Council Meeting Highlights: October 19, 2020

Oct 19, 2020

Here is a quick snapshot of the outcome of this week’s Council meeting. For further details, please watch the video or view the minutes once they are posted.

Amending a Development Permit / Land Use Contract for 1495 Esquimalt Avenue to Allow for a Replacement Emergency Generator

Sunnyside Manor is a subsidized seniors’ rental apartment that was constructed in 1974 under the terms of a Land Use Contract. The existing emergency generator was installed in the basement when it was first built and needs to be replaced. The current location of the generator does not meet current building codes. Under existing code requirements, the only feasible location for the replacement emergency generator is outside.

Council approved an amended Development Permit / Land Use Contract for 1495 Esquimalt Avenue to allow a replacement emergency generator to be installed on an existing patio to the rear of the apartment building in the northwest corner of the site.

On a related note, on November 17, a Public Hearing will be held to hear from the public on a proposal to amend the Development Permit Bylaw, to allow minor exemptions such as this one to be delegated to the Director of Planning & Development Services, increasing efficiency and freeing up Council time.

2020 Budget Amendment

Council approved an amendment to the 2020–2024 Five-Year Financial Plan Bylaw to reallocate existing funds within the 2020 budget and redirect funds to 2020 capital projects.

The funds are available for reallocation because:

  • the budget projections for 2020 have been cautious and conservative in response to the pandemic,
  • cost-saving measures put in place by staff have been very successful,
  • projected revenues under COVID have been stronger than anticipated, and,
  • some programs restarted earlier than anticipated.

McGavin Field: Expansion of Uses and Pop Up

McGavin Field is located on Cypress Bowl Road, directly across from the District’s Operations Centre at 3755 Cypress Bowl Road. It is a large flat site made up of two legal lots and came into the possession of the municipality in 2002 as a community amenity contribution. There is a restrictive covenant in place that specifies the allowable use for the site can be a park, library, police station, or fire hall.

British Pacific Properties (BPP) would like to enter into a licence agreement with the District for use of the site. BPP wishes to create a public park space that includes a sales centre for the Rodgers Creek area currently under development, a playground, washrooms, a coffee and sandwich bar, and the ability to hold public festivals and events.

The current covenant on the site does not allow for the use described, so District staff recommended a Zoning Bylaw Amendment. The amendment would bring the site into alignment with other parks in West Vancouver and allow for the same types of uses.

Council gave first reading to the proposed amendment and set the date for a Public Hearing on November 17. Council also set the date for a public meeting at the same time (concurrent with the November 17 Public Hearing) to consider British Pacific Properties’ Development Permit application.

Updated Tree Bylaw

On September 28, Council received the result of a LiDAR study of the tree canopy in West Vancouver and directed staff to update the Interim Tree Bylaw that has been in place since 2016 to regulate trees on private property.

Staff were also directed to prepare a budget request for the creation of an urban forest management plan in 2021 and to develop guidelines for the maintenance of hedges on private property; these other items will be brought forward at a later date.

The updates to the Interim Tree Bylaw are based on both the tree canopy study results and the recommendations of the Interim Tree Bylaw Working Group. The amendments will:

  • remove “Interim” from the name
  • improve the definition of tree cutting to aid understanding of when a permit is required
  • add native / rare species Pacific yew, Pacific dogwood, Yellow cedar, and Shore pine to the protected tree list, at 20 cm in diameter
  • add creek trees, heritage trees, retained trees, and replacement trees to the protected list
  • clearly define a protected barrier for root zones during construction
  • add restrictions for tree work during nesting season that are in line with federal requirements
  • permit tree work when it is required to address fire hazard risk
  • require the Arborists’ reports to include acceptable pruning techniques
  • update replanting requirements for when trees are removed
  • extend the tree permit from six months to one year, to allow for tree replacement to take place in the optimal season.

Additional amendments were made to the Boulevard Bylaw, which regulates tree cutting on the public boulevard, to make it consistent with the updated Tree Bylaw.

The amendments were read three times, and adoption is scheduled to take place at the November 2 Council meeting.

Certified Professional Program for Building Permits

Council gave first, second and third readings to a new bylaw to create a certified professional program for complex building permits to provide more efficiency and faster permit turnaround times while retaining oversight and control of the permitting process.

Complex building permits include mixed-use and apartment buildings, but not single-family homes or duplexes. Staff who review these permits are currently under-resourced and expect the volume of complex building permits to continue to grow.

The program would allow a developer to choose the option of engaging a qualified professional to review the building permit for compliance, monitor construction and provide monthly reports to the building department. The developer would receive a 5% discount on fees and improved processing time, and the liability would be transferred to the certified professional.

The District would monitor construction but not sign off on individual stages or elements. Once the qualified professional recommends the occupancy permit be issued, the District building inspector would review all the documentation, do a final inspection, and decide whether to issue the occupancy permit.

District staff would still be able to inspect the construction at their discretion and have the ability to refuse an application or revoke a permit.

Adoption of the amended Cemetery Regulation Bylaw

Council adopted amendments to the Cemetery Regulation Bylaw.

At the October 5 meeting, Council gave three readings to bylaw amendments that provide for the administration of Capilano View Cemetery. The amendments respond to family requests, consider greener operational practices, conserve grave space, and deal with issues like littering.

The next Council meeting will take place on November 2.

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