Council Meeting Highlights: July 12
At the June 14, 2021, regular meeting, Council received a report dated May 25, 2021, regarding a proposed variance permit for 8440 Citrus Wynd. Construction of the residence has been underway since 2014, with a series of events preventing completion. However, the property was sold in 2020, and the new owner has worked proactively with staff to resolve outstanding issues to complete construction.
Council approved the development variance permit.
At their November 2, 2020 meeting, Council directed staff to report back to Council regarding creating a Council Code of Conduct. In conjunction with the Municipal Solicitor, staff prepared a draft Code of Conduct for Council's consideration. It is considered a best practice in municipalities and private businesses to establish a code of conduct that sets out behaviour expectations and sets out remedies when expectations are not met.
The majority of Council did not support the proposed Code of Conduct Bylaw.
In 2018, Council adopted the Respectful Behaviour Bylaw to promote a safe, healthy, respectful, and positive environment, free of violence, bullying, and harassment, for all members of the public, volunteers, and staff at its facilities. The Respectful Behaviour Bylaw does not apply to behaviour outside of district facilities. In March 2020, the District moved to a largely virtual service delivery model in response to the pandemic. With municipal facilities closed, telephone, email exchanges, virtual meetings, and in-person conversations in the field became the methods of interaction. While occurrences of in-person inappropriate behaviour inside municipal facilities were drastically reduced, those behaviours increased on the other interaction methods.
The Respectful Communication Bylaw was drafted to work together with the Respectful Behaviour Bylaw to help promote a safe, healthy, and positive environment for members of the public, volunteers, staff, and Council. It would also fulfil the District's obligations to provide a workplace that is free of violence, bullying, and harassment per the BC Human Rights Code and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The majority of Council did not support the proposed Respectful Communications Bylaw.
West Vancouver's drinking water is either sourced and treated locally or purchased from Metro Vancouver. The geography of West Vancouver creates challenging conditions for operating and maintaining the water utility. A complex network of assets, including a dam, mains, pump stations, and treatment areas delivers water to homes, where residents pay for their water used through a metering system.
Management of the water system involves identifying the assets that make up the system, determining their value and condition, evaluating the work that needs to be done to maintain them in good working order, estimating the cost to do so, and determining how to fund that work. This report provided information on the most recent evaluation of West Vancouver's water system.
- The water system is worth approximately $587 million (replacement cost), 77% of which is attributed to water mains.
- The asset levy that was introduced in 2016 does not pay for water utility assets. The water system is funded entirely through utility fees.
- The condition of the assets is rated by the "probability of failure."
- The overall rating for the physical condition of the existing water system is good. However, a small percentage of the water system is rated as poor, with a high probability of failure.
- The overall rating for the functional rating of the water system is not high. For example, the Fire Underwriters Survey has evaluated the fire flow demand, indicating that the diameter of existing pipes is insufficient to provide enough flow for significant fire fighting efforts and needs to be upgraded.
- There is currently a backlog needed for the water system immediately, including water mains, pumping stations, and reservoirs. The total value of this backlog of required upgrades is $34 million.
- The current annual utility increases are insufficient to address the actual construction costs required to maintain the water system.
- Options for funding the required upgrades look at acceptable risk levels and opportunities to conserve water by implementing tighter restrictions, raising water rates, and borrowing.
Staff are bringing this information forward for Council and the public's information now, in advance of autumn, when the water utility rates are set.
Council approved the following recommendations:
- the report dated June 23, 2021, titled Water Utility System Asset Management Plan 2021, be received for information
- staff prepare the water utility rate-setting process to account for a phased increase of the annual capital funding program to meet and sustain long-term funding requirements for the District’s water distribution and treatment systems
- staff develop and incorporate into the water rate-setting process a water utility capital renewal escalation factor that captures construction inflation costs and that this factor be updated and reviewed with Council every three years or as appropriate, beginning in 2024
- staff proceed with preparing loan authorization bylaw(s) to fund the reconstruction and updating of the Westmount Pump Station and Reservoir
Council previously approved a temporary outdoor patio permit program to support local businesses during COVID-19. The pilot program ends October 31, 2021. However, Café Crema has approached the District with a proposal to install a permanent street patio, which requires a development permit and a street occupancy permit. Council waived the notice requirement for the development permit application and considered the application immediately.
The proposed patio installation includes seating for five tables inside a steel and glass enclosure. The enclosure would include a glass roof with mounted gas heaters, and landscape containers at the enclosure ends. The patio would be located where there is currently a bike rack, and Café Crema would pay for relocating the bike rack to a nearby location on Bellevue Avenue. The temporary outdoor patio pilot program waives associated fees until October 31, 2021. After that time, the business would be required to pay the fees for the licence to use the street.
Council was asked to approve the installation's design. The street occupancy permit would be delegated to the Director of Engineering & Transportation under the Traffic and Parking Bylaw requirements.
Council approved the Development Permit for 1495 Bellevue Avenue, allowing for the installation of a street patio.
The proposed housing agreement prevents any restrictions from being placed on the rental or leasing of the units in the Sewell's development in Horseshoe Bay.
Council gave first, second, and third readings to the proposed Housing Agreement Authorization Bylaw.
Council approved $300,000 from the COVID-19 Safe Restart Grant to fund the COVID-19 Impact Assistance Grant for Non-for-Profit Organizations.
Many not-for-profit organizations that provide support for a broad spectrum of needs and interests have been financially impacted by the pandemic. In response, the District is offering COVID-19 Impact Assistance Grants, essentially doubling the amount of funding allocated to eligible not-for-profit community organizations in 2021.
This is a one-time funding opportunity for not-for-profit organizations that have played, and continue to play, a critical role in West Vancouver’s social, cultural, and economic vitality.
The District is now accepting applications, which are due by 4:30 p.m. on August 10, 2021. The application process will be administered through the Community Grants Committee and funding will be disbursed in October 2021.
Crisis in current emergency preparedness and response system
In response to a recent incident in which a resident fell on Argyle Avenue and sustained an injury that resulted in them being unable to move, and an ambulance did not respond for more than five hours after 9-1-1 was called, Council voiced support for the Mayors' Council to lobby the provincial government to resolve the current crisis in the paramedic service.
The next Regular Council meeting will take place on July 26, 2021.