Monday, 12 January 2015

Committee of the Whole Summary, January 12, 2015

With thanks to the North Saanich Residents Association
http://members.shaw.ca/nsra/

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."

Mayor and Councillors all present – Councillor Gartshore chairing
Public attendance – 10

Councillor Gartshore opened the meeting with the news of the passing of former mayor Maurice Chazottes.

ANDREW WYNN-WILLIAMS, THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE GREATER VICTORIA COALITION TO END HOMELESSNESS

The first item on the agenda was a presentation by Andrew Wynn-Williams, the Executive Director of the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness. He discussed the different types of homelessness, the spectrum of housing needs, the drivers of homelessness, vacancy rates and rental costs in the region, and data on the number of individuals who have accessed emergency shelter this past year and the number who have been turned away. Solutions to the problem of homelessness include the building of more Supportive Housing and more Affordable Housing, and the provision by senior levels of government of Rent Supplements. The costs of providing adequate housing and rent supplements would be less than the costs of operating shelters.
Mayor Finall, in reference to a letter that had been sent to her asking why no one seemed to be building affordable housing anymore, spoke of the funding cuts from the higher levels of government. Mr. Wynn-Williams concurred, stating that in 1989 the federal government spent $115 per capita on social housing, and that figure is now down to $60.
Councillor Weisenberger asked about the benefits of a Guaranteed Income Supplement.
Councillor Orr asked if it was possible to determine housing needs municipality by municipality, and was told that the problem is a regional one and has to be dealt with at that level. Councillor Orr also brought up the issue of defining “affordable”, and in answer to that Mr. Wynn-Williams stated that he works on the basis of a range of “affordable “ options – from $375/month to $700/month, and that to build any rental housing in the region below $600/month is almost impossible.
Councillor Thornburgh remarked on the economics of building supportive and affordable housing, that doing so was a cheaper option than operating shelters.
In conclusion Mr. Wynn-Williams stated that if we put an end to homelessness we will still need shelters, but they will just be emergency shelters. More information is available at victoriahomelessness.ca

PARKING AT THE MUSE WINERY

The Muse Winery has asked for a variance to be able to build 27 parking spaces on the boulevards adjacent, both Tatlow and Chalet Roads. It has promised to add 15 additional parking spaces on its property, and this will necessitate the removal of some grapevines.
Councillor Stock stated that she would support the application, and appreciates that the Muse is involved in both agriculture and the arts.
Mayor Finall expressed concerned that there would be no archaeological impact study. Councillor Orr counseled prudence, and asked about the number of days a year that the
extra parking would be needed.
Rob Buchan, the CAO, in answer to a question from Councillor Thornburgh, stated that a permit from Engineering would be required for the applicant to install culverts and then fill in the ditches (at the applicant’s expense).
Councillor Weisenberger asked if the 58 total spaces that the Muse says it requires will be enough to provide parking for all its events.
It was the opinion of Mark Broderick, Director of Planning, that for the operation of their business, yes, but for something like the Flavour Trail, no.
The motion voted on was to direct staff to proceed with amendments to Traffic Bylaw 1261, and then to direct staff to send out statutory notification but only upon a) receipt of bonding from the owners for the parking improvements, b) receipt of proof that the 15 additional parking spaces on-site have been built, and c) receipt of written confirmation that the archaeological branch has no concerns.
Mayor Finall stated that she thought they had achieved a proper balance on this; Councillor Orr worried about properly notifying and consulting with the Muse’s
neighbours.
The motion passed, with Councillor Orr voting against.



BUDGET PROCESS

Theresa Flynn, the Director of Financial Services presented an overview of the Budget Process.
Some facts of note:
  • Growth in North Saanich last year will result in approximately $68,000 of new
    property tax revenue. Roughly 2/3 of that is residential growth, the rest is
    commercial.
  • The B.C. Property Tax Assessments have been delivered, and the net increase in
    assessments across North Saanich is zero.
    Councillor Thornburgh asked whether ethical investment factored into decisions about where NS “savings” are invested, and mentioned that Victoria is now looking into this for their own savings.
    Ms. Flynn advised that municipalities are limited in terms of where they can put this money, that they take a conservative approach, and that most of the money is in bonds and GIC’s. She indicated that she would be happy to look into what Victoria is doing.

  • Miscellaneous
  • Councillor McClintock asked a question about the process of public submissions: in what situations can a member of the public address Council if something is not on the agenda?
    Mr. Buchan advised that in the case of a development proposal, for example, the public should not be going directly to Council without going to staff first. 

  • The Committee of the Whole adjourned at 8:25. 

  • A Special Council meeting began soon thereafter. With no members of the public wishing to address Council, the meeting moved in camera. 

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