It was a motion that came after months’ worth of discussions and flip flopping.
During the Town of Lake Cowichan’s Tuesday, July 26, regular meeting, the town’s elected officials passed a policy allowing Centennial Park use for camping.
The policy makes several stipulations, including but not limited to:
• A camping site fee of $32 for each non-serviced lot, with $22 off-season rates applicable. Just where this fee will be deposited has yet to be determined, with council scheduled to discuss the issue during a future meeting.
• A $500 refundable deposit must be paid.
• No alcoholic beverages are to be consumed in the open.
• Campfires will be prohibited alongside the use of generators.
• “No user of Centennial Park shall disturb the quiet, peace, rest, enjoyment, comfort or convenience of any person or persons in the vicinity or neighbourhood.”
A stipulation added during the July 26 meeting was related to disallowing dogs on the ball fields.
“I think it should be clear that ball fields are not for dogs,” councillor Jayne Ingram said.
“There used to be signs there,” mayor Ross Forrest said, of the anti-dog policy already in place on the ball fields. “That is a topic that needs discussion for another day.”
The policy passed, as amended.
Later on in the meeting, the first two applications for camping at Centennial Park under the new policy were passed.
Councillor Franklin Hornbrook had his opposition to both motions noted.
The first event to pass under the new camping policy was Cowichan Lake Recreation’s Summer Curling Bonspiel, to take place Wednesday, August 24, to Sunday, August 28. The motion passed, with council agreeing that a wave of the $500 deposit not be awarded, and the request for access to electricity also not be awarded, due to limited availability.
The second event to pass was the Victoria Motorcycle Club’s annual Terra Nova event, which will include overnight camping, Sunday, October 9.
The town’s Advisory Planning Commission has decided to leave the Official Community Plan open with regard to animal husbandry, leaving it up to the town’s elected officials to make a decision.
Like the town’s Advisory Planning Commission, the town’s elected officials aren’t sure what to make of the idea of animal husbandry.
Those that spoke to the issue were unanimous in not wanting the issue brought to a referendum.
“I think we have far more important issues to go to referendum than chickens in your backyard,” mayor Ross Forrest said.
“It’s too easy for us to go to referendum for all issues.”
Adding another question to the referendum would not be cost prohibitive, as it would only be another line to this November’s election ballets, councillor Tim McGonigle noted.
But, the issue of whether or not the town should inject fluoride into residents’ drinking water is much closer to the level of importance a referendum question requires, he said.
“I don’t know what way I would lean,” Forrest said.
Depending on the wording of the bylaw, allowing backyard chickens could be either a positive or negative thing.
“I don’t have enough information to make a decision,” Forrest said.
Taking councillor Jayne Ingram’s suggestion, the item is being tabled for a future meeting.
The Cowichan Lake Community Forest Co-operative is still trying to get a land-based community forest license.
The issue was brought to council by councillor Tim McGonigle, who also serves as the co-operative’s vice-chair.
In conjunction with the Pacheedaht First Nations, the co-operative is currently in the process of applying for a land-based license.
“Over the years, the (co-op) has developed a first class relationship with the Pacheedaht First Nations as we log in their traditional territory,” a letter from the co-op reads. This traditional territory is near Port Renfrew.
The two groups hope to work together, forming the Qaly’it Community Forest Co-op.
Qaly’it, McGonigle explained, means “A quiet place in the forest.”
The town’s elected officials unanimously agreed to send a letter in support of the new community forest license the co-op and Pacheedaht First Nations plan on applying for.
The City of Colwood is sending a resolution to the Union of BC Municipalities that will serve to place a moratorium on the mandatory installation of wireless Smart Meters, with acceptable alternatives made available to consumers at no added cost.
Although the town’s elected officials have already backed a moratorium, councillor Tim McGonigle said that the consumer should pay the difference. A meeting also needs to be held with BC Hydro representatives, he said.
The town’s chief administrative officer Joseph Fernandez said that BC Hydro has told him that they will install Smart Meters in the town in February of 2012.
The town’s revitalization tax exemption passed its third reading, meaning that the town must now advertise the proposed bylaw twice for public feedback before adoption can take place.
The bylaw serves to temporarily freeze tax rates for qualifying properties, so as to kill any tax penalty for making upgrades to the property. The intent is in promoting town beautification.
A review of the Lake Cowichan Fire Department’s incident report for June has renewed the town’s interest in recouping expenses from those causing troubles.
One incident of a resident illegally burning had fire chief Doug Knott head out to give a bylaw ticket to the offender.
“We pay our fire chief a stipend to do fire duties, not to serve bylaw tickets,” councillor Tim McGonigle said. “This is no different from other nuisance properties.”
As previously discussed, call-outs to be reimbursed by the property owners can include things like frequent calls to the RCMP, false fire alarms, and other things.
The stipend for the call related to the illegal burning was only $34.84, but these things can add up, McGonigle said.
This is one of many ongoing items being discussed.
June’s fire incident report includes $6,177.69 in items.
The more noteable items include a June 12 incident of a tree on fire on South Shore Road, a June 25 overturned boat, and a June 30 bush fire on Point Ideal Road.
Fire truck replacement
In order to keep up to date with their fire truck needs, the Lake Cowichan Fire Department is seeking funding for an area command vehicle.
“It’s basically like a fire truck with no water capacity,” fire chief Doug Knott said.
The truck will have all the tools necessary for motor vehicle incidents and medical calls, including the jaws of life.
It would also serve as a command centre, decked out with computers, and would be driven out to all calls.
Grants will be sought, which would cover 50 per cent of the truck’s approximate $379,000 cost, with an additional 30 per cent covered by the Cowichan Valley Regional District.
Knott will come back to another Town of Lake Cowichan committee meeting in order to further hash out numbers, and state the department’s case for the vehicle, which would be a 2012 or 2013 funding item.