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Council Matters for October 18 2023
October 23, 2023
Council met for about two hours during our Regular Council meeting on October 18, 2023.
My Mayor’s Report included the following:
- In response to a recent discussion regarding North Cowichan’s climate change initiatives, I provided an overview of the Municipality’s Climate Action & Energy Plan, which was first adopted in 2013 and then updated in 2022 and includes various actions to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. In addition, my report described the work currently underway to develop a Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, which focuses on adjusting to more frequent and extreme weather events, such as wildfires, flooding and droughts.
A Special Council Meeting occurred earlier in the day to recognize two citizens and confer Freedom of the Municipality. Jon Lefebure and David Haywood were given the honourary title in a ceremony attended by their families, friends, and other dignitaries. Eleven others have been awarded Freedom of the Municipality over North Cowichan’s 150-year history. The title is largely ceremonial.
The Permissive Tax Exemption Bylaw was adopted. The bylaw will exempt certain properties in 2024 from municipal property taxes. Properties were initially considered at the September 6 Committee of the Whole meeting from applications received. First three readings of the bylaw were received on September 26.
The Building Amendment Bylaw was also adopted. The updated bylaw describes the full range of building inspections done during the building process and the Energy Step Code as specified under the BC Building Code. Emission Level 3 of the BC Zero Carbon Step Code will begin on January 1, 2024, and Emission Level 4 of the BC Zero Carbon Step Code will start on July 1, 2024. The Energy and Zero Carbon Step Code requirements impact primary space and water heating in new construction only and are based on performance. Secondary heating sources, as well as auxiliary appliances such as stoves and barbecues, will not be affected by the changes. Details about the Step Code program can be found at www.northcowichan.ca/stepcode
A Zoning Amendment Bylaw, which would permit a detached accessory dwelling unit at 7495 Relke Road, received first two readings and will now proceed to a public hearing.
The Cowichan Green Community’s development permit application for 2431 Beverly Street was approved. The permit will allow the construction of a food processing and innovation hub on the property located immediately east of Alexander Elementary School. A variance was also granted to relax the development standard for off-street parking.
Council received the Quarter 3 update of the Council Strategic Plan. Quarterly updates provide Council and the public with progress made on strategic goals and provide summaries on work that took place in July, August, and September of 2023.
Councillor Christopher Justice submitted a notice of motion regarding the evaluation of developing a noise bylaw for Council’s consideration. The notice of motion will be added to the November 1 Council agenda for discussion.
Five items from the consent agenda resulted in additional direction for staff or the Mayor:
- The Mayor was directed to provide a letter in support of the Cowichan Estuary Restoration & Conservation Association (CERCA) to remove the invasive Scotch broom.
- The Mayor will invite the Vancouver Island Regional Library chair and CEO to an upcoming meeting to explain changes to their 2024 budget.
- Council directed staff to prepare a report with options for addressing traffic and noise issues on Townend Road.
- The Mayor was authorized to write a letter, when appropriate,to the Minister of Transportation in support of staff’s solution concerning highway access safety to the Somenos Marsh parking lot.
- Comments received regarding the number of speakers allowed during public input was deferred to the upcoming Council Procedure Bylaw workshop.
The next Council meeting will take place on Wednesday, November 1, at 5pm.
Thank you for reading and staying informed!
Rob Douglas, Mayor
Municipality of North Cowichan