Details of the North Cowichan council meeting of March 17 are as follows:
The meeting with a delegation from Cathy Peters who shared information about human sex trafficking, sexual exploitation and child sex trafficking in B.C. Peters shared information about the prevention and education work she’s been doing since the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act became law in 2014. Council passed a motion to bring the topic up at a future Committee of the Whole meeting to discuss further.
Council agreed to reorder the agenda to include Insp. Chris Bear of the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP in the discussion about police presence in the Chemainus and Crofton areas. An informal petition regarding the RCMP service levels was discussed. Bear reiterated how few resources the detachment currently has for proactive patrols, explaining that officers are spending the vast majority of their time actively responding to calls. Council passed a motion requesting staff to bring forward a formal report outlining the various options, including pros and cons, for increasing the police presence in Chemainus and Crofton.
A Zoning Amendment Application for 2772 Herd Rd. that would permit a second detached dwelling on the property was discussed. A two-family dwelling is permitted under the current A2 zoning, and this zoning amendment would reallocate the same density to two detached residential buildings. Council gave first and second reading, and the matter will return for a public hearing and third reading in the coming weeks.
Council then considered an Agricultural Land Commission Exclusion Application and Joint OCP-Zoning Amendment Application for 3137 Henry Rd. The application requests that a 2.1 hectare portion of the property be excluded from the ALR, and the zoning changed from Rural/ALR to Chemainus Industrial.
The property has a long history of non-compliance, including unauthorized building, incomplete permits and bylaw contraventions. In recent years, the new owner has completed significant site remediation on the property. After much discussion, council voted to authorize the application be forwarded to the Agricultural Land Commission recommending exclusion from the Agricultural Land Reserve be approved. Council also gave first reading to OCP and Zoning Amendment Bylaws that would reclassify the subject property from Rural Restricted (A3) zone to Light Industrial (I1) zone. This will come back before council for further consideration after the Agriculture Land Commission has made its decision.
Council gave pre-budget approval for 2021 Parks and Recreation capital projects. These include: re-roofing the Cowichan Aquatic Centre; Kinsmen Beach Park washroom replacement; Kaspa parking lot washroom upgrade; Nevilane parking lot upgrades (including a washroom)’ Maple Bay Park and Fuller Lake Park septic system replacements; and Evans Ball Park Barn upgrades. Council agreed to give the projects, which will all be funded through grants, pre-budget approval, allowing them to proceed now before the 2021 budget is finalized.
A request from the Chemainus Rotary Club to install a new mural on the north end of the Chemainus bunker was considered. Council agreed to authorize the installation of the mural and signage, and directed staff to work with the Chemainus Festival of Murals Society on the installation.
There was also pre-budget approval for the Fuller Lake re-roofing capital project. Grant funding for the project was denied. The current roof was installed in 1991 and exceeded its expected lifespan. The goal is to complete the project during the slower season at the arena to limit the disruption of programming and services. With a total project cost of $870,000, council agreed to fund the project with $150,000 from general revenues and $720,000 from the Infrastructure Replacement Reserve Fund.
The regular council meeting then moved into a public hearing for a Zoning Amendment Bylaw that would allow cannabis sales at 2763 Beverly St. On Feb. 17, council agreed to rescind a previous third reading on the application in order to hold a second public hearing so late correspondence from Cowichan Tribes could be considered. After hearing from members of the public and the proponent, council voted against third reading, defeating the application.
Council considered Councillor Rob Douglas’ motion to reinstate public engagement for the Municipal Forest Reserve. Last summer, council agreed to pause the public engagement process in order to consult with local First Nations to better understand their interests in the activities within the MFR. Nearing the final stages in the development of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Cowichan Nation, the proposed motion sought to move forward with public engagement, which will be used to inform the technical review of North Cowichan’s forest management practices and provide a recommendation for future forest management. Council defeated the motion at this time, with some councillors expressing a desire to wait until the MOU with the Cowichan Nation is finalized and signed.
Council then approved the following actions prior to finalizing the Climate Action and Energy Plan update: that the Environmental Advisory Committee complete its review of the draft policies and actions and have its recommendations to council by May 15; that staff conduct a prioritization workshop using multi-criteria analysis process; and the EAC review the report draft and make recommendations to council.
The next meeting will take place electronically on Wednesday, April 7 at 1:30 p.m.