Monday, 1 December 2014

Council and Committee of the Whole Summaries for December 2014

Summaries of NS Council and COW Meetings for December, 2014

Compliments of the North Saanich Residents Association.

Disclaimer: “We offer these Council summaries as a service to our members. We have attempted to be as accurate as possible, but recognize that our interpretation of Council discussions may not be quite as the speakers intended. We encourage residents to consult District webcasts for the most accurate information and/or members of Council for clarification and details, and will correct any significant errors that are brought to our attention."

Dec. 1, 2014 – Inaugural Meeting of new Council

There was a standing-room only crowd gathered to witness the inauguration of the new council.
CAO Mr. Buchan brought the meeting to order, and introduced Director of Corporate Services, Mr. Kingsley, to swear in the new Council. The Mayor and each Councillor took the Oath of Office, then took their seats at the Council table. The Mayor gave an inaugural address, available here: _Inaugural_Address.htm
Committee and Council appointments were presented, there was minimal discussion on them, and then they were approved.

Dec. 8, 2014 – Committee of the Whole meeting

Councillor Gartshore chairing.

The main order of business concerned a proposed wave assessment study, that would cost approx. $20,000. Staff indicated the funds would provide a report which gave an accurate assessment of possible future property damage due to sea level rise, and to help with decisions regarding development applications in vulnerable areas. The most variable component in the equation is also the most critical: wave surge. Central Saanich has started the ball rolling on this and its staff has talked to our staff about somehow pooling our resources. (Sidney does not seem to be interested in pursuing a study at this time.) The CAO (Mr. Buchan) says that an accurate map is needed to see who might be at risk, and who might not. (Currently there is an application for building on a property that could be affected.) Mayor Finall expressed concern about the security of existing property owners, and the potential for future liability based on a lack of due diligence by Council. Coun. Orr is basically in favour, but doesn't want to rush. Coun. Stock is keen to go ahead. Coun. Thornburgh is in favour of coordination, consolidation, and consultation with the public, as soon as is reasonable. Coun. Weisenberger also. Coun. McClintock argued for leadership by N. Saanich in getting C. Saanich involved, and getting moving as soon as possible.

In the end the motion suggested by Staff was amended to reflect the desire to coordinate with the adjoining municipalities, and get going on this study. Two residents, both from the Ardmore area, spoke to the issue, and both were not in favour of moving forward with a study. One suggested that a lot of damage to waterfront properties is due to large logs, etc. that float in, then cause damage during storms, and could be eliminated if the district would “clean up” the beaches. The motion passed unanimously.

December 15th 2014 – Council Meeting

(Attendance - about 18 plus Council and Staff)
PUBLIC PARTICIPATION PERIOD: Four people, including a proprietor of the Roost, Dallas Bohl, spoke about the issue of past noise by-law infractions at the Roost. Mr. Bohl informed Council that the Roost's owners have decided not to proceed with their plans to build the building that has come to be known as "the castle" that they had originally proposed, but would only be expanding the bakery/cafe area somewhat.
There were four issues that generated significant discussion:

1) Finding a Corporate Logo, not to replace the current flag or Coat of Arms, but to put on letterheads, business cards, and vehicles, and the website, that would enhance the image of North Saanich. Councillor Orr suggested discussing this in the context of the Strategic
Planning Sessions to be held in January. The Chief Administrative Officer, Mr. Buchan, advised an early decision, as the Planning Sessions can last 8 weeks. The Director of Finance, Ms. Flynn, in reply to Coun. Weisenberger's query about costs, stated that $10,000 was originally budgeted, and most of that has already been spent in the previous term on a study and new design/logo. There is enough left from the $10,000 budgeted to cover getting the new design onto cards, letterheads and vehicles. The website change can be handled in-house. Mayor Finall stated that this is the tail end of the last Council's communications strategy that has been left hanging for this Council to deal with, and hoped that it could be dealt with quickly. The motion to approve implementing the use of the new logo passed 5-1 with Coun. Orr dissenting.

2) Remuneration to Council through a cost of living clause. The new Council looked at the staff recommendation to advise staff to implement the adjusted Council remuneration pursuant to Bylaw No. 1186, passed by a former Council (ie. remuneration adjustments tied to the Consumer Price Index). Councillors Orr, Weisenberger and Gartshore stated that they were uncomfortable with the perception of brand new councillors voting themselves a raise, even a small one, so early in their mandate. There was discussion about the legality of refusing the raise, thereby contravening the by-law. Ms. Flynn pointed out that C.P.I. increases were easier to count on for budgeting purposes than bigger, less frequent, salary increases. Coun. Stock agreed that the optics are not good, but that the process is lawful, fair, and in this case at least it's not a large sum of money. Mayor Finall reminded everyone that the last real review of remuneration was in 2006/07, and wondered: if we have a bylaw that hasn't been rescinded, why would we not stick to it? Coun. Stock moved to have the CAO look into the legality of not following the by-law (by refusing the remuneration adjustment), and to come back to the issue. Carried unanimously.

3) Wave Effects Study. The motion before Council, dating from last week's COW, was to direct staff to work with the adjacent
municipalities. Councillor McClintock wanted to include local
First Nations in the process, stating that it was important to him to move forward on ground that has been allowed to grow over ie. to reach out to and involve First Nations in issues of common interest, as you would

any neighbour. An amended motion to invite the four Peninsula First Nations to participate in the study, without requiring them to make a financial contribution, carried unanimously.

4) Noise. Many complaints were made about loud music coming from three special events at the Roost last summer, prompting this discussion of the noise by-law. Coun. Orr suggested looking into the use of acoustical mapping as had been suggested by at least one correspondent to Council, and supported by speakers in the public participation period. Coun. McClintock thought that we already have the tools to address this (ie. noise bylaw enforcement), and that Council should send a strong message to the Roost that infractions there have to cease. Coun. Stock wanted a better by-law. Coun. Orr suggested that a maximum decibel level of amplified noise be specified, and stated his uncertainty as to how the by-law would apply to ALR property. A motion to refer the matter to staff passed unanimously.
Coun. McClintock then moved to send a letter to the Roost stressing Council's resolve to protect residents from excessive noise that interferes with the enjoyment of their property. Coun. Orr didn't want Council to seem to be singling out the Roost, when there have also been past complaints about other such businesses; and Coun. Gartshore worried that Council was being too heavy-handed in sending a letter to the Roost at this time and pointed out that these complaints come from outdoor events that won't be happening now for a few months. That motion passed 5-2 with Coun. Gartshore and Mayor Finall opposed.

Council moved In Camera for the remainder of the meeting.