February 2017

Council Highlights provide a snapshot of the progress made on City programs, initiatives and on Council decision-making. For more information on each initiative, please visit the accompanying link where noted. We welcome anyone who would like to receive Council Highlights to email us at engage@victoria.ca.

February 9

Update on Cycling Network Implementation
Staff provided Council a workshop on the implementation of Phase 1 of the City’s AAA cycling priority network and future work moving forward. The workshop included a review of AAA design guidelines, an update on the current program status, and an update on the development of the overall program implementation plan which remains subject to further analysis and planning, while providing Council an opportunity to provide feedback. Council directed staff to report back in June 2017 with further cycling network updates and recommendations regarding sequencing, scheduling, resourcing and costs for completion of the network by 2022.  

Crystal Pool ChangeRoom Renovation
Staff will proceed with the Crystal Pool universal change room renovation project. Construction of the new space is expected to take 4-6 weeks and will be scheduled during the facility’s annual maintenance closure in September to minimize disruption to patrons. 

David Foster Harbour Pathway Update
Council has directed staff to complete the two pedestrian bridges and the Heron Cove Special Place at Fisherman’s Wharf and report back with recommendations for implementation on the design of the Johnson Street Bridge Underpass and Reeson Park Pathway. The Johnson Street Bridge Underpass design will be included in the 2017 Financial Plan. 

Clover Point Pump Station Rezoning Application
A rezoning application to permit a new addition to an existing public facility, the Clover Point Pump Station at 1303 Dallas Road, has been moved forward to Public Hearing. The hearing will be held on February 23. 

Extension of Vacancy Taxation Authority to Local Governments
Council will be asking the Province of British Columbia to extend the authority to introduce a surtax on vacant and derelict residential properties to local governments across British Columbia, and encourage the occupancy, maintenance, and improvement of buildings to address housing affordability and public safety.

Restoration of Land Value Tax
Council endorsed a resolution to write a letter asking the Government of British Columbia restore the authority of local governments to introduce a Land Value Tax, to incentivize improvements to property for housing and other purposes, and create a disincentive to holding vacant property for speculative purposes.

Victoria Housing Strategy Implementation – Removing Minimum Unit Sizes
The City considered a proposal from the Victoria Housing Strategy to remove minimum unit sizes in all multi-unit residential zones outside of downtown (which currently has no minimum unit sizes) in an effort to enable a diversity of housing options in Victoria. After consideration of this change, Council moved instead to reduce any minimum unit size larger than the standard 33m2 down to that size for consistency, and to tie future requests for micro units to housing affordability. A new public hearing date will be scheduled in the coming months.

Youth Strategy
A new Youth Strategy was adopted to get more youth involved in local government, and its corresponding implementation plan has been approved. Staff will bring forward funding options for the second and third years of the implementation strategy as part of the 2018 financial planning process.

City Wide Seismic Vulnerabilities Assessment Study
Council has asked staff to expand the scope of the City’s Tax Incentive Program (TIP) beyond downtown to include eligible heritage buildings city-wide. Staff will also examine the City's authority to expand incentives beyond heritage buildings and assess opportunities to include seismic considerations as part of the City’s Rental Retention and Revitalization study. TIP has already successfully incentivized the upgrading of 43 buildings. Currently it is limited to granting tax exemptions exclusively to heritage-designated properties located downtown. 

Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) Motion Social / Community Benefit Procurement
Council endorsed a motion that the AVICC Executive appoint a liaison to the Working Group and that the Working Group undertake a feasibility assessment of a “Community Benefit Procurement Hub” as per the information circulated at the AVICC 2017 Convention for the AVICC membership and report back to the AVICC at the 2018 AGM.

90 & 92 Dallas Road
Council approved a rezoning application for 90 and 92 Dallas Road. This application will allow for the construction of a new duplex on the site. 

School District 61 Presentation
Based on a presentation by School District #61, the Mayor will write to the Ministry of Education supporting funding for the needed upgrades of Vic High School.

February 23

City of Victoria and VicPD Fourth Quarter 2016 Reports
Council was presented the City of Victoria’s and VicPD’s fourth quarter reports, which measure progress towards achieving the organizations’ strategic objectives. 

2017 Key Initiatives
The City’s 2017 Operational Plan Key Initiatives were presented, which will inform the basis for quarterly reporting to Council moving forward. An improved project status reporting process will be phased in during the second quarter of 2017 through the introduction of a new interactive reporting platform for better accountability, transparency and efficiency.

1303 Dallas Road Rezoning Application
The CRD’s rezoning application for 1303 Dallas Road was approved to permit the expansion of a portion of the public right-of-way and structural alteration of the existing Clover Point Pump Station as part of the Core Area Wastewater Treatment Project. The City of Victoria will receive an amenity contribution of a one-time payment of $100,000  to cover public realm improvements. Specific improvements will be determined based on the City consulting with the community and presenting a report to the CRD and City Council for consideration. 

Annual Parking Services Update and Sustainable Transportation Strategy 
Council approved the revised Parking Rates Policy that outlines ranges of rates for the City’s on-street, in-parkades and surface parking lots to reduce this long-term use, freeing up space in City parkades for more short-term parking downtown. Rate changes will take effect on May 1, 2017. A communications plan will be developed to share information about the revised rates, collaborative initiatives with the Downtown Victoria Business Association to make parking easier, and upcoming service improvements at City parkades. Staff will develop a long-term Sustainable Transportation Strategy which will be presented to Council in August 2017. In addition, Council requested that the Mayor write to the Premier and the Minister responsible for Transit to support the request from the Transit Commission for an increase in the gas tax to pay for BC Transit service expansion. 

Crystal Pool and Fitness Centre
Council directed staff to develop an implementation plan for a new facility to cost no more than $69.4 million. The funding will consist of $10 million from a combination of the Buildings and Infrastructure Reserve Fund and the remainder through a combination of external borrowing and other funding opportunities. The 2017-2021 Financial Plan will be amended to include $10 million towards the funding of the project. Staff are to explore additional funding opportunities and report back with a plan to use the referendum process as the method for placing the borrowing question before the electors. Citizens and stakeholder groups will be consulted on the design elements of the future facility (in alignment with Council’s decision on a facility option). Staff will provide Council with an interim, public version of lessons learned of the Johnson Street Bridge project, and a communications plan will be developed to accompany the referendum. 

Short-Term Vacation Rentals
Council will reconsider the issue of short-term vacation rentals at the next Committee of the Whole meeting on Thursday, March 2, 2017. The City will also write to the province asking there be a repeal of Section 78(1)(b) of the Provincial Sales Tax exemption and refund regulation.

Amendment to Storefront Cannabis Retailer Rezoning Policy
The Cannabis Storefront Retailer Rezoning Policy that was adopted by Council on September 22, 2016 was amended by adding Section 8: All  applications  for  rezoning  under  this  Policy  shall  be  forwarded  to the  Neighbourhood Association in which the subject property is located, for information and comments they may wish to provide. 

546 Yates Street Rezoning Application
Staff will prepare the necessary Zoning Regulation Bylaw Amendment that would permit the proposed development of a storefront cannabis retailer at 546 Yates Street. The first and second reading of the Zoning Regulation Bylaw Amendment will be considered by Council and a Public Hearing date will be set. 

510-512 Yates Street Rezoning Application
The storefront cannabis retailer rezoning application for 510-512 Yates Street was received by the City after the 546 Yates Street rezoning application. For this reason it will be deferred until after the public hearing has been held for the 546 Yates Street rezoning. The City’s Storefront Cannabis Retailer Rezoning Policy reads “A storefront cannabis retailer should be at least 200m (in a straight line from closest lot line) from another lot where a storefront cannabis retailer is permitted whether or not a storefront cannabis retailer is active or not.” 

Development Cost Charges Review – Consultation Results
Staff reported on the results of the consultation that took place with the development community during the Development Cost Charges review. The Development Cost Charge Bylaw was brought forward for consideration of first, second, and third reading and the Development Cost Charges Policy was approved which will establish the frequency of review for the City’s Development Cost Charges. As Victoria grows and evolves, new infrastructure and parks are needed to support people and businesses moving into neighbourhoods. Development Cost Charges are charges levied on development to help pay for growth-related infrastructure and parks. 

Draft Zoning Bylaw Public Consultation
Staff will undertake focused public consultation on the draft Zoning Bylaw 2017 and related zoning maps for the Central Business District and Historic Commercial District. The results of this engagement and the proposed Zoning Bylaw will be presented to Council by May 2017 prior to holding a public hearing. 

Infrastructure Planning Grant for Bowker Creek Daylighting Feasibility Study
Council endorsed a resolution supporting the City of Victoria make an application for $10,000 in  grant funds  through  the  Infrastructure  Planning Grant  Program  to fund  a  daylighting feasibility study of Bowker Creek in partnership with the CRD, District of Saanich and District of Oak Bay. 

Capital City Station Bus Depot and BC Transit Downtown Terminal Pilot Projects – Six Month Interim Report
Council extended the Capital City Station bus depot pilot to September 30, 2018 and directed staff to continue to monitor and assess operations and gather additional stakeholder feedback to make necessary minor modifications to improve operations. A report with a longer-term lease agreement and extension recommendations will be presented to Council in October 2017. The BC Transit turnaround/layover pilot on Government Street at Superior will continue and staff will monitor and assess the current operations and gather stakeholder feedback, presenting a long-term recommendation to Council also in October 2017. 

Request to Begin Early Termination of Land Use Contracts
Staff will begin the early termination process for all 42 of the Land Use Contracts (LUCs) in Victoria. Provincial legislation mandates that LUCS will be terminated on June 30, 2024. As part of this legislation, municipalities have been given the ability to terminate LUCs at an earlier date. Removing Land Use Contracts will ensure uniformity with current City processes on any future applications. A Land Use Contract (LUC) is a contract that was entered into between the original developer of land and a local government addressing the use and development rights of a property. LUCs, which are similar to zoning regulations, are registered on the title of a property. 

727-729 Johnson Street Rezoning Application
Council approved first readings of bylaws for the rezoning application at 727 – 729 Johnson Street, which moves it forward to a public hearing at the March 9, 2017 Council meeting.

Letter from the Minister for Agriculture, Responsible for Francophone Affairs Program
Council received a letter dated January 30, 2017, encouraging Victoria to access financial assistance from the B.C. Government Francophone Affairs Program to support the delivery of French programs and services. Council will refer to staff if there is a project that could benefit from this program. 

Letter from the Victoria Real Estate Board
Council received a letter dated January 24, 2017 advising why a Foreign Buyer Property Transfer Tax should not be levied.