North Cowichan council adopted the Housing Agreement Bylaw and leases for the new proposed affordable housing projects on Willow Street in Chemainus and Sherman Road in Duncan during its regular meeting on Dec. 2.
Council considered replacing the current Nuisance Bylaw and the Untidy and Unsightly Premises Bylaw with two new regulatory bylaws: the Controlled Substance Bylaw and the Nuisance Abatement and Cost Recovery Bylaw. Both of these aim to speed up the process for dealing with violations.
The Controlled Substance Bylaw is largely the same as the Nuisance Bylaw, however, it includes modernized language and updated regulations to reflect the decriminalization of personal production of cannabis. Regulations have been expanded to provide authority to inspectors to enter onto properties to conduct inspections, post notices and carry out remedial work or discontinue water services, where appropriate.
The Nuisance Abatement Bylaw seeks to establish a process for imposing costs that may be recovered and applied as property taxes when a property owner fails to mitigate a nuisance on their property. Nuisance includes noise, odours, garbage, offensive materials, overgrown vegetation, graffiti and other offences.
Similar to the Controlled Substance Bylaw, this bylaw also requires property owners/occupiers to take action to clean up the property and authorizes North Cowichan to carry out remedial work when the owner fails to take action. Council gave first, second and third reading to both bylaws, and will adopt them at a future meeting.
As 2020 comes to an end, council considered the proposed 2021 Council and Committee of the Whole public meeting schedule. Council decided to continue holding Committee of the Whole meetings every second Tuesday at 6 p.m. and accepted staff’s proposed schedule with a couple of minor amendments.
The first regular council meeting in January will begin at 4 p.m. instead of 1:30 p.m. and the second regular council meeting in September will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 21 instead of Sept. 22.
Council approved a Committee of the Whole recommendation to include an RCMP Office Supervisor/Police Support Services position in the 2021 budget, effective Jan. 1, 2021. The position would be funded by converting a part-time position to full time and covering the balance of the cost through savings in the existing RCMP contract. As a result, the position does not require an increase in the budget.
Under new business, Council considered a motion to direct staff to work with the Cowichan Housing Association to develop an Affordable Housing Policy and Implementation Strategy.
Due to possible implications on staff capacity in undertaking the work, council deferred consideration until the next meeting to allow for the second round of staff’s business plan presentations to occur on Dec. 8. Departmental business planning is the first step in annual budget deliberations and provides insight into staff’s priorities in the coming year.
The next meeting will take place electronically on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020, at 1:30 p.m.