Under Agenda Item 6. Delegations, Item 6.1 is “Roberta Randall, Manager, Community & Tenant Affairs, and Heidi Hartman, Director of Operations, Vancouver Island Region, BC Housing – White Road Supportive Housing Development Community Engagement”. Roberta Randall and Heidi Hartman will be making a presentation to Duncan Council in support of this new development at 260 White Road.
If this proposed development goes ahead it will have a major impact on this neighbourhood and will create several significant issues.
The first issue is Access to White Road.
White Road is a narrow dead end street which in only one block in length. Its only access point is at the intersection of White Road and Jubilee Street. The .427 acre lot at 260 White Road has no access on Lukaitis Lane to the south. Short of purchasing or expropriating existing adjacent properties on Lukaitis Lane to the south there is no possibility of increasing access to White Road.
This proposed facility will require parking for staff. There is no little space for parking on White Road and there would likely be little space for parking on a .427 acre lot with 50 units of supported housing.
A 50 unit supportive housing project under 24 supervision and providing meals and laundry service for residents will significant deliveries of food and supplies. These deliveries would presumably have to be made by truck. There is currently no space on White Road for trucks to turn around. There would likely have to be space made available on the .427 acre lot at 260 White Road for a truck turn around. This would presumably mean less space for low level housing, which would mean a higher building to accommodate up to 50 units of housing.
That leads to the second issue, which is Density.
White Road and the neighbourhood around White Road are comprised primarily of low rise, detached, single family residential properties.
A proposed development of “up to 50 new, permanent, purpose built supportive housing units” on a .427 acre lot will undoubtedly require a multi level building which will be much higher than the surrounding properties. There are currently no other buildings in this neighbourhood with anything close to 50 units of housing.
Illustrations of both these buildings show facilities which are of a density and height which are definitely on a far larger scale than we think is feasible foe the neighbourhood around 260 White Road.
As an example, here is a map showing the location of Orca Place at 222 Corfield Street South in Parksville. Note the area has far more open space than does the neighbourhood around 260 White Road. Compare the map below with the map of 260 White Road above.
Here is a Google Street View image of the lot at 222 Corfield Street South in Parksville prior to construction of the BC Housing Supportive Housing facility at Orca Place. Note that this lot is far wider and far larger than the lot at 260 White Road. It is also in an area with far fewer existing houses than the area around 260 White Road.
As a local Cowichan Valley example of this, we will simply point to the situation along Lewis Street and York Road around the Warmlands Shelter. We suggest Duncan residents do not want a replication of Lewis Street in the area of 260 White Road.
We will adding more to this post later.
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Committee of the Whole Recommendations from March 18, 2019
7.1.1. Rack Card Distribution
That Council approve the renewal of the Victoria/Vancouver Island distribution portion of the Certified Folder Display contract, July 1 to October 31, 2019 and May 1– June 30, 2020;
And That Council approve the new line item in the Tourism Budget, of approximately $5,715 for Social Media/Online Advertising, funded in part from the difference in funds reallocated from rack card revision, print and Certified Folder distribution;
And That Council approve the Tourism Budget as attached to the March 18, 2019, Corporate Services Coordinator’s Rack Card Distribution report.”
Here are links to some of the City of Duncan documents associated with Item 7.1.1:
Councillor Tom Duncan said that rack cards on BC Ferries are not as effective they were in the past. He suggested keeping rack cards in hotels but not bother anymore with rack cards on BC Ferries. He suggested the City of Duncan concentrate instead on social media advertising. We agree with that.
There was no further discussion or questions from Council. The Motion passed unanimously.
Advisory Committee on Disability Issues Recommendations from February 25, 2019
Emergency Preparedness Workbook
That Council direct staff to continue promoting the free Emergency Preparedness Workbook through the City’s social media page, website and newsletter;
And That Council direct staff to encourage the Downtown Duncan Business Improvement Association to advise their members that the Emergency Preparedness Workbook is available for pick-up at City Hall.
Here are some links to City of Duncan documents related to this Motion:
That Council direct staff to communicate out to the public, once confirmed, that Country Cabs Duncan Ltd. now has a wheelchair accessible cab available in their fleet, as well as communicate how many accessible cabs the other local cab companies maintain.
Here are link to some City of Duncan documents relating to this Motion:
Councillor Garry Bruce asked whether this Motion meant that the City of Duncan was advertising for a private company, i.e. Country Cabs Ltd. Councillor Newington says that the City of Duncan is just adding Country Cabs Ltd. to an existing City of Duncan list of taxi companies which maintain Accessible vehicles.
The Motion passed unanimously with no further discussion.
City Walk About Report
That Council direct the Director of Public Works and Development Services to review the issues highlighted in the City Walk About Report of May 28, 2018, contact Cowichan Tribes regarding areas of concern that impact both jurisdictions, and report to the Committee of the Whole meeting prior to the end of May 2019, on the status of the highlighted issues.
Here are links to some City of Duncan documents related to this Motion:
That Council direct staff to promote tips for reducing plastic straws and single-use plastics on the City’s social media page, website and newsletter, while educating on the need for limited use of plastic straws particularly for people with disabilities.
Here are some City of Duncan documents relating to this Motion:
[Our comments: we think this issue of plastic straws has been well debated elsewhere so we hope the City of Duncan does not spend too much money and staff time on this. Anyone interested in this issue can find many information sources on this through a simple Google search.]
Duncan Disability Rack Card
That Council authorize staff to mail the Advisory Committee on Disability Issues rack cards to seniors’ housing facilities, for approximately $40, including but not limited to: Cairnsmore Place, Duncan Manor, Duncan Kiwanis Village, Sherwood House, SunridgePlace, Wedgwood House and Valley Seniors Organization.
Passed unanimously with no discussion or questions.
Reports of Staff
That Council repeal the Downtown Towing Policy, as approved on March 18, 2019;
And That Council approve the Towing Policy, as attached to the April 1, 2019, report by the Director of Corporate Services.
Here are links to some City of Duncan documents on this issue:
This Motion was passed unanimously with no discussion or questions from Council.
City Square Management Agreement
That Council abandon the practice of considering the payment to the Downtown Duncan Business Improvement Area (DDBIA) for managing City Square a “grant” and instead characterize the payment as a “fee for service”;
And That Council instruct staff to amend the City Square Management Agreement with the DDBIA to include a $4,000 fee for service for managing all events in City Square, other than the Farmers’ Market;
And That the City Square Management Agreement also reflect a $3,000 contribution from the DDBIA to the City, out of the rents they receive from the Farmers’ Market, to partially compensate the City for parking management, hydro, and garbage collection.
Here is a link to a City of Duncan document on this issue:
This passed unanimously with no discussion or questions from Council.
Councillor Tom Duncan stated he agreed with this policy. This policy is supported by the City of Duncan CAO and, according to the CAO, by the DDBIA.
Councillor Garry Bruce wanted more information on the financial figures involved. So do we.
We will send a request to the City of Duncan for more information on these financial figures and we will posted them in future.
9. New Business – none
Bylaws – First, Second, Third Reading
That Council give first three readings to “Fees and Charges Amendment Bylaw No. 3192, 2019” – a bylaw to establish the cannabis licence application fee at $300, plus the cost of the required public input process.
Here are some links to City of Duncan documents on this issue of Cannabis Licensing for Retail Cannabis Operations:
Paige McWilliam explained that the Licensing Fee has been set at $300.00 because that is the current licensing fee for Liquor operations in Duncan. License fees are set at the same $300.00 fee as liquor outlet licensing fee because the approval process for both types of location is similar. She also noted that other municipalities charge for license AND public input process.
The Motion passed unanimously with no discussion or questions from Council.
Reports From Mayor And Councillors
Councillor Bob Brooke – attended Housing For Humanity meeting and was impressed by the Habitat For Humanity Business Plan. We will do some research on this and post what we find.
Councillor Jenni Capps – went to premiere of a local movie called A Just Society, which is about the opioid crisis in the Cowichan Valley. Councillor Stacey Middlemiss was apparently involved in the production of this video in her private capacity.
We have not seen this video of A Just Society. so we cannot comment on it at this stage. We looked for it on YouTube but were unable to find it. [See our post about the Seattle Is Dying video]
Councillor Tom Duncan – attended Island Savings Centre Board meeting. The “Naming rights” are up for discussion. Ground has been broken for the new Chemainus Library, which will be opening later this year.
Mayor Staples –
Commissionaires have new uniforms, which look “dashing”. [Note: we have asked the CAO about the Duncan (formerly) Commissionaires having been hired as City of Duncan employees. We will post that information when we get it.]
Commented favourably on the movie A Just Society mentioned earlier by Councillor Capps. [See our post about the Seattle Is Dying video]
Attended CVRD Board discussions, which focused particularly on storm damage in December 2018 and the need for emergency planning.
“Housing continuum” see slide: The Housing Spectrum, page 2 of PowerPoint
“Housing Hub” – BC Housing working with developers and municipalities to help them gain access to low cost financing to build market rental housing.
PRHC – Provincial Rental Housing Corporation: it’s a branch of BC Housing
The BC provincial Budget provides $7 billion to be spent on building housing over the next ten years under the Community Housing Program;
Community Housing Program funds not available until 2020 but BC Housing is encouraging municipalities to start planning now for Community Housing Program funding which will be available starting in 2020.
At this stage, BC Housing is not looking at specific site selection. Instead, it is encouraging municipalities to develop plans now so they can apply for Community Housing Program funding which will be available starting in 2020. [See “Role of the Municipality” page 7 in the PowerPoint.]
This motion calls for the City of Duncan to look at development proposals on land owned by the City of Duncan. For information purposes, here is a post on City of Duncan property potentially available for new housing which I put online during the election campaign in the fall of 2018.Councillor Bob Brooke asked whether Kirsten Baillie had CMHC Average Rents. She didn’t. There were no other questions. The Motion carried unanimously.
Agenda Item 5.2 – Amy Melmock, CVRD Economic Development Manager
Councillor Stacey Middlemiss had to leave the room because of a conflict of interest.
Mayor Staples wanted two Council members as liason to the Cowichan Community Action Team instead of the liason and one alternate requested. Mayor Staples wanted herself and Council Jenni Copps in these positions.
Item 8.1.2. – Yearly Ongoing Grant in Aid – Chamber of Commerce
That Council direct staff to determine a business licence based funding formula using the number of business licences issued in Duncan and North Cowichan (south end) for the grant in aid for the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce, for the Cowichan Visitor Information Centre, to be included in the 2019 financial plan (approximately $26,000);
And That Council direct staff to meet with North Cowichan staff and the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce to discuss the business licence based funding formula for the Cowichan Visitor Information Centre.
Councillor Tom Duncan noted there are approximately 5000 people in Duncan and 30,000 people in the Municipality of North Cowichan, yet the City of Duncan is paying the same amount (approximately $26,000/year) as the Municipality of North Cowichan is paying to subsidize the Chamber of Commerce. Councillor Duncan said the City of Duncan is having a problem paying half the annual cost of the Chamber of Commerce and suggested the Chamber of Commerce look at alternate funding sources like hotel taxes.
The Motion carried with no further discussion.
Our Comments: we agree with Councillor Duncan that this Ongoing Grant In Aid needs to be reviewed. But we don’t think hotel taxes are a good alternative option. We will be watching for future developments on this.
Council Members Present at the Meeting – Mayor Michelle Staples; Council members Bob Brooke, Jenni Copps, Stacy Middlemiss. Councillor Garry Bruce was not physically present but “attended” the meeting by phone. Absent: Councillors Tom Duncan and Carol Newington.
This presentation consisted of Inspector Bear basically just reading through the highlights of the written Quarterly Update. It took about 13 minutes and there were no questions from Council and no discussion by Council.
BC Provincial Budget 2018 has allocated $1 billion for Child Care over next 3 years;
There is an Application deadline of 18 January 2019 for local governments to apply to the Province for planning funds of up to $25,000 per local government. These funds are to be used for planning Child Care facilities within local government jurisdictions;
Michelle Kirby encouraged the City of Duncan to partner with the CVRD and Municipality of North Cowichan to apply for $75,000 in planning funding. This $75,000 figure represents $25,000 per local government (3 local governments x $25,000 / local government = $75.000)
There is a Province of BC program for subsidizing local governments partnering with non-profit child care providers to supply child care in local government owned facilities.
No questions from Council. This presentation went from 1814-1830.
Following this presentation a motion was passed: That Council support partnering with the Cowichan Valley Regional District to submit an application to the UBCM Community Child Care Planning Program to undertake a child care needs assessment within the Cowichan region.
Cairnsmore Neighbourhood Plan – MacAdam Park Neighbourhood Open House
Meeting scheduled with BC Housing on grant applications for housing. [Note: given the attention to housing issues in the recent municipal election we will be following this topic closely. We will ask about the result of this meeting and post what we find.]
The CAO Report was only 4 minutes from 1839 to 1843. There were no questions from Council and no discussion by Council.
Other municipalities, including Langford and Cumberland, have done more research on this topic than has the City of Duncan. The City of Duncan staff wants to watch municipalities like Langford and Cumberland to see what happens in those jurisdictions before finalizing recommendations to Council on Cannabis retailing in Duncan.
Councillor Jenni Copps asked:
does this apply to existing businesses which might apply for cannabis retailing licenses or just to newly formed businesses? Answer: Nobody knows yet.
has City of Duncan had discussions with Municipality of North Cowichan, CVRD and Cowichan Tribes on Cannabis licensing issues? What happens if a proposed cannabis retail location in Duncan is within 150m – 400m of a jurisdiction border? Answers: Staff has had a meeting with North Cowichan, CVRD and Cowichan Tribes but nothing definite yet. Staff says there have been No agreements with other neighbouring jurisdictions yet on any matters relating to Cannabis retailing.
CAO Peter de Verteuil stated that City of Duncan staff recommendations on Cannabis retailing are in line with what other jurisdictions are doing. Queries about starting Cannabis retail operations in Duncan are coming from companies, not from individuals. Langford and Cumberland are ahead of Duncan on developing Bylaws on Cannabis retailing so Duncan can watch these other jurisdictions to see what happens there.
Item 8.0 was Unanimously passed by Council. Discussion of this item took place between 1844-1907
8.5 Cultural Connections Workshops – The Village Project: The Journey of Our Generation
This item asked Council to approve the following motion:
That Council approve sending all staff hired since January 1, 2016, and all new Council members, to the “Cultural Connections workshops” organized by Social Planning Cowichan at a cost of approximately $41.33 per person.
This motion was passed by Council. All present voted in favour; Councillor Garry Bruce voted against the motion.
Our comments on Item 8.5: Given Mayor Staples’ active involvement in Social Planning Cowichan [she was the Executive Director of Social Planning Cowichan until October 2018 and, as far as we know, is still an active member] we are very wary of any training being given to City of Duncan staff and Council members by Social Planning Cowichan. The fact that Social Planning Cowichan will be paid ($41.33 per attendee according to the Motion) by the City of Duncan to deliver this training workshop to City of Duncan staff and Council members is also a matter of concern to us. We will be following this closely.
8.6 Reports of Mayor and Council.
No Councillor reports.
Report by Mayor Staples: Raising Riel flag was done for Riel Day and she wants to continue this in future years; she recommends seeing a current Cowichan Valley Museum Museum display on Japanese internment during World war II, residential schools, racism, portrait of Simon Charlie.
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