Council Matters for November 15, 2023

Council met for two and a half hours during our Regular Council meeting and Public Hearing on November 15, 2023.

My Mayor’s Report included the following:

  • Earlier this month I attended a forum organized by the Cowichan Housing Association and held at the Cowichan Community Centre that brought together leaders from the building sector, non-profits, and local government to discuss solutions to the current housing crisis. The forum included presentations from BC Housing about their available funding programs, local government on the steps being taken to streamline the development approval process, and private company Nexus to on their modular housing products.
  • In recent weeks the Province has introduced legislation that will have a major impact on future housing development across BC, including allowing small-scale multi-unit housing on many lots currently zoned for single-family or duplex use; expanding development cost charges to include fire, police and solid waste facilities; and introducing a new amenity cost charges tool to pay for infrastructure associated with new development. Along with other mayors from across BC, I have attended several technical briefing sessions organized by the provincial government to learn about this legislation, and over the coming weeks expect to have a clearer picture of how these changes will impact communities like ours. 
  • This week I was given a tour of the new RCMP building currently under construction at the corner of Ford and Drinkwater roads, along with our Member of Parliament for Cowichan-Malahat-Langford, Alistair MacGregor, and City of Duncan Councillor, Garry Bruce. The building has progressed substantially since the summer, and we are now anticipating an opening date in spring 2024.

Cindy Lise, Regional Facilitator of Our Cowichan Community Action Team, made a presentation about the group’s efforts to address the poisoned drug pandemic, and the need for multiple approaches and a shared understanding of the challenges at hand.

A zoning amendment to permit a detached accessory dwelling unit at 1211 Barnes Road was adopted. The zoning amendment previously received third reading following a public hearing on July 19.

A zoning amendment bylaw for 5865 Highland Avenue received first two readings and will now go a public hearing. The amendment would change the zoning from Residential One and Two Family (R3) to Infill Residential Neighourhood (R3-N), which would allow the property owners to convert an accessory building on their property to a rental property.

A zoning amendment bylaw to permit the entire accessory building at 7475 Bell McKinnon Road to be used as one accessory dwelling unit was sent back to staff for revisions and will be brought back to Council.

A Temporary Use Permit was authorized for a second residential dwelling unit at 1428 Adelaide Street. The permit is for three years or until the current occupant relocates and is subject to the owner providing a notarized undertaking that the unit will be removed before the permit expires, and that they have completed the safety works set out by the chief building inspector.

A Development Variance Permit was authorized for 6032 Crestmount Place to increase the allowable lot coverage from 30% to 32.8% to accommodate an addition.

Four employees of Coastal Animal Control Services (North Cowichan’s contracted poundkeeper) were appointed as Animal Control Officers, which provides them with the legal authority to enforce the Animal Responsibility Bylaw and issue municipal tickets. Council also directed staff to amend the Animal Responsibility Bylaw and the Delegation of Authority Bylaw to appoint the poundkeeper and Animal Control Officers and to enter into agreements for animal control and animal shelter services to the Director responsible for bylaw compliance.

At the request of the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD), the Mayor will provide a letter of support for the use of a portion of Municipal and Regional District Tax Program (MDRT) revenues for affordable housing projects within the CVRD, effective January 1, 2024.

Council will provide the Cowichan Music Festival $200 from the 2024 grant-in-aid program to support the scholarship for the Most Outstanding Senior in Piano.

Three zoning amendment bylaws were heard during a Public Hearing, and then considered afterwards:

  • A proposal to facilitate a proposed two-lot subdivision and future residential development at 3351 Auchinachie Road received third reading.
  • A proposal to permit a detached accessory dwelling unit at 7495 Relke Road received third reading.
  • A proposal to formalize the existing land use and allow for a replacement BCSPCA animal shelter facility at 7550 Bell McKinnon Road received third reading and will now be forwarded to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) for approval. MOTI approval is required as the property is located within 800 metres from the intersection of a controlled highway access. 

Council meets again on Tuesday, November 21 and November 28, as the Committee of the Whole receives staff business plans for 2024, which will inform the 2024 budget. Committee of the Whole meetings begin at 5pm and are open to the public in-person or virtually. The next regular Council meeting is Wednesday, December 6 at 5pm.

Thank you for reading and staying informed!

Rob Douglas, Mayor
Municipality of North Cowichan
T 250.746.3117