Council Matters for November 16, 2022

Council met for about two-and-a-half hours in total during our Regular Council meeting and Public Hearing on November 16, 2022. Here are some highlights from the meetings.

During the Mayor’s Report, I provided updates on the following events and meetings that I participated in during the previous week:

  • The 2022 National Rowing Championships at Rowing Canada Aviron’s National Training Centre at Quamichan Lake, where more than 300 rowers from across Canada competed.
  • Discussions with BC Housing regarding securing funding for our proposed affordable housing project at Sherman Road and other possibilities for housing in the Municipality.
  • Meeting with the RCMP, City of Duncan, School District and Cowichan Valley MLA in response to concerns related to safety in the Trans-Canada Highway corridor area between Beverly Street and Boys Road.
  • Along with Acting Mayor Toporowski, held talks with the Province regarding supporting workers at the Crofton Mill impacted by Paper Excellence’s decision to cease its paper operations indefinitely.

Amy Brophy and Leslie Moore of the Chemainus Valley Historical Society provided Council with an update on their operations and a brief history of the organization, including the services and programs they deliver. The museum opened in 1991 next to Waterwheel Park, and the facility includes a visitor information centre, public washrooms, and a community policing office. An expansion was completed in 2019. They noted increasing operating costs and will be seeking a $10,000 grant-in-aid from North Cowichan for 2023, which will be considered at a future Council meeting. The museum and gift shop are open Thursday to Sunday, 10am to 3pm.

Yonas Jongkind of Amisto Developments Inc. presented their proposal to develop a cohousing community at 2988 Elliott Street, Chemainus (old Chemainus Elementary School property) to Council. Cohousing combines compact, self-contained private dwellings with the benefits of shared community amenities that typically include a large dining room, kitchen, recreation spaces, meeting rooms, children’s play spaces, guest rooms, workshops and gardens. Council will consider this proposal at a future date.

A bylaw to authorize North Cowichan to enter into a housing agreement with the owner of five properties on Paddle Road received first three readings. Once adopted, the housing agreement would secure a total of 37 apartment units at below market rental rates and that at least half (19) be constructed within the first three phases of development. Once fully built, the development will include approximately 366 residential units.

A land swap with Catalyst Paper Corporation was authorized. The land swap was necessitated to rectify a historic surveying error for a waterline that services the Crofton mill. Catalyst has agreed to pay for all legal document preparation, survey work, notice advertising costs, and land title registration costs associated with this property transfer. 

Council approved a corporate grant from the Climate Action and Energy Plan Corporate Reserve Fund for improved energy efficiency in the planned Crofton Fire Hall. A study recommended that the new fire hall include low-flow fixtures, demand controlled ventilation, and electrical improvements to make the Crofton Fire Hall building photovoltaic ready, to improve the building’s energy efficiency. Demolition of the old fire hall and construction of the new building is expected to begin in 2023.

Council authorized staff to submit a grant application to the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) Community Resiliency Investment program under the FireSmart Community Funding and Supports stream for 2023. The grant would support fuel hazard reduction treatments in accordance with the Mount Tzouhalem and Maple Mountain Fuel Management Prescriptions for up to $200,000. Details on North Cowichan’s wildfire mitigation program can be found at

Council endorsed a joint application submitted to the UBCM Asset Management Planning Grant program in support of a partnership between the Regional District of Nanaimo, City of Nanaimo, the Partnership for Water Sustainability and the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Research Institute to embed ecological accounting expertise within Vancouver Island University. The Ecological Accounting Process is a methodology and set of metrics that help local governments make the business case to operationalize the maintenance and management of natural assets, such as stream corridors.

Council authorized an update to North Cowichan’s bank signing authorities, following the recent election, to include Mayor Rob Douglas, the Chief Financial Officer, and other staff members.

Following a discussion, Council directed staff to prepare a report to amend the Council Procedure Bylaw in order to amend the Council meeting schedule. The intent is to hold public meetings in the evenings beginning in January. The recommendation was to schedule Council meetings at 5pm on the first and third Wednesdays of the month, with Public Hearings at 7pm following the Council meeting held on the third Wednesday of the month. Committee of the Whole meetings will be scheduled at 5pm on the second Tuesday of the month. The report will also include potential financial and staff resource implications. The report is expected at the next Council meeting on December 7.

The Council Strategic Plan - Third Quarter Update was pulled from the items for information part of the agenda for discussion. Council asked questions of staff regarding some of the updates and status of upcoming projects. Council’s Strategic Plan, plus quarterly updates, can be viewed at

The Council meeting adjourned until 6pm when the Public Hearing portion of the meeting began.

A Zoning Bylaw Amendment Bylaw was considered to permit a detached accessory dwelling unit (garden suite) at 3833 Gibbins Road. Following the public hearing, the Council meeting resumed, and the zoning amendment bylaw was adopted.

The next Council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, December 7, at 1:30 p.m.

Thank you for reading and staying informed!

Rob Douglas, Mayor
Municipality of North Cowichan
T 250.746.3117