the Agenda.

Finally, Council approved a motion to submit a resolution of “De-centralizing Forest Management on Vancouver Island and Coastal BC,” which would be put forward at the Association of the Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) conference in April 2020. This motion proposes the creation of a Forester General position on Vancouver Island, along with a de-centralized forest management model for the region.

Thank you for reading and staying informed! Our next Regular Council Meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, January 29, 2020, at 1:30 p.m.

Al Siebring, Mayor
Municipality of North Cowichan