Council reduces tax levy on light industry during marathon meeting

Letter being written with concerns about cannabis production facilities in the ALR

North Cowichan council decided to reduce the Class 5 (Light Industry) tax levy by 2.5 per cent after rigourous debate as part of a marathon seven-hour meeting April 4.

The balance of the levy will be distributed across the remaining property classes in the same proportion as the 2017 property taxes.

Council heard from a delegation representing United for a Paws, a newly formed organization pursuing animal welfare in the Cowichan Valley. The delegation requested council revise its Animal Control Bylaw to include animal welfare components. In response, council requested a staff report with recommended changes.

The annual report was received from the Crofton, Chemainus, and Maple Bay wharf manager. In addition to managing moorage at the wharves, the manager recommends and undertakes an annual maintenance program. In 2017, pressure washing of all docks and significant clean-up activities were conducted in Crofton and Maple Bay.

One of two motions passed at the meeting directs staff to prepare a report reviewing council remuneration, including the impacts of the planned Canada Revenue Agency changes in 2019.

The second motion authorized Mayor Jon Lefebure to send a letter to the Minister of Agriculture reinforcing council’s concerns with cannabis production facilities on properties in the Agricultural Land Reserve. Council prefers they be located on industrial-zoned lands. The letter will also state if the ministry continues to allow cannabis production in the ALR that local governments be given authority to institute development permit guidelines to address the location of facilities.

At a previous meeting, council directed staff to consider installing speed tables in the playground area of Queen Street in Crofton, as contemplated in North Cowichan’s traffic calming study. Speed tables have proven quite effective in reducing traffic speeds and cost approximately $5,000 to install, which staff advises is reasonable compared to other measures.

Council proceeded into a closed meeting and directed staff to prepare and carry-out a communications plan on council’s decision to support a revised design concept for the Willow Street affordable housing project in Chemainus.

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