March 12, 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 March 12, 2020 Council Meeting. 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.

PUBLIC HEARING: Air Space Parcels
Following a public hearing, Council voted to approve changes to the Zoning Regulation Bylaw to permit air space parcel subdivisions. Air space parcels are lots created through three-dimensional subdivision plans. They are a relatively new form of subdivision that is becoming more common, especially within larger mixed use developments.

Application for a Change to Hours for Christies Carriage House Pub, 1739 Fort Street
An application to the Liquor Licensing Agency has been endorsed by City Council to increase hours of operation for Christies Carriage House Pub to 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and 10 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, with an occupant load of 135 people.

Group Insurance Coverage for Neighbourhood Associations
Council has authorized an expenditure of up to $7,500, funded from the 2020 contingency, to cover the cost of Group Accident Insurance Coverage for neighbourhood associations that do not have City-funded community centres.

Next Generation Conversion Regulations Update
Over the last several decades, conversion regulations have facilitated the creation of a significant number of residential units and housing choice by repurposing large, existing single-family houses into smaller residential units. This has been accomplished in a manner that has had the side benefit of preserving the existing character of many of Victoria's neighbourhoods, adding to the stock of heritage-designated and registered properties and diverting demolition waste from landfills. While the current regulations are considered to be very successful, the "Next Generation Conversion Regulations" are required to ensure the ongoing health and vitality of the program.

Council has direct staff to prepare bylaws to amend Schedule G - House Conversion Regulations and Schedule C - Off Street Parking Regulations of the Zoning Regulation Bylaw in order to:

  1. change the qualifying year of construction
  2. reduce restrictions on exterior changes
  3. clarify and expand opportunities to utilize under-height basements
  4. allow attic spaces to be developed
  5. allow vehicle car parking in front yard (for non-heritage properties)
  6. increase and incentivize permitted number of units
  7. allow windows and doors on front elevations
  8. remove parking requirements
  9. require bicycle parking

Staff will monitor the impact of the Next Generation Conversion Regulations, with particular attention paid to buildings with heritage value, and prepare an update report to Council within two to three years (once meaningful observations can be made). Staff would report back earlier in the event that a pattern of negative impacts to buildings with heritage value or other concerning trends are observed. Staff will also monitor and report back on the impact of removing parking requirements.

Staff will also develop a design guidance document to provide advice aimed at advancing high-quality design that respects the local context and addresses potential neighbourliness impacts.

Dallas Road Balustrade Replacement
Council has directed staff to amend the 2020 Financial Plan by adding $3,850,000 in project funding for the replacement of the Dallas Road Balustrade, funded from the Buildings and Infrastructure Reserve, and to repurpose up to 10 parking spots for benches and other public realm improvements.

Council Member Motions:

Endorsement of Universal Public National Pharmacare Program
Council has endorsed the resolution from the City of Port Moody calling on the Federal Government to work with the provinces and territories to develop and implement a Universal Public National Pharmacare program as one of its first orders of business. Staff will communicate this endorsement to the Prime Minister of Canada and the federal Minister of Health, with copies forwarded to the Provincial Minister of Health, the Premier of British Columbia and the Mayor and Council of the Cities of Port Moody and New Westminster.

Extended Hours for Our Place
Council voted to allocate $50,000 from contingency to partner with BC Housing and Island Health to increase the hours and services for Our Place to match winter hours from April 1-October 31, and forward an allocation to Our Place for Council’s consideration as part of the 2021 budget process. In addition, the Mayor will write to the provincial government requesting adequate funding for Our Place.

Terms of Reference for Welcoming Cities Task Force
Council approved the Welcoming Cities Task Force Terms of Reference and directed staff to seek participants. Terms included:

  1. That the Indigenous participants are compensated as per the City’s protocol, to be funded from the Welcoming Cities budget
  2. That the Terms of Reference be amended to add an appointee from the Greater Victoria Public Library