December 12, 2019

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.The items are selected highlights from the December 12, 2019 Council Meeting. To review all the topics discussed, click here to see the full agenda and webcast.

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PUBLIC HEARING: Proposed amendments to the Official Community Plan: Food-Bearing, Pollinator and Native Landscape Design Guidelines
Following a public hearing, Council voted to approve amendments to the Official Community Plan regarding Food-Bearing, Pollinator and Native Landscape Design Guidelines. The guidelines are specifically for multi-unit residential, commercial and industrial developments, and would require a minimum of 30% of the required common landscape areas to include a diverse combination of plants and vegetation that are native to southern Vancouver-Island, food-bearing (capable of being harvested for food and medicine) or that provide pollinator habitats.

Learn more  

PUBLIC HEARING: 953 Balmoral Road – Rezoning Application and Development Permit with Variances (Harris Green)
Following a public hearing, Council voted to approve a Rezoning Application and Development Permit with Variances to allow for a multiple dwelling building consisting of 11 rental units.

Read about this application on the Development Tracker

PUBLIC HEARING: 1139 Burdett Avenue – Rezoning Application and Heritage Alteration Permit with Variances (Fairfield)
Following a public hearing, Council voted to approve a Rezoning Application and Development Permit with Variances to retain the heritage designated building, convert the building to multiple dwelling units and add dwelling units within a new addition.

Read more about this application in the Development Tracker

Climate Champions Program
Council has amended the Strategic Plan to remove 2019 Action "Create Neighbourhood Climate Champion program with one child, youth, adult and elder from each neighbourhood to lead and inspire at the local level on Climate Action" and replace it with a 2020 Action "Create a Climate Champions Program." Council will consider allocating up to $50,000 from the 2019 surplus to fund the program in 2020 as a pilot project and assess its effectiveness in mobilizing people to take climate action, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build community resilience.

The Climate Champions program will create and facilitate a network of Champions in order to share ideas, undertake partnerships, and encourage fun and innovative action to reduce the community’s greenhouse gas emissions. The Climate Champions will also leverage existing networks for maximum education and impact. The focus of the program is on action, mobilization and behavior change in line with the largest emissions sources in the City’s Climate Leadership Plan.

Learn more about the Climate Champions Program

My Great Neighbourhood Grant – Fall Intake
Council has approved 29 applications for the fall intake of the 2019 My Great Neighbourhood Grant program, totalling $52,945. Of the 29 recipients, 14 are for placemaking initiatives and 15 are for activity grants. The grant program was developed to support strong, connected neighbourhoods through funding for projects and activities that bring neighbours together and empower them to shape their local area. The City provides up to $5,000 for placemaking projects to match the equivalent contribution from the neighbourhood and up to $1,000 matching funds for community development activities. Since 2016, $392,836 in My Great Neighbourhood Grant funding has been distributed to 129 community-based projects.

Learn more about the 2019 fall grant recipients

Council Appointments
In order to fill vacancies left on external committees and commissions as a result of the resignation of former Councillor Laurel Collins, Council has appointed Councillor Jeremy Loveday on an interim basis to the Urban Food Table as the Council Liaison, andnominated Councillor Marianne Alto as the appointee to the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority Board.

NeighbourHub -  709/711 Douglas Street
Office space at 709/711 Douglas Street that was formerly known as CityStudio will operate as a pilot for 2020 as the “NeighbourHub”, to be managed by the City’s Neighbourhood Team and available to all neighbourhood associations, community organizations that directly impact or are connected to neighbourhood associations, City of Victoria Youth Council, City’s Local Champions Program, City staff, and community organizations that deliver either strategic or operation requirements where capacity permits.

Local Government Recommendation for Burnside Buds (3175 Harriet Road)
An application for Burnside Buds at 3175 Harriet Road for a provincial cannabis retail store licence has been endorsed by City Council, subject to the applicant’s compliance with City bylaws and permits. Council wishes for the Province to make its own deliberations about the fact that this business remained in operation for approximately six months following legalization.

Update on Citizen’s Assembly Terms of Reference
Victoria Council has accepted the final terms of reference as presented by Saanich and directed staff to work with Saanich staff to bring forward a report outlining the steps to be completed in order to make an application to the Province for funding to undertake the Citizens Assembly.

Urban Forest Master Plan Implementation
Following a presentation on the five-year implementation plan for the Urban Forest Master Plan, Council approved the reallocation of $110,000 towards the implementation of priority actions, and directed staff to amend the Master Plan with updated canopy cover estimates.

Priority actions approved for the coming year include:

  • Strengthening tree protection
  • Establishing tree canopy coverage targets and ecosystem service estimates
  • Developing neighbourhood tree planting plans
  • Developing a citizen stewardship plan, including the “Trees in Cities Challenge”

2020 By-Election
Council has directed staff to proceed with a modified by-election process and report back on final timing, cost estimates, and appointment of a Chief Election Officer in January. The modified process will include four polling stations on election day, up to eight advance voting opportunities located at City Hall, an information card mailed to each residence, a candidate profile guide online, and use of the City’s existing channels for advertising and communication.

Municipal Licensing and Regulating of Provincially Approved Taxis, Limousines, and Ride-Hailing Services
Provincial legislation enabling ride-hailing in BC came into force on September 16, 2019. The Province issues licences to ride-hailing companies and sets driver and vehicle requirements for Passenger Directed Vehicles, including taxis, limousines, and ride hailing vehicles. Under this Provincial framework, the City retains the authority to issue business licences and regulate by bylaw; however, the City may not prohibit ride-hailing companies from operating in the municipality.

In addition to provincial licensing, the City currently licenses taxis and limousines under the Business Licence Bylaw and sets licensing conditions under the Vehicles for Hire Bylaw. The Business Licence Bylaw applies to ride-hailing services; however, the Vehicles for Hire Bylaw does not currently apply to ride-hailing services. The new provincial rules also put City licensing conditions for taxis and limousines out of alignment with provincial rules.

Council has directed staff to bring forward amendments to the Vehicles for Hire Bylaw to require the same licensing conditions for taxis and ride-hailing services. Council has also directed staff to review City bylaws and bring forward bylaw amendments to align with provincial licensing requirements for taxis, limousines and ride-hail vehicles. Staff will report back with further regulatory recommendations for passenger directed vehicles in conjunction with the Sustainable Mobility Strategy.

Council Member Motion – Welcoming City Strategy
Council will consider allocating one-time funding from the 2019 surplus during the January 2020 budget deliberations in order to develop a Welcoming City Strategy as identified in the 2019-2022 Strategic Plan. A welcoming city strives to promote inclusive, welcoming community spaces where all people – including immigrants and refugees – feel accepted and are able to participate in the community in a meaningful way.