Council Matters for September 16, 2020

Council met for about 3 hours during our Regular Council meeting on September 16, 2020.

 Mayor Siebring is on holiday. I, Councilor Justice, Deputy Mayor, chaired this Council meeting.

 First, I formally thanked and acknowledged our North Cowichan Fire Department for their excellent service. Last week, North Cowichan firefighters supported dozens of other firefighters from numerous fire departments across the Cowichan Valley and Nanaimo regions to contain a sizeable industrial fire at Schnitzer Steel, south of the Nanaimo Airport.  

 Next, Council considered a Zoning Amendment Bylaw Application. The Application was submitted by David Coulson Design Ltd., on behalf of the property owners and sought approval for a second detached dwelling at 934 Khenipsen Road. Due to the location of the property, technical issues and requirements to bring the existing structure up to the BC Building Code, and the potential for environmental impacts, Council decided to refer the matter back to staff for more consideration. Council directed staff to review newly submitted documents from Mr. Coulson that could impact the staff’s recommendation to Council and asked that staff work with the applicant to determine if the suite could be located elsewhere on the property.

 Council then considered re-opening the Cowichan Aquatic Centre, which has remained closed since March 16, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the closure, regular maintenance and the scheduled expansion and renovation to this facility have moved ahead. Construction began on June 3, 2020, and is tentatively projected to be completed in late 2020. While renovations will be ongoing, the Aquatic Centre can safely be re-opened to patrons with a phased resumption of services as construction continues. Council approved the staff’s plan to re-open the facility to the public under the provision of its COVID-19 Restoration of Programs & Services Plan. To protect the health and safety of all patrons and staff, all guidelines put forward by the Provincial Health Officer and senior levels of government will be observed.

 Council approved three grant applications for federal and provincial funding:

  1. An application to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program under the Community, Culture and Recreation stream for the Crofton to Maple Bay Trail project for a project cost up to an estimated $2 million;
  2. An application to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program under the COVID-19 Resilience stream for replacement of the Fuller Lake Arena roof and the Cowichan Aquatic Centre roof up to an estimated $2.4 million; and,
  3.  An application to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Municipal Asset Management Program for a grant of up to $50,000 so that North Cowichan may continue with its next phase of asset management planning to create Asset Management Plans for major facilities and buildings.

 Then, Councilor Manhas introduced a motion regarding illegal secondary suites in North Cowichan. Council directed staff to prepare a report identifying potential safety issues and financial liability and or/impacts to the municipality concerning existing illegal secondary suites. The report will be brought back to Council at a future meeting.

Finally, Council considered a letter from various local organizations for an update on the specific actions and plans undertaken the Municipality to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in North Cowichan. Council directed staff to prepare a detailed and fulsome response to the letter, including information on the Climate Action and Energy Plan update, other new initiatives undertaken by North Cowichan, and Official Community Plan update policies that could reduce emissions.

 Our next meeting will take place electronically on Wednesday, October 7, 2020, at 1:30 pm.

 Thank you for reading and staying informed!


Christopher Justice
Deputy Mayor, Councillor
Municipality of North Cowichan
T 250.746.3117