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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I happened to be in Ladysmith on 15 May 2020 when I came across a new Tent Site under construction on a vacant lot owned by the City of Ladysmith across from 11 Buller Street in downtown Ladysmith.
I noticed that Duncan Mayor Michelle Staples was present and apparently involved in the construction so I took some photographs of the site.
Here are some of the photos I took of the Buller Street Tent Site construction on 15 May 2020:
Here is a map showing the location of the Tent Site across from 11 Buller Street:
As I was taking these photos I was approached by Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone who wanted to know who I was and why I was taking photographs. Mayor Stone said that publishing photographs showing the faces of workers erecting the tent site would expose these workers to “aggressive actions” although he didn’t elaborate on who would initiate these “aggressive actions” or why these “aggressive actions” would be undertaken.
Here is a sort video on the One Cowichan YouTube channel of Jane Kilthei of One Cowichan and Cara Pike of Climate Access responding to my question about what a Climate Emergency Declaration actually entails and what One Cowichan expects local governments to actually do after passing a Climate Change Emergency Declaration.
It should be noted that the Mayor of Duncan, Michelle Staples, and at least two City of Duncan Councillors – Jenni Capps and Stacey Middlemiss – are members of One Cowichan, although they were not at the meeting at Duncan United Church on 22 July.
Several Municipality of North Cowichan Councillors – including Kate Marsh, Christopher Justice and Rosalie Sawrie – are also members of One Cowichan and were present at Duncan United Church for the One Cowichan meeting on 22 July.
Cara Pike of Climate Access referred to Vancouver’s Six Big Moves. Here are some articles about the City of Vancouver’s “Six Big Moves”:
We contacted Island Health on 25 April 2019 and asked for clarification of this Overdoes Advisory.
Our initial question was: “When you say “increase in overdoses” what are the actual figures? How many in the past week compared to whatever benchmark figure(s) you are using in comparison?”
Island Health responded within a few hours, saying: “Thank you for your question. During the week of Apr.14-20, there were 12 overdoses at the Cowichan OPS, which is more than double this site’s moving average (3.4 overdoses each week).”
She also voted in favour of Resolution 26, proposed by the City of Victoria:
“Safer Drug Supply to Save Lives [proposed by the City of Victoria]
WHEREAS It has been two years since B.C. declared a public-health emergency due to increased overdoses, yet the death toll for those consuming substances continues to rise due to an unpredictable and highly-toxic drug supply;
AND WHEREAS people with opioid use disorder, a chronic relapsing medical condition, are at high risk overdose-related harms including death and an estimated 42,200 people inject toxic substances in British Columbia, it is not possible for the treatment system to rapidly increase services fast enough to manage this number of people as “patients” within a medical treatment model given the many challenges in achieving and retaining the people on opioid use disorder treatment, people at risk of overdose in British Columbia do not have access to a safer alternative to the unpredictable, highly toxic drug supply:
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that in an effort to save lives and reduce harm due to an unpredictable and highly-toxic drug supply, and as part of a holistic response to the public-health emergency, including prevention, treatment, and recovery, that the Province of British Columbia work with local communities, Health Authorities across the Province, the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, and the Ministry of Health ensure that people at risk of overdose harm have access to safer alternatives.
Resolutions Committee recommendation: No Recommendation
Resolutions Committee comments:
The Resolutions Committee advises that while the UBCM membership has previously endorsed
resolutions calling for action by the provincial and federal governments to address overdose-related
harms, the membership has not previously considered a resolution asking the provincial government
to work specifically with local communities to ensure that people at risk of overdose harm have access
to safer alternatives.
On the issue of overdose, the membership has previously endorsed resolutions requesting publicly
available, anonymized, opioid prescription rates, by community (2018-B170), a comprehensive and
culturally safe public health approach to the opioid crisis (2018-B142, 2017-B71). ”
Our Comments: We have some major reservations about Resolution 26 because it is unclear what it means.
Are the City of Victoria and AVICC advocating giving pharmaceutical grade heroin to addicts through prescriptions? If that is the case, we think that will lead to a Cowichan Valley replication of the situation described in the video Seattle Is Dying, which we have posted on this website. We definitely cannot support that scenario or that policy.
Or, does Resolution 26 mean a program like the Rhode Island program described at the end of the Seattle Is Dying video? The Rhode Island program involves putting addicts on heroin replacements like Methadone and it is a program we could support if implemented in B.C.
We cannot say more at this time because Resolution 26, as written, is totally unclear about what a Safer Drug Supply to Save Lives program would look like.
Until clarification is provided, we reserve judgement on this proposal and Resolution. But we will oppose any effort to supply heroin addicts with pharmaceutical grade heroin by prescription if that is, in fact, what this Resolution entails.
Here is the video Seattle Is Dying, which we have posted on this website. We note that video had about 1,700,000 YouTube views when we first posted it on 1 April 2019. Today, it has had 2,652,865 views on YouTube.
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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.