Gaping space left where Chemainus Elementary School used to be. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Gaping space left where Chemainus Elementary School used to be. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Zoning Amendment Bylaw for old Elementary School site given first two readings

Public hearing will offer another chance for feedback later

North Cowichan Council has given first and second reading to a Zoning Amendment Bylaw for the redevelopment of the old Chemainus Elementary School site.

North Cowichan received input from the Chemainus community earlier this year, and it was recommended by the Chemainus Advisory Committee that the rezoning of the property include greenspace for a fenced food forest, fenced dog park, and a family use area. In addition, there are proposed single family lots, as well as a lot for multi-family affordable townhouses.

The next step is a public hearing where we additional input will be heard from the public.

That was part of another long agenda for council at its Aug. 16 meeting, closing at 8:40 p.m.

The meeting began with a presentation from the Cowichan Valley Regional District’s Manager of Environmental Services. The CVRD has launched New Normal Cowichan, a multi-phased project aimed at taking action on climate adaptation.

The final report on Phase 1 of the project was presented, Climate Projections for the Cowichan Valley Regional District. It provided an interesting look at how climate change will affect the Cowichan Valley with wetter winters, hotter and drier summers, and an increase in extreme weather events are projected for the 2050s and 2080s.

Staff presented an initial outlook for the 2018 – 2022 Financial Plan and 2018 Budget. Residents can look forward to community consultation and town hall meetings during the budget process and those will take place at the end of October.

Council heard a report from the Planning and Sustainability division that the department has been processing more than 500 inquiries per month over the last several months. The department has also been tasked with leading a number of significant, long-term projects, and council heard it will not be feasible to complete all these projects before the next municipal election.

After lengthy discussion, council confirmed staff should continue to prioritize customer service and development applications. In addition, council prioritized the following strategic initiatives: review of Official Community Plan policies, review of the Urban Containment Boundary in the Gibbins Road area, the Bell McKinnon Local Area Plan, affordable housing and secondary suites zoning changes, and redevelopment of the Chemainus elementary school property. Council will also consider whether to include an additional Community Planner in the budget for 2018.

The next regular Council meeting is on Wednesday, Sept. 6.