Lots to talk about at council meeting

Mayor and council covered a lot of ground on Tuesday’s meeting, June 26

Mayor and council covered a lot of ground on Tuesday’s meeting, June 26. Everything from looking at a move to build a regulatory system on modern buildings and certification of building officials, to voting to submit an application for a charging station incentive grant to put in a charging station for plug-in electric vehicles.

The province is currently seeking input from local governments, building officials, professional engineers and architects, the building industry, and other participants on its proposals for potential regulatory changes to the building regulatory system and proposals to strengthen the provincial role as the sole authority to adopt and provide interpretations for a uniform building code across the province.

“There are really two issues here,” said chief administrative officer Joseph Fernandez. “The certification of building officials and the process by which they are mandated, and a levy issued on building permits which would be paid to the provincial government.”

Fernandez suggested a staff report be done up on these two white paper reports.

Coun. McGonigle also brought forward a motion to ask the province for fair compensation for calls responded to by the fire department for medical assists and others. “I’m wondering if this table is amiable to a resolution going forward as to asking the provincial government to compensate volunteer fire departments for ICBC and ambulance assist calls similar to Ministry of Forests remuneration for equipment which is utilized from town fire departments for forest fires in basin municipalities.”

McGonigle moved that a resolution to that effect be brought forward to the Union of B.C. Municipalities, and council and the mayor agreed that doing so would help to deal with some of the downloaded costs that Lake Cowichan and other municipalities face from the provincial government.

This idea was first broached during the last CLEC, Lakeview and Fire Department meeting when Lake Cowichan fire chief Doug Knott stated that this was a subject brought forward at the annual fire chief’s convention.

“Any recovery, I think, would not only be a benefit to the fire department, but also to the tax payers of this community,” added McGonigle. He also pointed out, later on in the meeting, that in the fire department’s Incident Report, there are two motor vehicle accidents and a medical aid which occurred in May of this year that could be brought forward with the proposed resolution as examples of costs that could be compensated. The total for these incidents to the fire department was $765.69.

Council also discussed the fire department’s need for river rescue equipment and training, and the issue of where the responsibility actually lies in these kinds of incidents.

The fire department is currently organizing fundraising efforts towards the purchase of a boat and other rescue equipment that can be used in river rescue situations, and are currently undergoing water rescue training.

Another issue addressed by council on Tuesday, was that of the disposal of contaminated soils. During the latest CVRD meeting, there was a resolution passed asking for help within the province for depositions for relocation of contaminated soils. The concern in Victoria is that some of the sites where contaminated soils are disposed at, are located near aquifers, “and they want some protection within the Ministry of Environment for those aquifers and the drinking water,” reported McGonigle.

There is a public meeting currently taking place on July 12, at Kerry Park Arena starting at 6:30 p.m., to discuss the application by South Island Aggregate to be a contaminated soil disposal location.

The regional district currently has no jurisdiction over this matter, and the application from South Island Aggregate is in the hands of the Ministry of Environment. According to a press release from the CVRD, staff will be recording the entire meeting and will collect materials filed by the public at the meeting.

Another interesting note from the council meeting was that of a proposal for increased hours within the Cowichan Valley Regional Transit System. “Within those discussions is the possibility of the inclusion of Ladysmith within the Cowichan Valley Regional Transit, and possibly linking that with Nanaimo Transit,” said McGonigle.

“Currently this is just an initial discussion looking at what the implications would be to the remainder of the participants in the transit system.”

There is also the contentious issue of the increased need for Handy Dart services in an aging population in the area. Input will be given from the transit committee and later brought to the CVRD board.

Council also passed a motion to submit an application for funding for two electric vehicle plug-in stations, at least one of which would be in Saywell Park. Each unit would have two cord sets, meaning a total of four stations.

These projects are an initiative of the province called Plug In B.C. which funds 75 per cent of the costs to a maximum of $4,000 per station.

Council feels this would help to reach the town’s goals for greenhouse gas reduction targets, though Coun. Day did express some concern over who would use the stations, as he has not seen electric vehicles in the area. The stations can be used for hybrids and scooters as well.