Council Matters for May 15, 2024

Council met for about two hours during our Regular Council meeting on May 15, 2024.

My Mayor’s Report included the following:

  • Earlier this month I joined the Crofton Art Group to celebrate their 70th anniversary and the installation of 34 new banners on Joan Avenue. These banners feature original artwork painted by local artists and were supported with a grant from North Cowichan. Founded in 1954, the Crofton Art Group is one of the oldest such groups on Vancouver Island, and now boasts more than 40 members.
  • North Cowichan Council was recently invited to join Premier David Eby for a tour of the new Cowichan District Hospital Replacement Project, where EllisDon and Island Health staff walked us through construction activity currently underway, including work on the new steel-framed service centre, diagnostic & treatment centre, and inpatient unit tower. The Premier was pleased to see the progress being made to complete construction of the new hospital for the 2027 opening date.

Ken Beard, Acting Officer in Charge with the North Cowichan-Duncan RCMP, presented the detachment’s quarterly (January to March 2024) and year-end reports. The reports outline statistics and key achievements over the past year, and actions planned for the upcoming year.

Fire Chief Ron French presented the North Cowichan Fire Department Quarterly Report (January to March 2024). The fire chief outlined key actions over the past three months including implementation of Standard Operational Guidelines and a new leadership structure, as well as training and fire prevention milestones. The report also included calls per fire hall by incident type.

An amended Development Procedures Bylaw received first three readings. This item had received three readings on April 17, however that was rescinded in order to amend the bylaw by reducing the required timeframe an applicant must wait before resubmitting an unchanged version of a previously submitted application (i.e., Agricultural Land Commission, Zoning Bylaw, Permit or Council Policy) to six months. The re-application duration for an Official Community Plan amendment will remain at 12 months. The bylaw will establish procedures for processing of land development applications and development approvals.

A summary of Zoning Bylaw changes needed to achieve compliance with the provincial requirements of Bill 44 was received, and staff will now bring forward the bylaw amendment at a meeting in June. To comply with the legislation, three to four dwelling units must be permitted on most lots within the Urban Containment Boundary. Council endorsed three additional changes which go beyond what is strictly necessary to comply with Bill 44, including:

  • to permit a detached accessory dwelling unit on parcels with a single-family dwelling within the Urban Containment Boundary wherever a zone allows for three or four units per lot,
  • to change the definition of single-family dwelling to include manufactured homes that are on a permanent foundation, and
  • to remove the floor area limit for secondary suites.

An Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) non-adhering residential use application to permit replacement of the current secondary dwelling for 5753 Menzies Road was authorized. Support for the application will be sent to the ALC with a recommendation it be approved.

A development variance permit was approved to relax the side yard setback and reduce a required landscaped area for 3070 Henry Road to facilitate construction of an office addition.

In addition, a development permit with variance was approved to reduce the number of residential off-street parking spaces, and to increase the maximum permitted building height to facilitate a 100-unit mixed-use building at 3096 (lot 4) Gibbins Road. This development is located within the Urban Containment Boundary and will provide much-needed rental housing.

Council approved a new temporary two-year term Manager, Asset Management position, with funding from the Canada Community Building Fund annual allocation. This was a timely position approval, as May 15 is Asset Management Awareness Day in B.C.

Council awarded a new fire engine contract award to Safetek Emergency Vehicles Ltd. for the purchase of a fire engine in the amount of $1,387,639. The vehicle is stock, which reduces the cost and lead time, and was identified in the 2024 budget as a replacement vehicle for the South End Fire Hall.

Councillor Mike Caljouw’s notice of motion that was introduced on May 1 was discussed and was approved. The motion asks that staff look at ways to streamline the Development Variance Permit application approval process by delegating minor variances to staff.

The next council meeting is on Tuesday, June 4 at 4pm. Note that this is a special meeting being added to the calendar to accommodate additional agenda items anticipated in June.

Thank you for reading and staying informed!

Rob Douglas, Mayor

Municipality of North Cowichan

T 250.746.3117