The agenda for the Town of Lake Cowichan’s monthly finance and administration meeting on April 9 was full and varied.
Under business arising and unfinished business, the subject of Town apparel came up once again. While council all seem to be in agreement for having the apparel, they have yet to decide on the style or colour.
Councillor Bob Day said he believed samples would be arriving, and that they should make a decision soon as to what they would like.
“I wouldn’t mind if it was maybe all the same colour but different styles — as long as they all have the same logo on it,” he said. “I’ve often thought that people at conventions with the same uniform look like a team.”
Mayor Ross Forrest asked if council were each paying for their own apparel, adding that he didn’t mind paying for his own. Councillor Jayne Ingram agreed with Forrest.
Meeting chair Coun. Tim McGonigle replied that he didn’t think there was a set policy on whether it should be a personal or a town expense.
“I know they have been purchased in the past by the town,” he said.
In the end council agreed they would each be buying their own, and said that if staff also wished to, they could purchase them as well.
There has been some discussion about the town’s policy on private use of Renfrew Town Square and Saywell Park, and at this meeting the subject of insurance coverage for non-profit events gave weight to some debate.
The town’s chief administrative officer Joseph Fernandez began by saying he had checked with the town’s insurer about adding special event coverage.
“We have to guarantee $2,000 up front and then anybody who wants to buy insurance can buy it through the town,” he explained. “We would have to sell insurance up to $2,000 for us to recover that money, so based on our discussions it doesn’t make a lot of sense.”
To which Day replied, “I can’t stress enough how much of a burden this would be off the non-profit groups that try to organize events in our parks and then get sent away to have to search out their own insurance.”
Day said that people may think it’s easy enough, but in reality it’s more complex than that.
“Last year, Music in the Park (Summer Nights) almost didn’t happen because of that,” he said.” I know we can’t sell insurance, but if we could find a way to sell them a policy or something…”
Another issue raised by the town’s insurer according to Fernandez was that they would not provide coverage for events where food would be sold, to which Coun. Jayne Ingram asked how town markets operate.
“What happens with the market in Duncan in that instance,” she queried. “Maybe we should find out, that might be a good place to start.”
The town is considering installing a web camera for Saywell Park, and council deliberated details such as what the purpose of the camera would be for and where the best place would be to install it.
The subject of a funding contribution from Lake Cowichan for Duncan Aquatic Centre was on the agenda, but remains in limbo. After some comments by one or two of the councillors, McGonigle concluded that it is still an ongoing topic.
“I think we’re still waiting for some more information before we can make the final decision,” McGonigle stated. “There has been no financial discussion, no terms of any proposals. There is still some investigative work to be carried out.”
On the parcel tax for sewer, there was a request for clarification on the whole project. Day suggests putting together a financial briefing on the complete sewer project for the next meeting, including the total scope of the project, so that council can be prepared to answer questions from the public.
A delegation of three Lake Cowichan B & B owners, headed by David Kidd, addressed council with some concerns in the town’s attitude toward B & B businesses following a bylaw amendment last year.
The town’s Building Official Report for March 2013 shows four single family dwellings and two house additions were completed last month, while one new application for a single family dwelling was received.
Council also further discussed the request to amend the town’s bylaw to allow residents to keep backyard chickens, following a report submitted by Fernandez. For this to be made legal or in compliance with the town’s bylaws, Lake Cowichan administration would have to amend two bylaws: one for zoning and the other for Animal Control.
“The cost of an application to process a zoning amendment is $750, but payment does not guarantee approval of the bylaw amendment application,” the report states. The report and the discussion that followed touched on whether or not Council should periodically respond to public pressure to amend zoning bylaws without going through an application process.
Although no decision was made during the meeting, the proposal by Lake Cowichan petitioners to change the bylaws to allow backyard chickens appeared to be coming up against some roadblocks.