November 6th marks the 23rd meeting of the term and the last meeting of the first year. We had a relatively gentle agenda that got us out of there in time to watch the Canucks disassemble the Oilers in the third period. But we all know they will break our hearts soon enough. Before that, on to the Agenda, which started with the following items that were Moved on Consent
Appointment of Director of Finance/Chief Financial Officer
We have a new Director of our Finance Department and Chief Financial Officer. As this job has some specific regulatory roles under the Community Charter and some City Bylaws, Council has to formally make the appointment. Welcome Shehzad!
Approval of Growing Communities Fund Reserve Fund Bylaw No. 8415, 2023
We have not yet spent our $15.8 M Growing Communities Fund, but will be including it in our future Capital budgeting. In the meantime, it formally sits in a Reserve Fund that we need to create through Bylaw. This is that Bylaw.
Construction Noise Bylaw Exemption Request: 660 Quayside Drive (Bosa Developments)
One of the construction cranes on the Bosa waterfront development is coming down, which requires some traffic disruption and work outside of regular construction hours to accommodate this disruption.
Heritage Revitalization Agreement and Heritage Designation: 441 Fader Street – Bylaws for First and Second Readings
The owner of this house in Sapperton wants to build a second infill house on the lot, stratify the property, and restore and preserve the current house through a Heritage Designation. The total density on site will be a little above what is permitted, and the stratification requires Council approval. It saw some community consultation, but will also come to a Public Hearing (as is required for HRAs), so I’ll hold my comments until then.
Housing Agreement Bylaw No. 8389, 2023 (810 Agnes St) – Bylaw for Three Readings
This is the agreement between the City and the developer that assure the new tower proposed at 810 Agnes be a rental property for 60 years or the life of the building, whichever is longer.
We then had a couple of items that were Removed from Consent for discussion:
Anvil Centre Engagement Objectives
The Anvil Centre is working towards its tenth anniversary, and Council wants to have a conversation with the community about how it serves the community, and how it could serve the community better. This report outlines the engagement process and frames the questions the City will be asking the community. Watch Be Heard New West for engagement opportunities if you care about the Anvil and making Downtown better.
Motion Response: Increasing Access to Fresh Drinking Water for Local Residents and Their Pets
There was an earlier motion to have staff look at installing temporary drinking fountains attached to fire hydrants like they piloted in Vancouver. This is the report back from staff, and I can sum it up as “Uh… no”.
Vancouver had the ability to fabricate these in-house for their pilot, and have decided after the pilot to scale this program back and move back towards permanent stand-alone fountains. There are a bunch of reasons for this, from chlorine and sediment flushing requirements at the “dead end” that are often used for hydrants, interference between the hydrants use as a drinking source and as a firefighting source (meaning they were only installed where there was another nearby hydrant), and other technical and maintenance challenges. But most importantly, the cost to make and install these is equal to or higher than the cost of purchasing and installing off-the-shelf stand-alone permanent fountains. The temporary items don’t work as well, are more hassle, and cost more than the alternative. No surprise staff did not recommend we follow this less effective and more expensive path.
That said, we are going to do an assessment of where we may be deficient in water fountains (look! open data!), and will come back with a plan to prioritize installations of new (permanent) fountains as Council releases budget to do so.
We then read a few bylaws including the following Bylaws for Adoption:
Anvil Theatre Fees and Charges Amendments Bylaw No. 8426, 2023
Business License Amendment Bylaw (2024 Fee Schedule) No.8420, 2023
Climate Action, Planning and Development Fees and Rates Amendment Bylaw No. 8428, 2023
Cultural Services Fees and Charges Amendment Bylaw No.8430, 2023
Electrical Utility 2024 Charges Amendment Bylaw No. 8432, 2023
Engineering User Fees and Rates Amendment Bylaw No. 8423, 2023and
Fire Protection Amendment Bylaw No. 8431, 2023
These Bylaws that set the fines and fees for the next budget year, including annual adjustments for inflation, were adopted by Council.
We also had some delegations, and some direction given to staff rising from those delegations, but I will report those out here when we get some actionable items back from staff and know where we are going with the items. As always, you can watch the delegations and all of the meeting by looking up the video here. As you will see, we have Council working like a finely honed machine, and had a pretty quiet end to year one, let’s go year two!