March 18, 2021
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 March 11, 18 and 25, 2021 Council Meetings. To review all the topics discussed, click here to see the full agenda and webcast.
Parks Amendment Bylaw
Council has instructed the City Solicitor to bring forward bylaw amendments necessary to continue the permanent prohibition on sheltering in Centennial Square, Central Park and Cecelia Ravine Park in time for adoption prior to May 1, 2021, with the prohibition in Central Park being reviewed at a time when the Temporary Use Permit for the Tiny Homes Village at 940 Caledonia expires.
Council Member Motion: Mental Health and Addiction Services
Council will write to Island Health, the BC Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions and the BC Solicitor General to request that Island Health be given “Special Constable Status” to take custody of patients apprehended under the Mental Health Act on arrival at hospital, subject to such security staff completing training equivalent to that provided to Victoria Police Department special constables, including trauma informed care training. The request also asks that Island Health assume responsibility for ensuring that patients in custody who have left the hospital unescorted are returned to custody as required, and find alternative ways to return patients home following mandated mental health and/or addiction treatment.
Council Member Motion: Streets and Traffic Bylaw
Council has directed staff to report back onimplications of vehicles violating the bylaw and provide council with suggestions to manage the issue, in a manner consistent with the Provincial Health Officer’s advice in the letter dated June 8, 2020 and in the BC Centre for Disease Control’s accompanying Response to Homeless Encampment Health Issues in the Context of COVID-19: Guidelines and Best Practices, dated June 8, 2020, including the advice that:
“Local governments should consider short-term policy adjustments to the enforcement of local bylaws regarding overnight sheltering or camping in public parks or elsewhere, as well as overnight parking bylaws that prevent people from parking in vehicles or RVs overnight on public streets”
“People experiencing homelessness have rights like all citizens, including privacy, safety, property, the right to live without threat, harassment, and fear of violence and the right to not be libeled. Public communications should be developed carefully to ensure that these rights are protected even as local governments seek to explain their objectives and approach.”
Curbside Yard Waste Collection
Council has directed staff to bring forward amendments to the Solid Waste Bylaw to move to curbside collection and expand service to include residential yard waste in the green bin with kitchen scraps. The City will launch a comprehensive awareness campaign with users in advance of the service changes.
Council Member Motion: Support for an Arts Hub Pilot Project
Council supports Theatre SKAM’s proposal to operate an “Arts Hub” pilot project primarily focused on the performing arts, and will allocate a $40,000 one-time grant from the City’s contingency budget, and $20,000 in annual funding for a period of five years from new assessed revenue to achieve the City’s goals of establishing an Arts Hub in downtown Victoria and to help make Theatre SKAM’s proposal financially viable.