July 2, 2020

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 July 2 and 9, 2020 Council Meetings. To review all the topics discussed, click here to see the full agenda and webcast.

We welcome anyone who would like to receive Council Highlights to email us at engage@victoria.ca. To visit the City Council Meeting Dashboard, click here.

BC Housing's Affordable Homeownership Program Memorandum of Understanding
Council has authorized the Mayor and City Clerk to execute a memorandum of understanding (“MOU”) with BC Housing to guide the City of Victoria’s participation in BC Housing’s Affordable Home Ownership (“AHO”) Program, generally in accordance with the following terms and conditions:

  1. that contributions by BC Housing in the form of below market construction financing, from the City in the form of extra density, parking and other zoning relaxations, and from the developer in the form of in-kind community amenity contributions, will be pooled to reduce the cost of home ownership to eligible participants
  2. that for all AHO Program participants, homes will be sold to eligible purchasers at fair market value, but a portion of the purchase price (between 10% - 20%) will be covered by a 25 year interest free mortgage in favour of BC Housing (known as the second mortgage)
  3. that eligible purchasers must meet a number of eligibility criteria, principal among which is that their household income cannot exceed the 75th income percentile for families with children for units with two or more bedrooms, and for families without children for units with less than two bedrooms, as determined by BC Housing from time to time
  4. that the second mortgage will not be repayable until the owner defaults on any mortgage registered against title, until there is a change of ownership to a non-qualifying buyer, or to a qualified buyer (through registration discharge of the existing mortgage and a new second mortgage on title of the new qualified buyer), or if the unit ceases to be the owner’s principal residence during the first five years of ownership or the 25 year term ends
  5. that when that mortgage is repayable, a percentage (between 10% - 20%) of the sale price equivalent to the percentage of the vendor’s original purchase price secured by that mortgage will be payable to BC Housing
  6. that once each year all such second mortgage proceeds collected by BC Housing will be transferred to the Victoria Housing Reserve Fund, less 2% to cover its administration costs
  7. that this MOU is non-binding and nothing in the MOU is to be construed as limiting Council, the City, or any City official in exercising their discretion with regard to any rezoning, permitting or subdivision of lands

Sheltering in Place
Council has reaffirmedits existing direction, consistent with advice of Public Health Officials to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19, of sheltering-in-place through deferred enforcement of the 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. bylaw provision in locations where overnight sheltering is permitted until advice is received from the Provincial Health Officer or the Island Health Medical Officer that updates or changes the direction from the June 8th guidance from the BC Centre for Disease Control, "Responses to Homeless Encampment Health Issues in the Context of COVID-19".

The City Manager will report back to Council if more budget is required for staffing in relation to sheltering in parks.

Everyday Creativity Grant Program
Council has approved a new one-time Everyday Creativity Grant Program and Guidelines with a rolling intake until December 31, 2020 and authorized the City Manager to approve the grants following the staff review process.

The grant program aims to fulfil the following objectives:

  • To increase opportunities for creative engagement to support mental and physical health
  • To improve access to the arts for everyone, either online or in-person
  • To amplify arts programs rolling out during the pandemic to increase awareness of creative opportunities
  • To measure and report back on the social impacts of the Everyday Creativity program.   

The maximum grant amount is $5,000 for eligible applications which include, but is not limited to, not-for-profit organizations, schools, and community centres. Individuals, ad hoc, informal organizations, and businesses may also apply for funding by partnering with a local non-profit group. The project must be within the City of Victoria boundaries to be eligible for funding.

Staff will report back at the end of the year on grant allocations and evaluation of the grant program.

Open Meetings Public Attendance
Until there are changes to the restrictions on gatherings and social distancing requirements, all open meetings of Council, including Committee of the Whole will be conducted without members of the public present in Council Chambers. Openness, transparency, accessibility and accountability of these meetings are ensured subject to the provision of:

  1. Full live-stream webcasting and archived meetings on the City’s website, including closed captioning services for all open meetings
  2. Public participation by electronic means for request to address council and question period for regular meetings of Council
  3. Remote participation for opportunities for public comment and Public Hearings through:
    1. Written submissions
    2. Pre-recorded video submissions
    3. Pre-registered speakers list (remote participation)
    4. Real-time call-in during the hearing

Council Member Motion - Financial Contribution toward the City of New Westminster's Legal Costs
Council has authorized staff to offer an expenditure of $5,000 from the 2020 contingency as a contribution toward the City of New Westminster’s legal costs of defending an appeal in relation to the Business Regulations and Licensing (Rental Units) Bylaw No. 6926.

Increase Arts in Public Places Committee Membership
The Terms of Reference for the Art in Public Places Committee has been updated to increase the number of members to a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 7.