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Chemainus River Campground application back to the forefront

Long-standing issue of exclusion from the ALR now formally being considered

North Cowichan council’s meeting of March 2 included the following highlights:

During Mayor Al Siebring’s report, he noted the application to exclude the Chemainus River Campground from the Agricultural Land Reserve is back to the forefront.

“Recently, I toured the property with the two island ALC commissioners, and noted the lack of agricultural capacity of the property and the need to use lots of water from river,” Siebring added. “Our application is now being formally considered, and we look forward to the outcome of this longstanding issue.”

The new RCMP labour contract was discussed last week by the Union of B.C. Municipality’s Local Government Contract Management Committee. The Province is sending letters to each municipality with RCMP contracts that will outline the retroactive impact of the recently negotiated contract. Staff received North Cowichan’s letter this week. Staff is continuing to analyze North Cowichan’s budgetary impacts.

Keith Lawrence, senior environmental analyst, and Kate Miller, manager of environmental services for the Cowichan Valley Regional District presented their Regional Climate Adaptation and Risk Management Strategy.

The multi-phased program started in 2014 with the development of projections, and Phase 3 completed last year with the adoption of the Adaption and Risk Management Strategy. Phase 4, the Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Strategy, is now being finalized, and Phase 5, the Implementation Strategy, is underway with presentations, meetings with staff and sharing the joint strategy and implementation road map with the community later this spring/summer.

Joanne Sales of Broombusters Invasive Plant Society updated council on its successes and challenges, and requested permission and assistance to cut and remove broom from public roads and parks. Broom is a highly invasive and flammable weed, and Broombusters offers solutions and opportunities to reduce and remove it.

The Parcel Tax Bylaw and Fees & Charges Amendment Bylaw received first three readings. The changes will update the utility fees for water and sewer and introduce a Parcel Tax Bylaw to establish utility parcel tax rates for 2022.

A Development Permit for a Mixed Use Building at 9744 Willow Street in Chemainus was approved. The development permit with variances is for a mixed use building with a variance to decrease the required height for a loading zone space from five metres to three metres.

The Crofton Fire Hall Building Replacement Project was referred back to staff.

An Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program Grant Application was endorsed by council. The application for grant funding will be for the Crofton Sewage Treatment Plant Clarifier Project and includes a commitment of $935,000 to the project, as well as any additional costs that might arise as the project unfolds.

Staff will prepare a report about volunteer appreciation for an upcoming meeting. Volunteers play an important role in North Cowichan and include committee members, working groups, trail stewardship organizations, fire department volunteer members and many more.

Council directed Siebring to write a letter in support of the BC Wildfires Petition. A letter from the Town of Oliver to the Member of Parliament for South Okanagan-West Kootenay calling for better forest management and wildfire protection was received for information.

The next council meeting is Wednesday, March 16 at 1:30 p.m.