Present: Mayor Maja Tait and Councillors Megan McMath, Al Beddows, Robert Bateman, Dana Lajeunesse, and Ebony Logins. Missing: Tony St-Pierre
4. ADOPTION OF MINUTES
Minutes of the Regular and Special meetings of Council:
- Regular Council – 15 Oct 2019 – Minutes: THAT the minutes of the October 15, 2019 Regular meeting of Council, be adopted as circulated.
- Committee of the Whole – 21 Oct 2019 – Minutes: THAT the minutes of the October 28, 2019 Committee of the Whole meeting, be adopted as circulated.
Adopted with corrections noted by Bateman
- Lumberjack activities to return to Sooke for Canada Day
- Mouck Energy project heard by Council
- Public Input
- Lot A Expression of Interest concerns fills the room with Sooke Seniors
- EMCS Society request theatre seat funding
- Housing Needs Report, Council Quarterly Report, received by Council
- Council agrees Expression of Interest can be for Lot segments
- DeMamiel Creek Trail and Sidewalk to be done by March 2020
- Sooke to get Pride Flag
- Nov 12 meeting moved to Nov 18
- Finances moved to fund Housing Needs Report
- Business Bylaw amended to include societies, non-profits, free
- Access to public correspondence to be expanded
- Council requests more info before considering EMCS Theatre seat funding
- Invasive Species left to DFO to control
- Verbal Reports
LumberJack (and LumberJill) activities to be included in this year’s Canada Day celebrations
5.1. Sooke Lions’ Club (consists of a collection including the Lions, Harbourside Lions, and more), Danny Willis presenting: Funding for Canada Day Event 2020. They will need $30,000 to run a full event. At $25,000, some other smaller events can be cut. If funding remains at $10,000, then it will be business as usual. With a Loggers show, there will be three 45 minute shows, with bleacher seating. There can also be an axe-throwing component, which would be fully insured.
From the delegation request form: “Sooke Lions Club Canada Day: Request for additional funds: Sooke Lions Club has started the planning and organizing process for producing Sooke Canada Day July 1, 2020. This production is lead by a committee of Lions Clubs members, local volunteers and specialists in event planning. Steve Wright chairs this dynamic committee and has been pouring over social media commentary of the 2019 Sooke Canada Day production. At the request of Sooke residents, committee members and other contacts, Steve reached out to the West Coast Lumberjacks, which puts on a logging sports demonstration and show. This internationally award-winning, action-packed and family-focused logging entertainment highlights the traditional skills and work practices of the coastal BC lumberjack workers. The performers offer a poignant, thrilling and at times comedic show. This is an all Canadian produced show. In previous years in Sooke, there was a logging demo show at the ‘Sooke Flats.’ I am requesting additional funding in order to hire this amazing logging show company.”
Tait noted she wants to keep it free. Bateman noted that Council gives $20,000 per year for Canada Day. Grant deliberations begin at the end of this year. Tait doesn’t want to take money out of the Community Grants, as that waters down the intent of having Community Grants. There’s about $2,500 left in Council Contingency. Funds are still available in the CAO Contingency Fund, there’s also an Events Account that can be looked at. The Lions noted that the funds don’t have to come from this year’s budget but can wait for next year’s budget. Lions can pay the deposit out of existing funds, but they will need confirmation that the event is covered before they pay a deposit.
Motion: That Council direct staff to add an additional $10,000 as a one-time increase to the Sooke Lions’ Club for Canada Day 2020 Event, for the West Coast Lumberjack performance.
McMath, seconded by Logins. Logins noted that she would like to see a return of All Sooke Days. Lajeunesse suggested attaching All Sooke Days to this event may be a good idea. Carried unanimously.
Mouck energy proposal received by Council, who cannot support individual enterprises
5.2. Peter Mouck – Mouck Marine Energy: At a Dec 12, 2016, meeting, Peter Mouck of Mouck Marine Energy Productions Ltd. spoke to wanting to open a full-service facility here in Sooke, probably in Otter Point. He was asking for a letter of support from Council. On May 1, 2017, Peter Mouck presented again on independent energy infrastructure upgrades and was looking for a letter of support from the District. He provided Council with some copyright definitions and gave some background on his energy proposal. He was invited to follow up with staff for possible further presentation to a formal Council meeting.
At Monday’s meeting, Mouck said he was finishing the work of Tesla. Lajeunesse said he wants to see a working prototype before he supports anything.
Beddows noted he has three ready to go, where are they? “It feels like you are wasting my time.” Mouck attempted to answer the question with another question to Beddows, to which he replied, “You don’t question me, I question you.”
McMath appreciated Mouck’s enthusiasm. She noted he was asking Council to write a press release, but Council is not understanding what he is saying. She asked for layman’s terms. She felt he was asking them to pitch a concept they don’t understand.
Logins corrected Beddows, saying that no one who presents to Council is a “waste of time.” Logins asked what would happen if they do support, and what would happen if they don’t. What came of that line of questioning was that no matter what happens at Council, the project moves ahead. Logins asked if it was possible for Council to see an installation before issuing a press release.
Bateman did note that there has been a historical record of information suppression. He did add that Council, by law, cannot directly support a private enterprise.
Lajeunesse asked if he owned a patent. Mouck noted he owns copyrights, but no patents. They are not too concerned about patents, they just want to get it done.
Tait noted that she too struggles with the concept proposed by Mouck. She added that the District does releases for District initiatives. She was open to an invitation if he had an open house and/or a demo.
6. REPORT OF THE CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER
Nothing to update this evening.
7. PUBLIC QUESTION AND COMMENT PERIOD
Lot A Expression of Interest concerns fills the room with Sooke Seniors
Rick Robinson of the Sooke Region Communities Health Network: Speaking to item 8.1, the Northeast Quadrant. They are supportive of Option B. He’s concerned that Council is going to miss a funding opportunity for BC Housing if the development is bundled together as a single project.
His key messages as presented to Council (sent to SPN by email):
- Thank Council for moving forward with the charette’s recommendations for the NE quadrant of Lot “A”.
- Option “B” from the Task Force Report is supported by the District’s commissioned charette process, Sooke Seniors Drop-In Society, Sooke’s Age-Friendly Committee, and the Sooke Region Communities Health Network.
- Additional affordable rental housing for Seniors is supported by Sooke’s recent Housing Needs Assessment
- This opportunity to obtain funding from BC Housing to build a permanent senior centre with opportunities for youth along with a 75-unit accessible affordable apartment building for seniors comes along once in a generation.
- We are concerned if Council proceeds with the expression of interest (EOI) for the entire 3 quadrants of the property there is a distinct possibility of delaying the development of the NE quadrant and missing the funding from BC Housing.
- We urge Council in their EOI release to entertain EOI’s not only for the entire remaining property, but for each quadrant individually.
- We also urge Council to expedite the predevelopment due diligence on Lot “A”
- Civil engineering
Kevin Albers, Makola Housing CEO. He emphasized that this is a generational opportunity. A spring 2020 call is coming, and that may be the last opportunity. He’s concerned about the bundling of the three quarters into one project.
Carol Pinalsky noted that time is of the essence. This is not “pandering to a single demographic” as all will eventually shift into that population. The seniors’ community has raised $60,000 over the years through bingos and events. This has dragged on long enough.
EMCS Society request theatre seat funding
Ann Bell, raised the issue of the fundraising for new seats at the EMCS Community Theatre. In spite of all fundraising efforts, they will fall short of their overall goal. Ann was asking for the commitment, even if it’s spread out over this year and next year. The seat installment will probably happen in 2021.
8. CONSENT AGENDA (moved and approved as a block):
Housing Needs Report, Council Quarterly Report, received by Council
8.1. Recommendations from October 21, 2019 Committee of the Whole meeting:
- THAT Council accepts the Housing Needs Report for information and discussion.
- THAT Council receives the 2019 Q3 Council Strategic Plan Update for information. Note for readers: This is a good document for understanding the projects currently being undertaken or otherwise planned to be undertaken by the District. Worth looking at.
Moved as a block, moved by Bateman and Logins, passed unanimously.
THAT Council receives the Northeast Quadrant Lot A Task Force report for information.
Council agrees Expression of Interest can be for Lot segments
Beddows noted that he was very unhappy with this task force report, particularly the process. They were directed to focus mainly on seniors. It then went off the rails and they then turned it to looking at social housing. The social housing element was to be addressed by the Housing Needs Assessment. He noted there are a number of projects already being undertaken. Why are we in a hurry to develop Lot A? We own this land outright now. We will soon be at 15,000. The police have indicated they will need a new police station. Why not wait until we have a clearer sense of what our needs are? He hesitates to squander that resource.
Logins noted she was happy to move forward on the recommendations. They are not in a hurry to develop it. They need the expression of interest to move forward on the development of that lot. The Housing Needs assessment supports the notion that we need affordable housing. They won’t have the information required for the Spring of 2020. The initial EOI was for the northeast quadrant, and it’s now moved to be for all three quadrants.
Tait noted it can’t all be done in one year, nevermind by Spring 2020. Staff noted there is an opportunity to phase the whole Lot. The CAO noted that a representative from BC Housing would be at the Nov 25 Council meeting.
Bateman, as the chair of the Taskforce, said it’s been an “interesting process.” He noted a domino of errors that lead to wrong terms of reference being circulated. Makola needs to be able to respond to an expression of interest. He noted this falls in a period of years of “no action” from other governments, and now there’s suddenly a small and short window available.
Tait noted that there’s due diligence that Council has to follow, it’s a raw and unserviced parcel of land. Tait feels optimistic that housing will continue to be a priority for provincial and federal governments, Canada-wide. She feels a sense of urgency, moving the development of this property forward. The Library has taken 10 years. SEAPARC is going through an expansion that’s been long needed. She’s comfortable going forward. We don’t need another committee on this, it’s time for action. She also noted that with the Library being one storey, there’s a lost opportunity for density as well.
Beddows noted he doesn’t have a problem with social housing. He wants to save a segment for District office expansion and to have some set aside for RCMP. He doesn’t like social housing there. It can go elsewhere.
Logins moved the recommendation that they receive the report for information, and issue an Expression of Interest.
Tait asked for flexibility in the EOI, that it can be segmented. CAO noted it’s “not inconceivable” for a non-profit society to submit an Expression of Interest, just on the segment of land they are interested in.
THAT Council direct staff to bring forward a report outlining the process of issuing an “Expression of Interest” for development of the remainder of Lot A, and associated considerations, after the due diligence components have been completed.
DeMamiel Creek Trail and Sidewalk to be done by March 2020
Shovels in the ground in a month, with a completion date of March 2020, as per the terms of the contract. There is a budget of $190,000 for this project. Staff received one tender for the DeMamiel Creek (Little River) Connector Trail and Sidewalk Project. Ramida Enterprises Ltd. was the only bidder with a total bid price of $165,879.99 +GST.
Beddows remarked that this was a pretty good bid. Staff noted it was posted for four weeks. Sooke has worked with this company before. Staff is hoping for a project on time and within budget.
Lajeunesse asked about the grade. Staff noted there will be an 8 percent grade at parts.
Bateman noted that there’s an eligible contract list. Staff noted that for the larger projects, they don’t draw on the eligible contract list. Bateman noted that these contractors have done Sooke’s two washrooms.
Motion: THAT Council authorizes staff to award the tender for the DeMamiel Creek (Little River) Connector Trail and Sidewalk Project to Ramida Enterprises Ltd. for the amount of $165,879.99 +GST. Beddows / Logins, carried unanimously.
Sooke to get Pride Flag
Sooke will fly the Pride flag during Victoria’s Gay Pride week, replacing the District flag for that period of time. The flag will cost about $200, drawn from existing office budgets.
THAT Council amend Policy CO-004 – Flag Protocol to add a new section 5 – Pride Flag as outlined in the report; and THAT Council direct staff to purchase a pride flag. Moved by McMath / Logins, carried unanimously.
Nov 12 meeting moved to Nov 18
At least two members of Council, including the Mayor, will not be available for the November 12, 2019 regular meeting. It is requested Council cancel the November 12th meeting. A subsequent Special Council meeting will be scheduled on November 18th to address the items.
Motion to consider: THAT the November 12, 2019 Regular Council meeting be cancelled. Logins / Bateman, carried unanimously.
Finances moved to fund Housing Needs Report
THAT Council direct staff to transfer $7,900 from the Housing Reserve Fund Establishment Bylaw, 2006 for the Housing Needs Report. Bateman / Logins. Carried unanimously.
THAT Council give First, Second and Third reading to the bylaw cited as Five-Year Financial Plan Amendment Bylaw No. 751 (731-01), 2019. Logins / Beddows. Carried unanimously.
Business Bylaw amended to include charitable and non-profits
From the report:
“The District’s Business Licence bylaw requires clarification around the requirement of a business licence for charitable/non-profit organizations and that there is no charge for such a business licence. This is accomplished in the attached amendment bylaw. Please note that there is an advertising requirement that will be undertaken and public input sought at the November 18, 2019 special meeting.
“A business licence is required as this is the trigger for public inspections by the District’s Fire Department for public buildings.”
Charitable and non-profit organization will need to apply. Fees still apply for building permits.
THAT Council give First, Second and Third reading to the bylaw cited as Business Licence Amendment Bylaw No. 753 (301-2). Logins / McMath. Carried unanimously.
11. NEW BUSINESS
Access to public correspondence to be expanded
11.1. Council Procedure Bylaw Amendment – Councillor Bateman (Notice of Motion from October 15, 2019 Regular Council Meeting)
THAT Council amend section 21(1)(m) of the Council Procedure Bylaw No. 728, 2019, removing “requiring action”, to allow for all correspondence to be addressed by Council regularly in agenda packages. Bateman / McMath. WITHDRAWN.
Bateman was concerned that the tradition has been to attach all correspondence. Now, there’s more culling. Bateman feels they are missing something. The onus is on the individual councillors to determine what requires action. Bateman isn’t comfortable identifying what needs action. The requests for Ballards on Brailsford, as an example, have never come forward. This creates an issue around transparency. Tofino, as an example, has a correspondence policy, where the CAO determines what is added to the agenda. In Qualicum Beach there is a Councillor’s correspondence log included in the minutes. While the correspondence isn’t in it, at least there’s a sense of what people are communicating to Council.
Beddows shared Bateman’s concerns. He liked the suggestion that the CAO makes the initial call.
Staff noted that the Tofino model is essentially what Sooke staff already do, the Qualicum Beach model might be a consideration, as that is already circulated out to Councillors. Staff used to keep correspondence at the front desk, and all it ever collected was dist.
Logins would prefer to wait for an actual correspondence policy to be developed by Staff, and it’s on their to-do list.
The CAO noted all can be added to the consent agenda, and it would be accessible by link. Another staff noted that one concern is about redaction, and the time required to redact.
Tait agrees with Bateman. She’s watched correspondence change over the years. Some goes in hard copy, some electronic, some sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, some to individual councillors.
MOTION: That Council amend section 21(1)(m) of the Council Procedural Bylaw No 728, 2019, removing “requiring action”, to allow for all correspondence to be addressed by Council regularly in agenda packages.
Motion withdrawn. An index will be included in the Consent Agenda in the future.
11.2. Outdoor Burning Regulations – Councillor St-Pierre (Notice of Motion from October 15, 2019 Regular Council Meeting) MOVED TO NEXT MEETING THAT Council request a staff report on air quality issues related to outdoor burning, including options for resolution.
11.3 Notice of Motion
Tait: That Council direct staff to provide a report on transforming its friendship city relationship…. Too fast to capture.
Council requests more info before considering EMCS Theatre seat funding
The EMCS Society is asking the District to partner with and support them financially in the effort to replace the seats in the Sooke Community Theatre at EMCS. The amount requested in the request is unclear.
Bateman recused himself. The Community Charter requires a legal opinion to re-enter a room, so Logins had to leave the room too.
Beddows noted that the costs have gone up considerably. They will need $20K to $75K. When they first came to Council, they were asking for $40K.
Lajeunesse is not familiar with its history. The mayor replied that mechanically, they are done, and the fabric is getting worn out. Beddows noted that seven seats had to be taken out as they are physically dangerous. Beddows wished they had presented to them directly instead of writing a letter. Beddows said he doesn’t have enough information to vote on anything tonight. That would also bring Lajeunesee up to speed. Staff was directed to ask the EMCS society to present at an upcoming meeting. McMath noted that a full presentation had been done. Beddows noted that the numbers had changed. Beddows also wanted an exact figure of what they were looking for.
Staff would be asked to bring out the materials previously presented, and to reach out to the Society to ask for an update and an exact and specific ask. Beddows / Lejeunesse, carried unanimously.
Tait indicated that she would be favourable to investing in the theatre, as it is a community resource.
12.2. Correspondence re: Invasive Crab Species
Invasive Species left to DFO to control
Sooke is known for the biggest and most invasive green crab population in all of B.C. Chevy Alexander, who lived in Sooke for 18 years, never heard about this. The first he learned of this was when he moved to Prince Rupert, B.C for an Applied Coastal Ecology program at Coast Mountain College. Alexander is asking the District of Sooke to consider posting signs and educating people who can help, by promoting the image of the crab, and include “how to identify them, information on what they are doing and how to correctly dispose of them placed on every dock and in every marine around Sooke can help eliminate this species.”
According to the Island Fisherman Magazine in a July 2019 report, “Established populations of European Green Crabs were detected in Sooke in 2012.”
Tait noted she’s often witnessed the inhumane treatment of the crab that are thrown back into the water.
Beddows noted that the RCMP do execute occasional spot checks on the boardwalk. Beddows noted that the green crab issue is a DFO matter. Staff noted they are working with the DFO to get the information, along with measuring devices.
McMath did speak with DFO, and they noted the DFO hesitates to put it on the crabbing community to identify and eliminate the green crab. Identification can be an issue.
Beddows asked about park access. Staff noted that permissible hours are sunrise to sunset. Poachers tend to work after hours.
13. COUNCIL VERBAL REPORTS
Beddows: SEAPARC meeting had a good presentation from Steve Knoke. Things are going well with the renovation.
Bateman: Citizens on Patrol are running out of funds. They are community volunteers. Staff suggested they apply for a Grant in January. Bateman noted they are looking for a line item. Staff noted that that is how most line items began. CRD will be looking at mountain biking, region-wide. The off-leash motion may be redundant as a dog policy is on the horizon. Tait recommended keeping the motion in.
Tait: Next year is going to be busy. There’s tremendous investment coming into Sooke next year, with the highway expansion, new housing developments, the new Library, SEAPARC expansion, and more. She figures there will be about $90 million dollars of investment coming into Sooke. Tait sees a lot of people being employed here. Growth invites more growth. She’s seeing “nice forward momentum.” Tait also noted that last week she met with Mayor Shiro Yamada of Natori, Japan.
— SookeCa (@SookeCa) October 23, 2019
Tait also gave a headsup on the #ChooseSooke initiative.
Tait is off to Vancouver on an Access for Justice matter.
The Library is still on track. Bateman did note that the 59 parking lots are down to 44. There is longterm lease in process or close to being finalized.