Accomplishments

Community

  • Hosted and attended in-person and virtual community meetings and information sessions.

  • Provided community updates through the Area E community email list and Facebook page.

  • Canvassed neighbourhoods on controversial land use applications to listen and learn

  • Supported Area community associations and the work they do to gather the community together

  • Supported emergency preparedness information sessions in the community

  • Participated in the Cultural Connections initiative, including Hul'q'umi'num language classes

  • Advocated for a Board policy that would reduce barriers to the participation of parents as elected officials

Land Use Planning for a Sustainable Future

  • Supported Cowichan 2050, a framework for regional land use planning

  • Support for the harmonization and modernization of electoral area official community plans to better plan for some of the most pressing questions the CVRD faces today, such as: How can we best accommodate new housing? How can we ensure safe access to drinking water for current and future residents? How can we grow our local economy? How can we respond to climate change? 

  • Advocated for better inventory information for groundwater and sensitive ecosystems and mapping capabilities for land use planning

  • Advocated for a plan to ensure better stormwater management in high risk areas. 

  • Collected survey information about businesses in the Koksilah Business Park area in preparation for development of a local area/neighbourhood plan

  • Strengthened proof-of-water requirements for subdivisions

  • Supported the proposed bylaw to provide seed funding for affordable housing and homeless prevention services to be delivered through the Cowichan Housing Association

Water and Natural Environment

  • Supported development of a bylaw to prevent indiscriminate soil dumping in watersheds

  • Supported the region-wide water and watershed protection services bylaw

  • Advocated for better communications and enforcement of riparian regulations

  • Supported and participated in several Koksilah Watershed initiatives to study and learn how landowners can help protect and restore the health of the Koksilah watershed 

  • With Cowichan Tribes, supported Sh-hwuykwselu watershed stormwater study, to reduce flood risk in Koksilah Business Park area

  •  Solid record of attendance and participation on Cowichan Watershed Board

Parks and Trails

  • Completed Area E community parks and trails master plan, including roadside pathway priorities

  • Advocated to improve opportunities for people to volunteer on parks and trails projects

  • Initiated planning for pathway along Koksilah Road to better connect Cowichan Station to Cowichan Bay

  • Initiated planning for pathway through Eagle Heights neighbourhood.

  • Supported grant funding for building key Trans Canada Trail connections

  • Completed Currie Park shelter and washroom and playground replacement on Hykawy

Governance

  • Solid record of attendance and participation in CVRD Board and committee meetings

  • Advocated for change in procedural bylaw to allow public to provide input at the beginning of CVRD meetings, prior to decision making

  • Advocated for regional recreation services planning

  • Advocated for routine third party reviews of CVRD programs to evaluate and improve service delivery including support for the review of compliance and by-law enforcement

  • Helped steer the Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities Climate Leadership planning initiative

Regional Infrastructure

  • Ongoing liaison with Ministry of Transportation regarding road safety and maintenance

  • Support for the development of a Regional Active Transportation strategy and advocated for a roadside pathway plan for the Eagle Heights neighbourhood

  • Supported full life cycle asset management to better plan for maintenance and replacement of built infrastructure e.g., Sahtlam firehall

  • Advocated for a Sahtlam Firehall service review

  • Supported third party review of CVRD water systems and implementation of recommendations

  • Supported CVRD advocating for modernization of BC legislation pertaining to regional districts, particularly to strengthen subdivision and enforcement tools

Local Taxes and Services

There is some confusion about local taxes and the services they provide, and for good reason since it's complex. 

 

Regional Districts provide services such as parks and recreation, fire protection, emergency management, and waste management. There are currently 178 services in the CVRD; 37 services apply to all of Area E.  The Province collects taxes for the services provided by the Region as well as for schools, roads, policing, and the Regional Hospital District. 

 

Each year the CVRD Directors as a whole make decisions on service levels. Projects in one Area affect finances in other areas, so it's a collaborative process. 

 

The amount of money required each year to maintain the existing level of the CVRD services increases along with the cost of living  and annual inflation. Adding new services, whether minor like a critical street light or major like the drinking water and watershed protection program, adds to the taxes needed. Increases are also unavoidable when the province raises provincial requirements (e.g., emergency services standards), hydro rates go up or aging infrastructure breaks down.  This is reflected in the chart showing the total tax amount requisitioned for Area E since 2005.

 

While the overall amount of tax collected in Area E  rises (unless it is decided to cut a service), the amount each property owner pays towards the total can change each year depending on their property's  value (property value is  set by the BC Assessment Authority), and how it relates to everyone else's property value. This means that even if the tax rate per $100k of assessed value drops, if the property becomes more valuable then the absolute amount of tax paid on that property can rise. This has been the case for many owners in Area E.

 

Over the past few years we've done a better job as Directors with "full life cycle assessment" of public assets like buildings and sewers, investing more to keep them maintained well rather than letting them degrade so that there are fewer aging infrastructure surprises.

 

 

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