North Cowichan Councillor and Deputy Mayor Christopher Justice chaired the council meeting Sept. 16 in the absence of Mayor Al Siebring and formally thanked North Cowichan fire departments for excellent service.
North Cowichan firefighters supported dozens of other departments from across the Cowichan Valley and Nanaimo regions to contain a sizable industrial fire at Schnitzer Steel, south of the Nanaimo Airport.
In council business, consideration was given toward reopening the Cowichan Aquatic Centre, which has remained closed since March 16, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the closure, regular maintenance and the scheduled expansion and renovation of the facility has moved ahead.
Construction began on June 3 and is tentatively projected for completion by late 2020. While renovations will be ongoing, the Aquatic Centre can safely be reopened to patrons with a phased resumption of services as construction continues.
Council approved the staff’s plan to reopen the facility to the public under the provision of its COVID-19 Restoration of Programs & Services Plan. To protect the health and safety of all patrons and staff, all guidelines put forward by the Provincial Health Officer and senior levels of government will be observed.
The following three grant applications for federal and provincial funding were approved by council: to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program under the Community, Culture and Recreation stream for the Crofton to Maple Bay Trail project for a cost up to an estimated $2 million; to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program under the COVID-19 Resilience Stream for replacement of the Fuller Lake Arena roof and the Cowichan Aquatic Centre roof up to an estimated $2.4 million; and to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Municipal Asset Management Program for a grant of up to $50,000 so North Cowichan can continue with its next phase of asset management planning for major facilities and buildings.
Councillor Tek Manhas introduced a motion regarding illegal secondary suites in North Cowichan. Council directed staff to prepare a report identifying potential safety issues and financial liability and or/impacts to the municipality concerning existing illegal secondary suites. The report will be brought back to council at a future meeting.
Council considered a letter from various local organizations for an update on the specific actions and plans undertaken the Municipality to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Staff was directed to prepare a detailed response to the letter, including information on the Climate Action and Energy Plan update, other new initiatives undertaken by North Cowichan and Official Community Plan update policies that could reduce emissions.
The next meeting will take place electronically on Wednesday, Oct. 7 at 1:30 p.m.