Council Matters for November 1, 2023

Council met for two hours during our Regular Council meeting on November 1, 2023.

My Mayor’s Report included the following:

  • Last week I joined members of Council for the 17th annual Vancouver Island Economic Summit in Nanaimo, which brings together business leaders, aspiring entrepreneurs, and elected officials from communities across the broader region. The event featured panel discussions, breakout sessions, networking opportunities, a trade show with more than 40 exhibitors, and various keynote speakers including Premier David Eby.
  • The Chemainus Residents Association recently worked with North Cowichan to organize a workshop on building secondary suites and accessory dwelling units. I joined local builder, Tim Openshaw, plus staff from our Planning and Building department, to provide an overview of our Official Community Plan and how it relates to secondary suites and accessory dwellings, and to present information that homeowners will need to consider and steps to take in pursuing these projects.
  • Last week Cowichan Search & Rescue provided me, along with staff from North Cowichan and the Cowichan Valley Regional District, with a tour of their facilities beside the Bings Creek Recycling Centre, where we discussed their current challenges. Founded in 1962, the Cowichan Search & Rescue volunteers provide these critical services to residents of the Cowichan region, from the Malahat Summit in the south to the Chemainus River in the north.
  • I also had an opportunity to attend a meeting organized by the City of Duncan with the Honourable Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Mental Health & Addictions. The focus of this meeting was on seeking ongoing funding for the Village project on Trunk Road, plus initiatives related to addictions treatment facilities and long-term recovery, and building a safe space for vulnerable youth, which were developed by local service providers. As a follow-up action, I will be writing the Minister outlining our concerns with regards to the Overdose Prevention Site on York Road.

Bev Suderman from Vancouver Island Providence Community Association (Providence Farm) presented an update and overview regarding the property’s request for water services, speaking to the South End Waterworks District Amendment Bylaw later in the agenda.

Council had an initial discussion around the evaluation of North Cowichan’s Noise Bylaw, moving the motion that was introduced by Councillor Justice at the October 18 council meeting. Council directed staff to prepare a report that provides options for mitigating noise complaints. This will come back to Council at a future meeting for further discussion.

Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 3916, 2023 was adopted, permitting a detached accessory dwelling unit at 10029 Beach Drive.

Council considered first and second reading of a zoning amendment at 7475 Bell McKinnon Road. Staff were directed to prepare a new amendment to Zoning Bylaw No. 2950, 1997, that would permit a detached building at 7475 Bell McKinnon Road with a maximum two accessory dwelling units for consideration of first and second reading at a future meeting.

Related to the delegation from Providence Farm, Council gave first three readings to the South End Waterworks District Amendment Bylaw No. 3939, 2023 that proposes to connect two lots located along Donnay Drive South to the South End Water Local Area Service. This will come back to Council for adoption after covenants are registered on title.

Council directed the CAO to enter into an agreement with Natural Resources Canada to install an earthquake early warning system at the Municipal Hall building for an annual consideration of $30 payable on November 1 of each year. The system will use a specially designed network of seismic sensors to provide seconds to tens of seconds of warning in the event of a significant earthquake, allowing protective actions to be taken.

After a couple of minor amendments, the terms of reference for the Agricultural Advisory Committee were approved. Council appointed Councillor Justice to serve as the Chair of this committee and directed staff to incorporate Agricultural Advisory Committee administration into the annual business planning process, and to advertise for volunteers for Council’s subsequent selection of committee members at a future meeting in 2024.

Council voted to approve the reimbursement of legal fees in relation to the Conflict of Interest Policy, which will create efficiencies in reimbursing Council members their costs for obtaining legal advice concerning a perceived or actual conflict of interest.

Councillor Justiceintroduced a motion that Council direct staff to remove the proposed Stamps Road to Bazett Road Connection Multi-Use Pathway from the Master Transportation Plan. This item will be on the agenda at a future council meeting for further discussion and debate.

Council reviewed the appointments of Council members to committees and regional boards and approved the appointments as listed in the agenda, with one minor change: Mayor Douglas and Councillor Findlay will serve on the Joint Utilities Board to October 31, 2026.

Three items from the consent agenda resulted in additional direction for staff or the Mayor:

  • The Mayor was authorized to provide a letter in support for Rowing Canada Aviron’s application to the Rural Economic Diversification and Infrastructure Program (REDIP-FIT).
  • Council approved a $500 grant from the First Nations Initiatives budget in support of Janna George’s travel expenses to participate in the Native Indian Football Association elite soccer team in Europe in August 2024.
  • Staff will work with the Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society to discuss the items noted in their October 10, 2023 letter, and will bring a report back to Council with further information.

Thank you for reading and staying informed!

Rob Douglas, Mayor
Municipality of North Cowichan
T 250.746.3117