Westward Independent

Council Watch – March

by Westward Independent
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Feb/March 2024
Duncan council met to reconsider their scramble crosswalk. Concerns noted about traffic backing up along Canada Ave. Protected left turns are now being considered as they accomplish the same goal of “protecting pedestrians.”
The Official Community Plan (OCP), which includes the UN 17 Sustainable Goals, was adopted with Cllr. McKinlay and Cllr. Bruce opposed.
With Duncan officially recognizing UNDRIP in their OCP, Councillors Bruce and Mckinlay considered the potential impact of what the term ‘unceded’ means and asked if it may be passed by a lawyer for clarification. Mayor Staples indicated that questioning such things was akin to conspiracy theories.
The council Voted on the highest level of step code in new buildings, which removes natural gas as an option.

Feb/March 2024
March saw a large protest outside the CVRD building when people learned of the almost 20% tax increase. The room was filled with onlookers and the speakers list was at its maximum, as the board listened to the grievances around their budget. One grievance was the sudden increase to the ‘parkland acquisition’ fund from over 900k to 2.2 million. During the deliberations, Rob Douglas suggested a few minor cut backs, but the board felt they were not significant enough. When the question was called about the ‘parkland acquisition fund’ Director Nicholson was the first to shoot up her hand to raise taxes for the fund, yet it failed and the fund was reduced back to 900k a year. Rob Douglas mentioned Canada’s 30 by 30 plan, suggesting that the CVRD will be looking at ‘protecting’ 30% of its land and 30% of its water from humans by 2030. Takes then fell to just over 16% increase, suggesting the last-minute increase, allowed the board to claw that 3% back to ‘look good’.
Other funding in the budget included: Further funding toward parks, parkland, and active transportation. Increase the Capital Expenditure, vehicles and machinery from $75,000 to $125,000; and increase the transfer from the 2023 Surplus from $0 to $50,000. General Government (Information Technology) $540,000. Regional Housing Trust Fund to provide short-term financing for $517,862.19 to support the purchase of property located at 447 Festubert Street, to establish affordable housing units and support services for adults experiencing homelessness.

North Cowichan:
Feb/March 2024
Councillor Toporowski recused herself from voting on the West Vista Terrace Development, promising nearly 200 homes near Herd Rd, the development caused much controversy for council, which is outlined on pages 8-9 in our current edition.
Councillor Justice was successful in persuading council to ask the Ministry of Transportation to get public feedback on the proposed overpass across the Trans Canada Highway by the new school.
Hidden amid routine policy, the council passed Bylaw No. 3948, allowing any person acting on behalf of the district to be a bylaw officer, including authorized use of force.
Council voted to increase Sewer and Water Parcel taxes for Chemainus, Crofton, and South End sewer services and increase water parcel taxes for Chemainus and South End water services.

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