New water storage reservoir approved for Crofton

North Cowichan will be spending more than half of an additional one-time top-up of Federal Gas Tax Funds on a new water storage reservoir to better service Crofton and the recently approved Commons at Osborne Bay housing project.

Council considered a staff report at its Dec. 4 meeting that noted the developer of the Commons at Osborne Bay has been unable to move forward on the project due to the limitations of the current reservoir that cannot support increased demand. As a result, North Cowichan and the developer have been seeking ways to work together and fund a new reservoir.

North Cowichan received an additional one-time top-up of Federal Gas Tax Funds this year of $1.328 million. Staff proposed $700,000 from the grant be put towards construction of a new water reservoir. The developer would then be responsible for providing a turn-key project, including completed construction of the reservoir.

Unanimous approval came from council to spend the proposed portion of the Gas Tax Fund for the new reservoir.

Council heard from Chemainus’ Cowichan Neighbourhood Association in the first of the delegations at the meeting.

President Chrissy Kemppi and Arlene Robinson gave a summary of activities and resources provided free of charge for all ages and socio-economic groups including such things as workshops, Naloxone training, yoga classes and fruit/vegetable canning classes.

The CHNA depends on donations to operate and receives contributions from the community almost daily, but expressed the need for ongoing support as programs continue to grow. North Cowichan has provided funding for the CHNA for many years, and Kemppi expressed deep gratitude and requested North Cowichan’s continued support.

Council also heard from a delegation from Wildsafe BC Program coordinator, Amanda Crowston, who explained the organization evolved from Bear Aware BC. Its mandate is to keep both wildlife and communities safe while offering educational programs for communities.

Wildsafe BC has been operating on Vancouver Island for three years, and can only operate in communities that fund the program. As a result of North Cowichan’s funding, Wildsafe BC has held ongoing information sessions in North Cowichan schools to educate the public about bear safety. Crowston thanked North Cowichan for supporting Wildsafe BC and hopes the two can continue working together in the years to come.

Council voted unanimously to give first, second, and third readings to a bylaw that formally repeals 52 irrelevant, outdated or obsolete bylaws. Many of these dated back to 1914 and regulated anything from youth under 16 entering pool halls unchaperoned by adults or how fast one could ride or steer any animal on municipal roads. One bylaw even regulated the permissible width of wagon tires.

A zoning amendment bylaw was approved unanimously to permit a retail cannabis store at 8432 Trans-Canada Highway, beside the Red Rooster Restaurant on Mount Sicker Road.

The next regular council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 18 at 1:30 p.m.

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