Monday, 23 February 2015

Committee of the Whole Summary for Feb. 23, 2015

With thanks to the North Saanich Residents Association

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.

Remarks by Councillors may have been paraphrased for brevity and ease of transcription

Committee of the Whole for Feb. 23, 2015

·      Coun. McClintock chairing. 
·      26 residents in attendance.

Mayor Finall pointed out that a number of letters had been received relating to Bylaw 1352, and moved that they be added to the Staff Report.  Carried.

Records Management Program:  Mr. Curt Kingsley, Director of Corporate Services

Why are records important?

·      Records are corporate memory
·      Meet requirements
·      Document decision
·      Improve service delivery
·      Demonstrate accountability
·      Support government transparency
·      Preserve the District’s historical record

Why do we need it?

1.    Make information retrievable
2.    Protect it from unauthorized access or premature destruction
3.    Improve staff processes

Providing the right information to the right person for the right purpose at the right time in the right way.

Where have we been?

When this program started: 
·      No policies to ensure compliance
·      Decentralized filing systems and filing rooms
·      Out-dated retention schedule which was not followed
·      Lack of records management procedures
·      Duplication in both paper and electronic
·      Large and increasing amount of records in offsite storage

What have we been doing?

·      Preserving corporate memory
·      Creating awareness
·      Developing a central file plan
·      Developing necessary policies and procedures
·      Inventorying filing rooms
·      Developing requirements for electronic recordkeeping system
·      Systematically reviewing legacy records

Where are we now?

·      Policy completed and approved
·      File plan and retention schedule approval
·      Cleanup of legacy record – 90% complete
·      Inventorying onsite records – 70% complete
·      Requirements for electronic recordkeeping system determined

Where are we going?

·      Implementing the approved file plan
·      Training for staff in records management
·      Procedures for staff to follow
·      Selecting a vendor for an electronic recordkeeping system
·      Reducing duplication through the purchase of a recordkeeping system
·      Centralized filing room for paper records
·      Creating the District of North Saanich Municipal Archives

Coun. Weisenberger:  Are documents scanned? 

Mr. Kingsley:  Some, not all.  There are documents that only exist in hardcopy form.

Mayor Finall:  Will this new system deal with email “chains” that accumulate duplicate copies of the messages as the chain continues (eliminate the duplicates)?

Records Coordinator:  yes.

Coun. Orr:  How are electronic documents deleted?  Automatically?  Or Manually?

Mr. Kingsley:  depends on the system that we end up going with.

Mr. Weisenberger:  Should we coordinate with Central Saanich to use the same system, in case we decide to amalgamate?

Records Coordinator:  We’ve been communicating with Sidney.  System chosen depends on the institution, number of staff, etc.

Mayor Finall: How long until we achieve electronic recordkeeping system efficiency?

Records Coordinator:  Expect it will be done by a year after the implementation of the system.

Bylaw 1352

Mayor Finall:  I support the suggested options in the staff report, 3 and 4.  I have fairly extensive reasons for that, but don’t want to get bogged down in the trees for the forest.  The manner in which it was carried through was without proper consultation.  I’m prepared to enumerate my reasons but would be pleased to hear from other councillors and the public before going forward with that.

Coun. Gartshore:  Would like to suggest another option:  Would we benefit as a council to have a facilitated discussion?  I believe there is probably some middle ground we can achieve.

Coun. Stock:  This never was really about housing.  It was put under the guise of housing, in my view, but as I said often during the process, that it was put in to allow development without community consultation.  I think the housing discussion needs to be about a separate discussion around affordable housing policy.  Staff counseled against one area because of the potential for sea level rise, but that was not taken into account.  We were given a mandate to do something about this by our residents.

Coun. Weisenberger:  Did staff receive my questions, and can you answer them?

Mr. Buchan:  Replied that he had received the Councillor Weisenberger’s questions and Mr. Buchan provided responses.

Councillor Weisenberger’s questions are provided below. Mr. Buchan provided responses are not provided below due to their technical nature.

1.    Is it possible to estimate at least the range of costs for a public consultation process if we go that route?
2.    Sewage capacity for 520 units? 
3.    If we use up the remaining, what do we have left?
4.    What’s the capacity for the region? 
5.    Recommendation #10 lists a number of things we should consider going forward.  Where are we with that list?

Mayor Finall: When we went through the CTQ report, we never had a chance to discuss it as a council with the community. One of the recommendations from the CTQ report says, before we do anything, we need to put in place an affordable housing policy.  Consultant referenced affordable housing policy 19 times in the report.

Mr. Buchan:  Reviewed the options that were identified in the Staff report. 

The Six Options identified in the staff report are:

1) Maintain the current RCS established by Bylaw 1352 and consider all applications based on their own merit; OR,

2) Maintain both the McTavish (Area 1) growth area and amend the Tsehum (Area 2) growth area to delete the lands identified as having sea level rise concerns; OR,

3) Direct staff to prepare an amendment to the new RCS to delete the two growth areas and associated policy; OR,

4) Direct staff to prepare:
a. Terms of reference and costing for an affordable housing policy addressing both social and workforce housing, and
b. OCP policy which would restrict the additional 320 residential units to projects that comply with the affordable social and workforce housing policy; OR,

5) Direct staff to undertake option 4 after option 3 has been implemented; OR,

6) Direct staff to prepare a plan and cost estimate for community consultations on the approved housing strategy prepared by CTQ consultants for consideration prior to choosing one of the above options.

Coun. Orr:  Council has received roughly 18 email letters.  Generally the ones we received were in favour of cutting back or rescinding the bylaw.  I’d like to state one thing: that I’m concerned this has come back to us, with very few days for the public to sink their teeth into this.  I think we should have found another way to communicate our intent.  I want to talk a little about mandate:  I’ve heard that some people believe the election gave us a clear mandate to unwind everything that the previous council did.  I campaigned and did not hear people say that they wanted to reverse everything that was done.  I did hear some people say that.  Some said that they would still like to see some sort of planned development.  I agreed that I too would like to see some sort of planned development.  We’ve spent a lot of time and a lot of money getting to where we are now.  I’m not convinced that taking time and money to unwind that would be a good use of resources.  We shouldn’t base decisions on fear.  I will not be supporting options 1,2,3 or 5.  I would be amenable to a version of 6.  I said during campaigning that I’d like to see us create a local area plan for McTavish area. 

Coun. Gartshore:  To follow up on my earlier comment on consultation, I want to be clear that I’m not referring to consulting on the CTQ report.  I’m not interested in rehashing that.

Mayor Finall:  Some of my concerns:
·      No planning went into that bylaw, and the previous council did not have a mandate to do that.
·      There are still no planned guidelines to deal with applications in these areas.  Staff cannot even approve anything.
·      It was done so that the three spot re-zonings could go through.
·      Issues like traffic and parking are still an issue in the McTavish Rd. area.
·      On the day that Canora Mews came forward with only a sketch, council had just adopted its strategic plan, and council insisted that that application take precedence over every other at that point.  There was no planned approach. Deciding what we want to do going forward does not need to wait on the impediments that Bylaw 1352 poses.

Coun. Thornburgh:  I keep in front of me the realization that the process was profoundly flawed.  Communication from the public was ignored (85% were opposed).  Very insufficient planning is a powerful argument for rescinding or amending.  With a flawed process, trying to fix this would be like putting lipstick on a pig:  it’s still going to be a pig.  I have some ideas that I will present later.

Coun. Weisenberger:  I agree with most of what Coun. Orr said.  My pamphlets said I supported planned growth.  I also agree with the mayor that the process was flawed.  There are some good things in the CTQ report.  My door-knocking revealed that many people are open to some form of planned growth.  There are a number of new employees moving to the area soon, with their families.  The previous Council identified a problem and then proceeded not to solve it. We need to come up with other forms of housing.  Re:  sewer capacity:  we’ve got a very small opportunity so we need to maximize that.

Coun. McClintock:  As far as these figures about the capacity of the sewer plant:  is the plant operating at optimum capacity?
Mr. O’Reilly:  I would say yes.  We haven’t had any problems with it.  The flow is at about 50% of capacity last time I heard.  Our plans are based on certain plans we’ve made.

Coun. McClintock:  I came to this meeting prepared to support option 1, of maintaining  the current RCS established by Bylaw 1352.  I too went door-knocking, and was told by the people I spoke with that the phrase “planned growth” is not a bad word. 

Coun. Orr:  I’ve been in past years involved in discussions of the sewer capacity.  We are not flowing anywhere near that capacity now.  There are some things on that side that can be worked through.  There’s also the technical aspect [that we have pipes that are too small.]

Coun. Thornburgh: I’m OK with slow and planned growth, as stated in our OCP.  I respectfully disagree with the Chair that Option 1 represents planned growth – it doesn’t.  How can we look at this again that truly respects the citizens, who have not been properly consulted?

Mayor Finall:  Our OCP does take into account planned growth.  In the projections that were put into bylaw 1352, there are untrue projections that included the First Nations population that were put in, and council knew they were untrue, they admitted they were not correct, but the Council specifically adopted the untrue projections.

Coun. Stock:  I’m not afraid of planned growth.  We’re not changing everything.  I have 3 reasons for not supporting Bylaw 1352:  no area planning, they were picked like a lotto, done in a deeply  disrespectful way.  It goes against the CTQ recommendation to not move forward without affordable housing policy and area planning.  Out of the four recommended areas, we picked two (that felt arbitrary).  This is not a bylaw that should have been passed.

Coun. Gartshore:  Just a reminder to all of us:  maintaining 1352 as is, allows for 520 new units, but we would just be back to spot-rezoning.

Public Participation:

Lydia Wingate:  I do support carefully planned development.  CTQ report was based on a totally flawed survey, the final report was not properly scrutinized.  I hope that our present council will amend bylaw 1352 back to previous OCP density levels.  Then create an affordable housing policy.

Hildegard Horie:  The bylaws that were forced through on July 14 violated our RCS and the Local Government Act, which requires proper consultation.  Keep with the OCP that supports slow growth – that’s the strength of NS, and should not be destroyed.

Lorrene Soellner:  Have attended most council meetings and CRD meetings.  I’m concerned about the process, people weren’t consulted.  Residents and council were not allowed to discuss the recommendations.  The sea level rise situation leaves the municipality in a tenuous legal situation.  I favour deleting the two development areas and awaiting the information from the three housing initiatives already underway.  Favour interim policy number 2 in the meantime while this is being looked at.

Noreen Campbell:  Flawed process, abusive manner.  Residents want a remedy.  They don’t want a rubber stamp of such cynical proceedings.

Nomi Massen:  I support Option 5 that council should amend bylaw 1352 back to our previous OCP density levels.

Bruce Tutt:  I was at many council meetings.  There was not a lot of credible planning process.  I don’t want to see the last 3 years thrown out.  That would be a dangerous situation to get into.  I would like to see the lowland in Tsehum area excluded from development areas.  All of this is about housing for a diverse range of family units.  Housing for seniors is always paid lip-service but there are only two options ever given.  But there are other options that need to be looked at.  There needs to be an OCP review.  This has not been discussed tonight but all cards need to be on table.  Review what has been done, and build on that.  Lots of public consultation.  Needs to be properly funded.  It might take a year, but perhaps by the end of 2016.

Deb Baker:  I’m an applicant for a development in Area 2 (Tsehum).  There is a system in place.  People have felt alienated by the previous process.  I encourage you to move forward with a show of leadership and transparency and have the public comment on them.  I want to hear what the public has to say.  We as developers do not want to build something that the community does not want.  To remove our application due to the potential of sea level rise is not appropriate.

Roland Atkins, Carey Rd.:  Coastal flood and erosion specialist.  Government guidelines written in 2004 recommend that properties be protected to 2100.
The ground site can be raised with fill, etc. to be compliant with guidelines.

Bernadette Greene:  Support significant amendment of Bylaw 1352.  Process flawed, consultant’s report never scrutinized by Council or public, recommendations never reviewed by residents before adoption.  McTavish area affordable for young families already.  Bylaw 1352 threatens a way of life that already exists in that area, where children have yards to play in, families have areas to grow a garden, etc.  Councillors who championed Bylaw 1352 were not re-elected – I believe for this reason.

Don Enright:  Principal author and host of Save North Saanich.  Pleased to be addressing this present council as it’s made up.  SNS has been opposed to the provisions of 1352.  We believe the future of NS should be in the hands of residents, not developers.

Sandy Phillips:  I support Option 5.  I’ve written several letters to council about affordable housing, and housing for persons with disabilities.  I would like to see more public consultation.  Bylaw 1352 is flawed.

Mayor Finall:  Having lived through the last 3 years, as a councillor and a resident, I have an antipathy toward “we destroy what they created.”  The threats of urban sprawl to these areas is even greater now than it was in 2003.  Stopping urban sprawl was the basis of the Regional Growth Strategy..  Only 5% of the region remains in the ALR, and that continues to diminish, and it is worrisome that a bare majority was able to push that through, and the RGS was no help to stop that. The public hearing of July 14:  I saw recently a standard of fairness regarding community consultation.  They decided the applicable standard is just FAIRNESS.  For a hearing to be fair, having 7 separate bylaws put forward to be addressed in a public hearing is not fair.
The bylaw being based on incorrect and untrue information, I’m troubled by that.

Mandate:  I do look at these election results.  They were beyond my expectations.  I ran in the last election with great trepidation because of what might have happened, but the mandate that I do see arising from the election results, was that residents looked at that type of land use planning and decided they didn’t want it.
Throughout that term, when people were upset by how democracy was happening, people were told the only thing you can do is in the election:  your vote is your voice.
One of the developments had a 900% lift, with no significant benefit to the community, from 6 units to 54.

The approval of the developments thus far make Option 5 not so vindictive.  We will be getting over 200 units even if we amend bylaw 1352 – those are coming.
One of the main things people talked about was that we need planning. 

Coun. Gartshore:  I agree the bylaw is problematic, and I’m on record as being opposed to this process all the way through.  I also was critical of the previous council for undoing what the previous council did.During the election I indicated I was in favour of putting a pause on bylaw 1352. What I heard while door-knocking was that people were opposed to how things were done, not necessarily what was done, and they felt there needed to be better consultation.

We have information coming from various housing initiatives. What do we as a community want:  some housing, none? Our OCP in the residential section talks about seniors, affordable and special needs housing. Secondary suites are on the way.  We need to resolve this so that we can get on with other things.

Coun. Stock:  For me this is a matter of the heart as well as the brain.  I don’t think Option 5 is vindictive.  My reasons for that:  No area planning, no affordable housing policy, disrespectful and not inclusive.  I believe we cannot move forward with 1352 as is.  We’ve got 40 units done, the two new developments will be market housing.
When we asked the two developers whether they would be willing to give one or two units to Habitat for Humanity or something, they refused.  We have about 200 units coming – is that enough?
I’m open to other options.

Coun. Weisenberger:  what is cost-effective?  Housing is the issue we have to solve.  The housing provided by Canora Mews does not solve the problem.  I agree we need community consultation and it will be more difficult than we think to solve this problem.

Mayor Finall:  I’m moving Option 5.
There is provision in the Local Government Act to allow density lifts for amenity contributions. The benefit to the community will be that we are working openly, that we do want to consult with the community. We’re having increased density, whether we wanted it or not.  There are 200 units that are there, and they’re not going anywhere.

Coun. Orr:  Won’t support the motion.  After listening to the audience and council, I’m still not convinced.  If we go down the path of removing what was done, there are a number of steps that need to be taken including going to the CRD, etc., it will take time and staff time – maybe 6 months – and arrive where we were before. 

Projections and population growth:  The RGS called for growth in NS over 1996 to 2026 to be 0.7%.  The RSS calls for growth of 0.5%  from 2011 to 2038.  The OCP that was revised, if we consider 520 units over the next 5 years, which probably won’t happen, we’re at approximately 1% per year for ten years.  Yes, it’s greater, but not by much.  Do we want to stick around that 0.5%?   Is 1% too much? 

The Holman initiative and the draft RSS are expected to come back in the summer.  Those two are meant to work together.  I’d like to see these dovetail together.  I don’t see the risk in taking the next 6 months to go through some planning and waiting for the findings of the other studies.  Area 2 has 80 acres.  All are existing homes that aren’t going to be turned over overnight.  If we’re going to do something, that is the area that we should do it.

Question to staff:  Do we have any legal issues regarding that area coming out?  If we remove it are we under any legal obligation?

Mr. Buchan:  No, provided Council makes its decisions in good faith.

Orr:  According to the map, we’ve got the McDonald Park development ½ under water too.

Buchan:  That’s precisely why staff is proposing to do the wave effects study in order to give council fulsome information to facilitate decision-making. The decision was made with the best information available at the time.  There are many other developed properties that are in danger.
Orr:  We need to assess our risk, including with Bayfield/McMicken Re:  the NSRA survey:  75% of respondents believe we need to take a more coordinated approach with Sidney. Should NS do more to accommodate lower income housing, 40% responded yes, 30% no.  Some appetite, but not a lot.

Coun. Weisenberger:  Won’t support motion.  I’d like to find a way to develop our affordable housing policy, and then figure out where to go.  I think that will end up being less costly.

Mayor Finall:  If we remove what we’ve pretty much all agreed is a pretty flawed policy, we can have that discussion about affordable housing now – we don’t have to wait.
The majority of the people who responded to the NSRA survey, if they supported higher density wanted it planned and wanted it affordable.

Coun. Thornburgh:  I’m in favour of Option 5.  I think there’s a way to make that a little more friendly to a real consultation and study process.  I move an amendment combining options 3 and 4, thus:
3) Direct staff to prepare an amendment to the new RCS to delete the two growth areas and associated policy;
then to consider a new version of 4a), which is:  following completion of Option 3, pause to wait the results of housing surveys now being done by our MLA Gary Holman and by the CRD gap analysis.
Once those results are available, request staff to review them for their relevance to potential housing policies for NS, then 4b) would be the original 4a) which was: Direct staff to prepare terms of reference and costing for an affordable housing policy addressing both social and workforce housing.

Coun. McClintock:  We’re clearly presented with a community divided.   I ran for council to assist in helping this situation.  The public tonight are not in favour of bylaw 1352 in its current form.  I am not in favour of undoing it. What is the message we are sending out to the larger community?  I think stability is what business and people who are living in this community are looking for.  I can’t say I strongly support option 1.  I do not support the first motion, or the amended motion, but I’m more in favour of Option 6.  I don’t support going back.

Finall:  I support the amendment.

Question is called.  Fails.  Gartshore, Orr, McClintock and Weisenberger opposed.

Original motion defeated.  Same configuration.

Coun. Gartshore:  I move that NS Council work with a facilitator to help us determine how to move forward with amending bylaw 1352, including consulting the community.

Mayor Finall:  I think that needs more clarity.

Coun. Gartshore: A  facilitator to help us figure out what we want to do.  A more informal process. 

Buchan:  Could be more like a committee of the whole meeting similar to the strategic planning meeting.  I think there is some general desire for an affordable housing policy before the pause button is let go, and that there be community consultation.

Coun. Weisenberger:  I think there is general agreement here.  I could support the motion.

Coun. Stock:  We’ve been talking about this for a while now.  I would like to move away from talking about the discussion, and talk about the subject itself.  Would like to be talking about neighbourhood or area planning, not about the conversation.

Buchan:  I think you’ve done a great job of discussing it now.  I don ‘t think a facilitator is needed.  Common ground: neighbourhood planning, affordable housing policy, pause button.

Mr. Buchan suggests motion: 

Move that Council direct staff to:

1.    Prepare a proposal for consultants to prepare neighborhood plans with ample public consultation, for the areas generally but not strictly comprised by the two growth areas established by bylaw 1352, and consider subsequent OCP amendments based on the neighborhood plans.
2.    Direct staff to prepare an Affordable Housing Policy once the results of the CRD and the MLA’s policy work (Holman) are complete.
3.     Adopt interim policy #2, which is effectively hitting the “pause” button.  Interim Policy:  Council wishes to conduct a review of Bylaw 1352 and implement any changes coming out of that review before approving any applications within the McTavish or Tsheum growth areas.  Development applicants should be aware that applications submitted prior to the completion of this process may be deferred by Council until the review process has concluded.

McClintock:  I wonder about the pause button.  Will we be stopping all applications?
Buchan:  Council can’t impose a moratorium.  Council can discourage applications.  That’s pretty powerful, but doesn’t preclude.

Coun. Gartshore withdraws original motion. 

Coun. Orr:  I support this direction.

Buchan:  This policy is really about new applications

Coun. Weisenberger moves motion suggested by Mr. Buchan including interim policy #2.

Coun. McClintock:  by passing this, we will have effectively killed bylaw 1352, won’t we?   The Holman study may take 2 years.

Buchan:  no, you won’t have killed it.  It says you might amend it or refine it before there are other development applications.
Coun. McClintock:  that’s fine, as long as it’s not contingent on other studies.

Coun. Orr:  right now those areas are included in the draft RSS mapping [as being appropriate for higher density development].  We are currently in the growth strategy areas in those maps.  Could staff comment on what effect this motion has on the RSS and our role in the RSS?

Mr. Buchan:  There is a process when the RSS reaches the bylaw stage where NS has to either accept it or ask for changes to it.  There is a dialogue there.   Council can ask at this time for them to put it back to where it was, or they can leave it as it is, or they can say that we’re in the process of looking at changes.  We want it understood that we may want to see some changes to those boundaries in the future – put them on notice.  But they’re going to do their work, and all you can do is let them know what you’re doing.  You don’t have any firm decisions at this point.

Motion passes unanimously.

Finall:  motion to defer rest of agenda items to next meeting.

Motion passes.  Adjourned 10:00.

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