May 24, 2018

Opportunity for Public Comment 515 and 533 Chatham Street – Development Permit with Variance Application
Following an opportunity for public comment Council approvedan application to permit the construction a five-storey, mixed-use building containing ground-floor commercial uses with residential units above.

Public Hearing: 1725 Cook Street – Rezoning Application
Following a public hearing, Council approved the application to rezone the property at 1725 Cook Street to permit a storefront cannabis retailer. 

Public Hearing: 1040 North Park Street – Temporary Use Permit 
Following a public hearing, Council approved a two-year Temporary Use Permit application to allow for a storefront cannabis retailer to operate at 1040 North Park Street. 

Open Data Portal Launch
Council received a report from the City’s Engagement Department regarding the recently launched Open Data Portal. The portal represents a major step forward for public accessibility to the City's open data and the first major enhancement since the 2013 launch of the Open Data Catalogue on the City's website. Check out the City’s Open Data Portal here.

Johnson Street Rail Bridge - Legacy Steel Disposal
Council endorsed the idea of using the rail bridge steel currently in storage for public art in the City of Victoria. Council directed staff to report back after having brought this issue to the Art in Public Places Committee with opportunities, implications and a potential budget of holding a design contest to creatively re-use the steel in the public realm. Read the committee report here. 

Bicycle Network - Phase 1 Design and Implementation Update
Council received a report regarding the next phases of the City’s Bicycle Master Plan, Phase 1 corridors. Learn more about the bicycle network design and implementation here.

After discussion, Council approved:

  • The 60% design for Wharf Street and the Humboldt Street AAA cycle track, and directed staff to proceed to detailed design and construction tender.
  • Deferring the Cook Street project as a part of Phase 1 implementation
  • The acceleration of the Vancouver Street AAA cycle track project as a priority (between Park Avenue and Bay Street), in place of the 2016 Cook Street project, and engage with stakeholders on the design as outlined in this report
  • That staff report back on options of achieving a traffic volume average of approximately 1000 cars per day on Vancouver Street between Southgate and Fort. Consideration will be given to a calmed, shared use roadway for the portion of Vancouver north of Pandora.
  • That there be a temporary installation for the Humboldt Plaza that can be used for future placemaking pilot projects.

Development Cost Charges - Proposed Rates for Sewer and Parks
Council received a report and directed staff to engage the development community on the proposed rates for Development Cost Charges for parks and sewage. Read more here.

Participatory Budgeting Pilot
Over the past year the City introduced Participatory Budgeting, a process that empowered the community to invest $60,000 of the City’s budget, to develop the process and allocate funding to projects. After receiving the report regarding the pilot, Council directed staff to focus Participatory Budgeting on specific theme areas over the next three year (2019-Youth; 2020-Newcomers; 2021-Neighbourhood Spaces) and, each year, work with a community organization active in these areas to lead Participatory Budgeting in the community and involve other groups and the public in the process. Read about the Participatory Budgeting pilot and plans for what’s next here.

2018 Municipal Election Update
The municipal election will be Saturday, October 20, 2018. Council received information and recommendations for the upcoming election process,lessons learned from the 2014 election, an overview of proposed changes to the Election Procedures Bylaw, and voter engagement strategies for the upcoming municipal election. Council appointed the Chief and the Deputy Chief Election Officers, and gave three readings to the Election Procedures Amendment Bylaw. Read more here. 

Advisory Committees
The City of Victoria’s Accessibility Working Group (AWG) and Active Transportation Advisory Committee (ATAC)  provide advice to staff and council to guide municipal infrastructure, policies and facilities. Council directed staff to include in the Quarterly Update a list of recommendations from the Accessibility Working Group and Active Transportation Advisory Committee, with comments from staff including the advisability of the recommendations and potential resource implications to inform Council's consideration of the recommendations. Recommendations from the AWG and ATAC which are time-sensitive may be brought forward by a Council Liaison in a Council Member report directly to the Committee of the Whole, within two weeks of the advisory committee meeting where the recommendation was adopted. Read more here. 

Residential Rental Zoning
Council directed staff to review the Local Government Statutes (Residential Rental Tenure Zoning) Amendment Act, 2018, and report back on a priority basis on next steps for implementing Residential Rental Tenure Zones within the City of Victoria. The Legislative Assembly of British Columbia has recently approved legislation amending the Local Government Act to empower local governments to adopt zoning bylaws that limit the form of tenure to residential rental tenure. Read more here. 

“Rental Supports” from The Housing Trust Fund in Instances of Building Renewal Rezonings
Council directed staff to investigate and report back on the possibility to introduce three-year “Rental Supports” for tenants facing an increased net rent of more than $200 per month as a result of the renewal of buildings under a rezoning. Read more here. 

Council Highlights from the May 17 Council Meeting following Committee of the Whole

Cash in Lieu of Community Space, Roundhouse Master Development Agreement
Council approved the request from the developer to amend the Roundhouse Master Development Agreement (MDA) to defer receipt of the payment to the time of the Building Permit Application Submission for the Roundhouse development. Council also directed staff to develop a work plan for a public engagement process to determine the community amenity generated through this development. Read more about this process and the plan here

Market Rental Revitalization Study
As part of the Victoria Housing Strategy, Council moved forward with three initiatives aimed at protecting Victoria’s existing rental stock and providing support for renters. A new Rental Property Standards of Maintenance Bylaw will establish a basic standard of repair for residential rental properties. The bylaw will apply to all rental units on a one-year trial basis. A new Tenant Assistance Policy will provide best practice guidelines for support offered by developers and property owners to renters when rental properties are renovated or rezoned for redevelopment. The policy is intended to complement existing guidelines established under the provincial Residential Tenancy Act. A Rental Energy and Seismic Upgrade incentive program will aim to improve energy performance and seismic upgrades to the City’s aging rental apartment buildings while retaining tenants. Council has directed staff to identify pilot projects for testing and further development of this incentive program. View the report 

Laurel Point Remediation
Council received a report regarding the recently completed environmental risk assessment and remediation action plan for Laurel Point Park.

Council approved three motions:

  • That there be amendments to the 2018 Financial Plan bylaw to add $3.1 million for the environmental remediation at Laurel Point Park with funding from the Tax Sale Lands Reserve.
  • That $50,000 be used from contingencies for the removal, storage, and reinstallation of various City assets on Laurel Point federal lands and;
  • That the Mayor and City Clerk be authorized to execute, on behalf of the City, an Agreement with the federal government to allow remediation of City land in conjunction with the Transport Canada Middle Harbour Fill Site remediation project.
    Read about the remediation work and plan.  

Cecelia Ravine Improvement Plan
Council approved a Park Improvement Plan for Cecelia Ravine Park, located in the Burnside Gorge neighbourhood. The park design includes a larger playground, community gathering areas, picnic facilities and open green space, as well as an improved outdoor fitness area and enhanced furnishings, including bike racks, shade structure, pathway lighting, and seating. An upgraded, accessible pathway will connect the western area of the park to the Galloping Goose Regional Trail and eastern area of Cecelia Ravine Park. There will also be a new public washroom and parking area for vehicles. Staff will now complete the necessary detailed design work and prepare for construction to begin this summer. Learn more about the park improvements here. 

Direction for the 2019 Financial Plan
Through the 2015-2018 Strategic Plan, Council has provided direction for a maximum tax increase of inflation plus 1%.The Province of BC is introducing a new payroll tax in 2019 which will eventually replace Medical Services Plan (MSP) premiums in 2020. The estimated impact of this tax and the MSP premiums to the City for 2019 is $2.3 million. With this in mind, Council has asked staff to prepare a draft 2019 Financial Plan for Council’s consideration that maintains existing services and service levels, and continues the in-progress initiatives within the Strategic Plan, with two options:

  • One that keeps the tax increase to no more than inflation plus 1%, including police;
  • A second option that keeps the tax increase to no more than inflation plus 1%, including police, plus an additional tax increase to accommodate the impact of the new health tax increase.

These options will be presented to Council in the late fall 2018.  Read the Committee of the Whole Report