Westward Independent

Council Watch: December 2023

by Westward Independent
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February 2023 Budget debate Cllr. Findlay brought forward an idea for councillors to forego their cost of living raise of ($175 per month) to be a good example to the constituents, especially when they were discussing a 17% increase in municipal taxes. Debated and opposed by all but Cllr. Findlay, and Cllr. Manhas.


February 2023 a motion was brought forward by Cllr. Findlay to send a letter to the Province supporting the return to work of nurses who were not vaccinated. Opposed: Cllr. Justice, Cllr. Calijouw, Cllr. Toporowski, Cllr. Istace, Mayor Douglas.

 

May 2023 council decided to change the wording in policies from ‘visible minority’ to ‘racialized’, even though the one visible minority on the council spoke against this, and did not like the new wording. Opposed: Cllr. Findlay, Cllr. Manhas.

 

September 2023 council saw two delegations come forward to plead their tax exemption status that was denied to them based on slanderous and false information sent to the council by a few people in the community. Camp Qwanoes was denied their yearly tax exemption. After a very concise, and heartfelt presentation, they were able to restore their annual tax relief with Cllr. Istace opposed. The next delegation that had been denied tax exemption status was The House Of Grace Pregnancy Centre. The representative from House of Grace was very clear that they do not counsel against abortion, but are the only centre that offers post-abortion counseling. The House of Grace Pregnancy Centre was denied tax exemption. Opposed to the exemption: Cllr. Istace. Cllr. Justice, Cllr. Toporowski, Mayor Douglas (in-depth article can be found in our October edition or at: wwind.ca/tax-exemptions-held-hostage/)

 

November 2023 Council voted to remove Tek Manhas from the CVRD delegation (one of the few paid positions for the council) on the CVRD board because “they only have four seats” and do not want to dilute the votes on the board with anyone who may vote differently and not in tandem with the three others. It was stated by the mayor that a motion could be put forward next year to reinstate Cllr. Manhas, however, that would be a 4-3 vote again, and would most likely fail. Opposed: Cllr. Findlay, Manhas, and Caljouw


November 2023 Council put forward a motion to have taxpayers pay for any lawyer needed in a conflict of interest case brought forward against a Councillor. Opposed: Cllr. Findlay.


November 2023 when the 2024 Budget was being presented to the council, Cllr. Findlay asked for a 3% cap on Taxes this year as people continue to struggle – Did not become a motion.


November 2023 Council decided to accelerate Step Code 3 and 4, six years ahead of the Province (effectively a natural gas ban) after fierce opposition by the public who were told that the council would follow the Climate Action Plan, and if the public did not like it, they could vote in three years. Opposed: Cllr. Manhas, Cllr. Findlay, Cllr. Caljouw.

 

December 2023 council was challenged by many community members regarding the Climate Action and Energy Plan being #1 on the CAO’s Budget page, over the actual Bylaw (OCP), and taking precedence over taxes and housing.

 

North Cowichan provides a leg-up toward Indigenous people, people who identify as a member of an equity-seeking group or a visible minority when appointing members to an advisory body. This is done through the council giving precedence to people within these groups.


Common themes: Construction is constantly being rejected based on the OCP, Climate Action Plan takes precedence over all other concerns (even though only 7% of residents stated climate as their priority).

 

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