North Cowichan council met for two hours Sept. 6.
Mayor’s Rob Douglas’ report included the following updates:
* “I have continued to advocate to the senior levels of government for support to address the major challenges we face at the local level and am pleased to report that in recent weeks I was able to speak directly with two of our provincial cabinet ministers about our priorities at North Cowichan.
“I met with the Minister of Environment & Climate Change, George Heyman, to discuss the current water quality issues with Quamichan Lake, the work North Cowichan has undertaken in response and the need for provincial funding for an aeration system to clean up the lake, similar to what is being done for Elk Lake.
“Councillor Debra Toporowski and I met with the Minister of Transportation & Infrastructure, Rob Fleming, to discuss the urgency of replacing the BC Ferries Terminal in Crofton; North Cowichan’s focus on encouraging more active transportation (walking, cycling) and infrastructure projects that align with provincial funding programs; and plans for infrastructure upgrades in the Bell McKinnon corridor to support future development surrounding the new hospital.
* “Our Cowichan Communities Health Network, in partnership with Island Health, has launched a new health survey to capture local data on the health and well-being of Cowichan Valley residents to help shape regional programs, services and policies. I would encourage North Cowichan residents to complete the survey at: www.ourhealthourcommunity.ca
* “I recently joined the Cowichan Valley Regional District director for Cobble Hill, Mike Wilson, for a meeting with the Saunders Foundation to learn about their Healthcare System Support Playbook which provides a road map for local communities, including municipal government, to support their health care and emergency personnel. Developed in partnership with the Ministry of Health, this playbook could be helpful to our municipality as we look at ways to attract more family physicians to the area and support specialty medical services on lands surrounding the new regional hospital.”
Jane Kilthei and Valerie Russell, on behalf of Cowichan Climate Hub, presented to council on the indoor air quality health risks of using natural gas and the BC Energy Step Code.
The Towing and Vehicle Impound Bylaw and the Fees and Charges Amendment Bylaw were adopted. These bylaws authorize the removal, impoundment and release of trailers and vehicles parked in violation of the traffic and/or highway use bylaws and amends the related fees for towing and impoundment.
The Sewer Services User Fee Amendment Bylaw received first three readings. This bylaw amendment will ensure consistency with user fee practices and compliance with provincial legislation and is necessary now that North Cowichan issues separate bills for utility charges.
A request from the Cowichan Valley Regional District to consider a regional planning service was supported in principle, provided the primary purpose of the planning function would develop, implement and administer a regional growth strategy for the Cowichan region.
The ‘Three Generations’ sculpture in Chemainus will be moved to Waterwheel Park, following a request to the Chemainus Festival of Murals Society to move it from its current location on Willow Street. The sculpture was crafted by the late Sandy Clark and is accompanied by a later painted backdrop.
Council agreed to support the M’akola Housing Society with a $3,500 grant-in-aid for the 2023 Every Child Matters Walk, to be held on Monday, October 2. This day is the statutory holiday for the Sept. 30 National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
Council endorsed the Accessibility Action Plan and to encourage the public to share any additional barriers they or someone they care for have encountered. The plan identifies and works toward removing accessibility barriers related to municipal infrastructure, programs, services and information. The Accessibility Action Plan, survey and interactive map can be found at www.connectnorthcowichan.ca/accessibilityplan
Council authorized the mayor to write a letter in support of Canadian Bavarian + Millwork Lumber Ltd. for its application to the BC Manufacturing Jobs Fund Program grant.
Council also authorized Michael Indge be granted after-hours use of Chemainus Lake Park for harvesting invasive American bullfrogs for personal consumption and to work with staff to address safety and liability risks prior to harvesting.
The next council meeting takes place Tuesday, Sept. 26, at 5 p.m.