Town prepares for AVICC

The Town of Lake Cowichan has already begun preparations for the April 8-10 Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) conference in Sidney.

  • Jan. 31, 2011 5:00 p.m.

The Town of Lake Cowichan has already begun preparations for the April 8-10 Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) conference in Sidney.

The Town of Lake Cowichan’s elected officials have had town staff draft a new Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) resolution, to allow for varying tax rates.

The new draft was presented to council during their Tuesday, January 25, regular meeting, during which time the town’s chief administrative officer provided an overview of the resolution.

The resolution serves to allow municipalities to vary tax rates throughout the town, in order to freeze taxes for certain buildings to encourage development, so as to not punish property owners through taxation for boosting the worth and appearance of their property.

The Town of Lake Cowichan last sent the AVICC a varying tax rates resolution in 2006.

At the time, it was felt that the resolution would not be effective in achieving the town’s goal of downtown revitalization.

“The province came back with the tools we already possess,” councillor Tim McGonigle said, citing currently town bylaws and the community charter. “We feel these tools are not enough for municipal politicians to encourage upgrading… We don’t feel that they have enough weight.”

The revised resolution reflects this sentiment. Should the charter pass through the AVICC, it would go on to the Union of BC Municipalities, and then to the province for consideration.

“This is a pretty widespread problem,” mayor Ross Forrest said, of the issue around derelict or unsightly buildings.

During the January 25 meeting, Councillor Tim McGongile suggested that councillor Bob Day put himself in the running for an AVICC director at large position during the meeting.

Day accepted, to council’s unanimous approval.

Day last ran for a political position outside the Town of Lake Cowichan last year, when he ran for a director at large position at the Union of BC Municipalities conference.

The Town of Lake Cowichan’s elected officials will be quite busy during the April AVICC conference, as they’re also hosting a luncheon for representatives from around the Pacific Marine Circle Route.

The Circle Route links communities like Victoria, Duncan, Lake Cowichan, Mesachie Lake, Port Renfrew, Sooke, and others, with a circular roadway.

The Town of Lake Cowichan hopes for something to come out of the luncheon that encourages usage, and tourism, in not only Lake Cowichan but the Cowichan Lake area communities, and others throughout the Circle Route.

“We’re starting to get responses,” Forrest said, during the meeting.

Additional items:

• The Lake Cowichan Fire Department will purchase a $255,000 tanker truck this year, taking the money out of saved reserve funds, which was built up by the Town of Lake Cowichan and CVRD areas F and I.

“So, it will not effect your taxes,” the town’s chief administrative officer Joseph Fernandez said. “It’s a 100 per cent reserve fund purchase.”

• The Lake Cowichan Fire Department’s December 2010 monthly report lists 21 items totaling $7,154.27 in expenses.

The most expensive item was a Boxing Day house fire on Lake Park Road, which took 21 firefighters four hours to fully put out.

When also taking into account a subsequent two-man two-hour fire scene investigation, the cost of this fire was $1,351.06.

A December 27 propane leak cost $452.20, and took up two hours of 15 firefighters, who blocked traffic from entering the area of the propane leak, off of Youbou Highway as professionals drove out from Victoria to investigate it. Additional items included downed hydro lines, practices, an activated alarm, and other minor items.

• The Town of Lake Cowichan’s decision to tie a fluoridation referendum with this fall’s elections is a cost-saving measure, the town’s elected officials said during the meeting.

The referendum question has been decided, and reads, “Do you want the Town to continue with the fluoridation of the drinking water supply?”

• Due to work commitments, councillors Bob Day and Franklin Hornbrook have switched liaison roles. Day will now sit in on Lake Cowichan Fire Department meetings, while Hornbrook will now sit in on Advisory Planning Commission meetings. Both councillors will report on the results of these meetings during the town’s regular council meetings, at 6 p.m. the fourth Tuesday of every month.

• Mayor and council approved of two elected officials attending the Community to Community Forum in North Vancouver, March 1.

According to a pamphlet produced by forum organizers, the event will serve to provide “a day of dialogue to learn about planning in local government and First Nation communities, and explore how local governments and First Nations are moving forward in planning partnerships to assist in meeting the common goals of their communities.”

Councillor Franklin Hornbrook will attend, and councillor Jayne Ingram will be asked to attend.

• Councillor Tim McGongile shared the specifics of the latest Cowichan Valley Regional District meeting, wherein he was appointed as chair of the Regional Recreation Committee. The committee’s goal is to produce a usage study on nine of the district’s nine main regionally significant sports complexes, including the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena.

“With that usage study will come another tool for the regional district to go to the public,” McGongile said.

• The new board of directors of the Cowichan Lake area’s community radio station CICV 98.7 FM introduced themselves to mayor and council.

During their introduction, the station’s new chair Mike Bishop confirmed that the pirate radio station operating at 99.7 FM has been voluntarily shut down, in lieu of harsher penalties from Industry Canada.