Committee of the Whole Meeting:
  • The meeting opened with CRD Corporate Services General Manager D. Lokken who gave a brief presentation to Council on 2011 requisitions and invoices for North Saanich and provided a detailed spreadsheet for all CRD municipalities that I found helpful. It is noteworthy that of all three Saanich Peninsula municipalities, North Saanich pays the least amount to CREST (a good thing) which may have something to do with the voluntary nature of our emergency services, however, I will follow this up with Chief Gary Wilton.
  • A bylaw for cost recovery for illegal grow-ops was approved, making it possible for the municipality to recover its administrative costs when required to respond to local authorities and deal with health and safety issues where an illegal operation is reported.
  • A detailed proposed work plan to support and implement the Whole Agricultural Strategy was approved and referred to the Agricultural Advisory Commission for comments.
  • Staff and Agricultural Advisory Commission amendments to the existing signage bylaw were approved to make it easier for local growers and farmers to advertise and market using signage. It was noted that the existing bylaw was restrictive and limited what local farms and growers could do about signage to attract custom to their location or farm.
Council Meeting:
  • Council approved a future presentation of the CRD's Pedestrian and Cycling Master Plan (PCMP) which provides an opportunity to explain the Plan in some detail.
  • In response to two provincial organizations that sent letters to municipalities throughout the province calling for an end to MSP premiums for seniors, Council agreed to reply to the letters by sharing with the writers similar AVICC resolutions approved at the annual convention this past April. It is worth noting that BC appears to be one of the only provinces in Canada that requires MSP premiums.
  • A project that demonstrates the importance of our relationship with the Victoria Airport Authority (VAA) was highlighted when the Heritage Advisory Commission submitted a request to Council to approve a $16,000 budget to complete the Hospital Hill heritage site restoration. The best part is that the VAA will pick up the entire tab for this project as part of its ongoing commitment to supporting local improvements. Congratulations to the Heritage Advisory Commission and to North Saanich planning staff for such a great collaboration and a huge THANK YOU to the VAA.
  • Councilor Browne gave a report on CREST, during which he underscored his concerns about what he believes are high costs to North Saanich for being part of this service. I couldn't agree more, given that many of us for years have been concerned about the cost of CREST and its service delivery challenges.
  • Council approved the appointment of North Saanich Manager of Corporate Services Curt Kingsley as Chief Election Officer and CAO Rob Buchan and Admin. Secretary Jackie Gretchen as Deputy Chief Election Officers, positions to be served during the November municipal general election.
  • A lengthy debate followed a staff report that recommended approval of a development permit application for a waterfront property on Madrona Drive. I supported the staff recommendation, as did most of Council, however, Councilor Chandler had difficulty and concerns with what he believed were zoning issues involving a proposed set of stairs leading from the foreshore. The Mayor eventually suggested separating the motion into two parts, leaving the issue of the stairway to be addressed on its own. This would enable the applicants to proceed with most of the work on re-developing the property. As well, it was noted that the stairway will require approval from the Province of BC, adding oversight to any possible impacts on the foreshore. I also believe that the applicants demonstrated due diligence and completed a lot of preliminary professional work on the property before bringing the application forward. The entire application was finally approved in two motions and staff agreed to confirm zoning details.

NOTE: The next meeting(s) is Monday, August 22, 2011 at 7:00 P.M. Enjoy the summer, if I can call it that.