Council Matters for May 1, 2024

Council met for about one and a half hours during our Regular Council meeting on May 1, 2024.

My Mayor’s Report included the following:

  • Council and staff recently travelled to Saanich for a tour of the new aerator system to address water quality issues in Elk Lake. With one-time funding from the province, the Capital Regional District recently installed an oxygen generator that tackles nutrients that have built up in the sediment along lake bottom over the decades, contributing to the frequent blue-green algae blooms and posing a serious health risk to people and pets. At North Cowichan we are actively exploring aeration as a way to address ongoing water quality issues in Quamichan Lake, including our own blue-green algae blooms.
  • North Cowichan hosted a Community Transition meeting at municipal hall for the Crofton mill workers impacted by the recent decision from Paper Excellence to indefinitely curtal paper operations at the site. North Cowichan has hosted several of these meetings facilitated by the BC Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development & Innovation, that bring together various public agencies and service providers to support these workers in accessing skills training and finding new employment opportunities.
  • Last week I participated in a call with the Honourable Bowin Ma, Minister of Emergency Management & Climate Readiness, and mayors and regional chairs from across BC, on the role of local governments in managing emergencies and disasters. The Emergency and Disaster Management Act that came into force last fall includes new requirements for local governments to consult First Nations before declaring a state of local emergency. Over the coming days the province will be releasing Indigenous engagement guidelines to provide further guidance to municipalities and regional districts, which will be followed by a series of workshops.
  • Staff Sergeant Ken Beard has been successfully selected to assume the role of Acting Officer in Charge (OIC) on a permanent basis at North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP Detachment. His exemplary qualifications, unwavering dedication to duty, and steadfast commitment to the well-being of our community render him the ideal candidate for this pivotal position.

Representatives from KPMG presented North Cowichan and the Joint Utility Board’s 2023 audited financial statements. These statements are compiled each year and are included in the annual report, which will be available in June.

The South End Waterworks District Amendment Bylaw was adopted. The bylaw permits the connection of two lots along Donnay Drive South to connect to the South End Water Local Area Service.

The Development Procedures Bylaw was referred back to staff to review the period for reapplication under section 2.5. The bylaw will return, along with the Fees and Charges Amendment Bylaw, at a later meeting.

The Development Approval Information Bylaw was adopted. This bylaw establishes procedures for requiring development approval information as part of the land development application process.

The 2024 Property Tax Rates Bylaw was adopted, following first three readings on April 17. This bylaw establishes the tax rates for each property class for the 2024 tax year.

Council received the 2024 Q1 Council Strategic Plan Update (January 1 - March 31, 2024). This robust document outlines all achievements and progress made on items outlined in the Council Strategic Plan.

Council reaffirmed the direction given to staff at the June 20, 2018, regular Council meeting to continue to work with the Babine Road and Babine Place property owners to prepare and submit a completed petition to Council for consideration to be included in the Crofton Sanitary Sewer System Local Area Service.

Councillor Caljouw introduced a Notice of Motion regarding the establishment of a public variance approval system. The motion will be considered at the May 15, 2024, regular Council meeting.

The next council meeting is on Wednesday, May 15 at 5 pm.

Thank you for reading and staying informed!

Rob Douglas, Mayor

Municipality of North Cowichan

T 250.746.3117