Courtenay Council Meeting Highlights for August 30
September 1, 2023
This update covers highlights from the August 30, 2023 Council meeting. If there’s something from the meeting that you’d like more detail on, the full agenda, video, and minutes (when available) of each meeting are posted on the City of Courtenay website at www.courtenay.ca/councilmeetings
Council respectfully acknowledged that the lands on which this meeting was conducted are the Unceded traditional territory of the K’ómoks First Nation.
- Councillor Hillian: We acknowledge the passing of the City’s former City Engineer, Kevin Lagan. Kevin joined the City in 1993 and retired in 2013 having joined the City of Courtenay from the Fraser Valley. He was the first Professional Engineer in the position of Director of Engineering/Public Works and Approving Officer. While in this role, he was recognized as a local government leader and advocate for good engineering practice, supported and mentored island Approving Officers with other senior leaders, and helped to work with the founding partners who changed the approach to management of rainwater in the Province through the organization called Convening for Action on Vancouver Island (CAVI) – now known as the Partnership for Water Sustainability.
Many of the innovative environmental and engineering standards that we still have in place today were adopted under Kevin’s leadership and in coordination with other City departments. His loss is significant for our organization and the City as a whole. On behalf of the City, we extend our condolences and support to Kevin’s family and friends during this time.
- Councillor Jolicoeur: August 31st is International Day of Awareness which is an event in support of all those affected by the toxic drug crisis, with the purpose of remembering loved ones lost to overdose and ending the stigma of drug-related deaths. 2021 and 2022 each recorded more deaths than ever since the public health emergency was declared in 2016.
Our community often has higher rates of toxic drug deaths than the overall rate for the Island Health region, with 37 community members in 2022 losing their lives and countless friends, family, and loved ones left to grieve. The City of Courtenay acknowledges the harm and hardship caused by drug overdose and the drug toxicity crisis, and sends a strong message to substance users that they are valued, and that the community is working to mitigate harms and impacts of the toxic drug supply.
- Lush Valley Food Action Society
A presentation to Council was made by Lush Valley’s Carley VanOsch and Maurita Prato regarding LUSH Valley’s Share the Harvest community garden programs, including participant stories.
The Share the Harvest Community Garden was established in 2000 and has received annual funding from the City. This year Lush Valley is working with City staff on a new partnership agreement and plans to ask for an increase in funding due to cost increases.
Lush Valley’s Mission: Supporting Comox Valley to gain food-systems tools, engaging in just and resilient local food systems, and receiving equitable access to nourishing food.
- City of Courtenay RCMP Quarterly Statistics Report April 1, 2023 to June 30, 2023
Quarterly stats presented by Inspector Kurvers and Staff Sergeant Beauregard.
The report includes:
-Most common downtown calls for service
-Violent crime and map
-Property crime and map
-CDSA Offenses (drug trafficking and possession)
-Drug and alcohol offenses
The RCMP are currently engaged in a pilot project, with two foot patrols in Downtown Courtenay from the May long weekend to the September long weekend. Stats from the patrols will be made available in the next quarter.
- Letter from Resident, Brendon Johnson re: Potential Demolition of 276 Sandwick Road (Sandwick Manor)
Council directed staff to return with a report on Brendon Johnson's request to protect Sandwick Manor from demolition and related issues with protecting such buildings. Brendon Johnson’s letter states that Sandwick Manor is an important example of Edwardian architecture and is associated with the pioneering Pritchard family.
- Letter from CVRD - Initiation of Regional Growth Strategy Bylaw No. 120, Amendment No. 2
Council received the letter dated August 2, 2023 from the CVRD regarding the initiation of Regional Growth Strategy Bylaw No. 120, Amendment No. 2. The proposed amendment includes:
- Update population and employment projections, and greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets;
- Update mapping to reflect municipal incorporation of previously electoral area lands;
- Update language to reflect K’ómoks First Nation’s treaty process (in accordance with K’ómoks First Nation’s direction);
- Add reference to “Regional Growth Strategy Action Plans” as a Regional Growth Strategy implementation tool; and
- Remove obsolete references (e.g. “Comox Valley Economic Development Society”).
- Response to Request to Meet with the Minister Responsible for Housing
Council received the response from the Ministry of Housing regarding its May 29, 2023 resolution regarding a request to meet but the Minister is not able to meet at this time.
- Bylaw Compliance Policy and Strategy Project – Engagement Summary and Analysis
A Presentation was made by Magda Lee and Navi Sidhu from Curiositas Consulting to provide Council with a summary and analysis of contributor feedback regarding the City’s Bylaw Compliance Policy and Strategy.
The project has completed a current state analysis, contributor interviews, community engagement, online survey and in person community pop-ups.
Through the public engagement process, it has become clear there is a significant gap in public knowledge regarding the City’s bylaw services and the roles of community members regarding compliance and complaint processes. To that end, a “Good Neighbour Guide” is being developed. This guide will serve as a comprehensive educational tool designed to inform the community about bylaws, the associated processes, and the ethos of peaceful coexistence within the community.
Ongoing work also includes a Bylaw Compliance Policy and Strategy. A final report and recommendations will be presented to Council in October.
- Local Government Climate Action Program – 2023 Update
Council received the Local Government Climate Action Plan – 2023 Update briefing note. The Local Government Climate Action Program (LGCAP) is a provincial program that provides local governments with predictable and stable funding to support climate action. This funding supports climate actions that reduce emissions and prepare communities for the impacts of a changing climate.
The City of Courtenay will receive $173,000 for three years on an annual basis. To continually receive the funding, the City needs to meet some obligations and has completed a corporate GHG Emissions Inventory. The funds received will be directed toward climate action as required by the province, and will be allocated as part of the annual financial planning process.
- Courtenay Fire Department Semi-annual Activity Report
Council received the Fire Department Semi-annual Activity Report for activities from January to June 2023. Fire Department responses increased to 696 incidents, 267 more than the same time period in 2022. The Fire Department has been very active with joint training with other fire departments, fire prevention, a mental health and resiliency program, and the recruit training program. Nine new members just recently finished training and have joined the Fire Department and a new training program will be underway in September 2023.
The Fire Department sent crews to Shuswap area this summer and Deputy Chief Siegler served as a task force leader in that area as well.
- Courtenay Branding and Templates Refresh – Core Brand Standards
Richard Fisher and Martin Aveyard of Trapeze Communications presented on an update to Courtenay’s Core Brand Standards. Updating brand standards was identified in Council’s strategic priorities in 2022.
The City’s current branding guidelines and associated templates were developed in 2014, the first formal brand guidelines ever developed for the City. Some current brand templates involve complex formatting, resulting in the need for additional staff support from the Communications Division to other departments impacting the efficiency of material development and dissemination through increased production time.
The updated brand identity is more cohesive, accessible and functional. Council approved the updated Core Brand Standards.
- Development Variance Permit No. 2303 and Development Permit No. 2316 – 384 12th Street
Council approved Development Variance Permit No. 2303 to reduce the minimum lot size, the minimum lot frontage and the side yard setbacks for a duplex dwelling unit.
- Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 3101 – 1410 Glen Urquhart Avenue
This application is to permit a detached secondary residence on the property noted above. Council directed staff to not hold a public hearing and to issue public notice that a public hearing will not be held as the application is consistent with the City’s Official Community Plan.
- Bill C-18 Online News Act: City’s Use of Paid Advertising on Social Media Platforms
As a result of Bill C-18 tech companies Google and Meta are now blocking Canadian news content on their platforms. A recent letter to Council from Black Press requests that the City consider suspending advertising on Meta.
The staff report to Council states that there is significant work being done on a Communication Strategy and the “Your Courtenay, Your Voice” resident strategy. This work will provide statistically valid data on the community’s preferred communication tools from our organization.
The report offers cost comparisons on where ad money is spent between Black Press and social media ads. It further states that eliminating Meta platform ads would remove one of the primary tool used by the City to inform and engage with the community.
Council received the Bill C-18 Online News Act: City’s Use of Paid Advertising on Social Media Platforms report.
- Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Housing Accelerator Fund
Council endorsed the City’s application to the Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF) Action Plan. If successful, the HAF would provide the City with the ability to fund and implement many of the initiatives outlined in the Official Community Plan at an accelerated pace. The following seven initiatives are proposed:
- Affordable Housing Reserve Fund and Incentive Program.
- Land Acquisition and Disposition Assessment and Affordable Housing Partnership Strategy
- Development Application Streamlining
- Density Bonusing and Pre-zoning for Multi Residential in Key Growth Centres
- Missing Middle Plex Readiness
- Supportive Housing Policy and Bylaws (Community Amenity Contribution Policy, DCC Reduction Bylaw)
- Accessory Dwelling Unit Strategy;
Council also authorized the Chief Administrative Officer to enter into any contribution agreements or amending agreements that may be required should the City be approved for funding under the program.
- Council Expense Reimbursement Policy Revision
Council adopted Council Expense Reimbursement Policy to streamline expense claiming processes for Council.
- Appointment of Approving Officer
Council rescinded the appointment of Rich Feucht and appointed Marianne Wade as the Approving Officer.
Members of Council are given the opportunity to describe various meetings and events they have attended. See attachments in the agenda with submitted written reports.
For First, Second and Third Readings
- Temporary Borrowing Bylaw No. 3104, 2023
Council give first, second and third readings to "Temporary Borrowing Bylaw No. 3104, 2023 to continue with the borrowing process for the 1st Street lift station project.
For Final Adoption
- Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 3095 – 4655a Madrona Place
Council adopted this Bylawto add day care use in Unit A of Strata Lot 5, District Lot 236, Comox District, Strata Plan VIS5235 (4655a Madrona Place).
The meeting adjourned at 7:42 p.m., the next meeting is Wednesday, September 13 and will be available on the City of Courtenay’s YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/CityofCourtenayBC/streams