Council Matters for August 18, 2021

Council met for about four hours during our Regular Council meeting on August 18, 2021, with Acting Mayor Sawrie chairing the meeting. Here are some highlights from the meeting:

During my Mayor’s report, I shared an update of several events I was honoured to attend recently. These included a cleansing ceremony for the Salish Bear Totem, carved by the late Stan Modeste, which was unfortunately vandalized but will be refurbished and raised again at the Malahat Summit; the Penelakut Nation’s March for the Children which saw over 2,000 people in attendance; and National Peacekeeping Day at the Chemainus Cenotaph.

I also acknowledged the incredible work of BC Wildfire Services, all the firefighters, officers, and helicopter and para-attack crews for containing the Copper Canyon wildfire, as well as CVRD and North Cowichan staff for keeping everyone informed along the way.

Stewart Muir, Executive Director, Resource Works, attended as a delegation and presented to Council about “Forestry in BC: Setting the record straight.” The 10-minute presentation outlined some of the benefits of forestry in the Cowichan Valley, and the present status of forest practices and forest management in the province.

A number of bylaws were adopted:

  • South End Water Local Area Service Enlargement for 7900 Mays Road, will allow that property be included in the water service area.
  • Amendments to the Forest Use Bylaw, Bylaw Offence Notice Enforcement Bylaw and Municipal Ticket Information Systems Bylaw were adopted that increases fines for offences such as entering the forest when closed, illegal harvesting of trees, damaging trees or streams, having open fires when restricted, and more.
  • Fireworks Regulation Bylaw is now updated with regulations and permitting requirements for fireworks within the municipality.
  • The Fees and Charges Bylaw was amended to include an application fee of $1,000 for Telecommunications Antenna Structures.

A zoning amendment bylaw to permit a second detached dwelling unit at 6353 Genoa Bay Road did not pass, and will not be headed to a public hearing.

A Temporary Mobile Home Permit Application for 5840 Menzies Road passed, which will allow a temporary mobile home to be on the property for a term of one year.

Council received an update on impacts related to the enforcement of illegal suites, and directed staff to report back to Council with a formalized approach to enforcement as described in the flow diagram on page 166 of the agenda.

The Municipal Forest Reserve review engagement process, paused since last summer while government-to-government discussions with local First Nations were underway, will be taking the next steps with an agreement and signed Memorandum of Understanding laying the foundation for the continued dialogue. Engagement consultants Lees + Associates will be invited to the next available Council meeting to present a new timeline and work plan for a restart of community and stakeholder engagement. 

Council was presented with options for forestry educational opportunities that could be hosted or shared online, before the forestry review engagement resumes. A list of resources had been compiled from a variety of industry experts and groups, and this list will be added to the forestry review webpage: Council also approved the organization of a forestry tour for the general public, led by the municipal forester. Details of this tour will be shared with the public online and through advertisements in the coming weeks.

The growing work plan of the Environmental Advisory Committee was discussed, and it was decided that some items be removed, and that items in Section A be prioritized for implementation. The Committee’s terms of reference indicate they meet six times per year. So far this year, they have met eight times, with meetings running approximately three hours in length. The work plan can be viewed in the staff report on pages 185-192 of the agenda.

The Municipal Coat of Arms will be officially retired. The emblem, which was developed in 1988, has been in limited use since the corporate logo was formalized in 2014. Instances where the coat of arms are used will be removed when timely and feasible.

The next Council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, September 1, 2021, at 1:30 p.m.

Thank you for reading and staying informed!

Rosalie Sawrie, Deputy Mayor
Municipality of North Cowichan
T 250.746.3117