Author Archive: matteusclement

2017 Taxes for CVRD & Cobble Hill

Taxes in Cobble Hill are going up about $100/year for the 2017 year. I would like to explain what some of the reasoning for that is.

Below, you will see some charts that I have made that break down where your CVRD taxes go. I have broken them down into three categories: Cobble Hill, South Cowichan and Regional. Taxes are applied “per $100,000 of assessed value”. So for example, if your house is assessed at $400,000, you can see in the 2017 taxes that Cobble Hill items are at 47.35 meaning $189 of your taxes are going into cobble hill while $711.52 goes into the regional items.

Some examples for these categories are:

REGIONAL: transit, local government, solid waste, libraries, economic development
SOUTH COWICHAN: Kerry Park Recreation, South Cowichan Parks, Bright Angel Park
COBBLE HILL:Cobble Hill Hall, Grants, Historic Society, Cobble Hill Parks

 

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The reason I have posted the 2015 taxes as well as the 2017 taxes is to show that in the past, roughly 10% of your taxes were directly for Cobble Hill while now they make up 16.5% but that still doesn’t answer the burning question most people are asking, “WHY DID THEY GO UP SO MUCH?” I will break that down into two pieces: Regional & Cobble Hill.

COBBLE HILL
During my campaign two years ago, I knocked on over 500 doorsteps. I heard a lot of concerns, ideas and thoughts that I carried with me into office. I also heard a lot of ideas and desires during this summer’s Music Night In The Park.

The people of Cobble Hill want to see a vibrant, safe and resilient community.
Safety = sidewalks & street lighting
Vibrant = events, community building & arts
Resilient = seniors housing, local economy & local food

Tackling these initiatives are going to cost money. That is why I held 4 community meetings over the last month to hear what people wanted to see in their community. Again, these same ideas of a vibrant, safe and resilient community, came forward.

So with this in mind, I be undertaking some strategic planning in the new year, which will include a design charret, to map out a vision for the Cobble Hill village. That is why I emphasize the main increase of taxes is happening for items related to Cobble Hill.

What will you see?

  • You will see the big park in the middle of the village with grass in 2017 as well as picnic tables.
  • You will see the road shoulders get leveled and become year round walking paths.
  • We are aiming for ornamental street lighting as well to allow walking through out the evening and year.
  • More events like Music In the park will make Cobble Hill their home.
  • Workshops on farming, gardening and homesteading will be open to the public.

These are the items that we know need doing now but after the strategic planning, there will be more to do and we need money in the bank because…

There are a variety of grants and funding options to access but many of them require “money on the table” because they are matching funds. So if a project is $200,000 , an organization will require we have $100,000 in the bank. What this also means is that if we don’t move forward with some projects, these extra tax dollars can just be rolled into next years budget (which would lower taxes).

If you have any ideas for bettering your community please feel free to call me 250-715-6874 (cell)

REGIONAL INCREASES
We have added several key staff people at the CVRD, most of them in the planning department. When I heard of development applications taking 5-6 months, I inquired as to the reasons why. Simply put, we WERE short staffed. Now with new planners on the first floor, applications are getting processed in a timely manner. And before some comments around “work harder” come up, 2016 saw a record number of development and building permits come through the door. We are growing!

We also added a procurement officer. The CVRD spends millions in purchases for recreation centers, parks and buildings. Right now, each department is left to it’s own to buy these items and we are losing out on bulk buying opportunities by not having a co-ordinated purchasing officer. The good news comes in two pieces:
1. we will save money.
2. this didn’t affect taxes as it was done by letting another staff position go.

 

Vandalism in Cobble Hill Village

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VANDALS
This was the sight that people came to this morning at Quarry nature park. Some punks have decided to make Cobble Hill their stomping grounds and ruin the community for the rest of us. I am afraid that this is not the first incidence of this either.

Two weeks ago, Cobble Hill Hall was tagged with similar work so it is safe to assume that it’s the same people. Their have also been reports of cars being broken into. These cars were unlocked.

Lastly, there was vandalism in Twin Cedars where someones christmas decorations were smashed.

SOLUTIONS
If you are not already part of a block watch, the South Cowichan Community Police help facilitate the creation of new ones. You can read about it here: http://www.southcowichancommunitypolicing.ca/block-watch-2/block-watch/
Fact: If you are part of a block watch program, it can help lower your home insurance as well!

RCMP NON-EMERGENCY LINE: 250-743-5514
If you see suspicious activity, call the RCMP.

BUSINESSES 
I am working with the businesses in Cobble Hill village to help finance security cameras with in the village. The businesses are on board seeing that there is a value for both them and the community.

LIGHTING
And lastly, in my community conversations, street lighting has been brought up many times but many people agree that the lighting needs to be both functional AND pretty. There is no desire to have big highway lights in the village. People have said they moved here in part to see the sky and perhaps timers/motion sensors on the lights are an option.

TOWN HALL – Fisher Road Composting

TOWN HALL MEETING
FISHER ROAD COMPOSTING EXPANSION
December 1st – 7PM
Cobble Hill Hall – 3550 Watson Ave
Matteus Clement, CVRD director, will be
facilitating a town hall meeting to discuss an
application from Fisher Road Recycling to
expand their Capacity from 18,000 tonnes to
36,000 tonnes.
The discussion will hear from the
community about concerns around odours,
water protection and moving forward.
MClement@cvrd.bc.ca
250-715-6874

How do I stay in the loop?

There are a few places that you can be kept up to date on some of the issues in Cobble Hill and the valley. There is of course your local paper but you can also have a couple of digital sign ups via email.

  1. Notify me – CVRD
    This is a service that you can find here http://cvrd.bc.ca/list.aspx
    You can chose what you will be emailed about.
  2. My website – subscribe
    On the right hand side of the screen you can see a subscribe area where you can enter your email and be notified when there is a new post made.

And if you miss anything you can also go to the CVRD website and find our recorded video of our meetings here: http://cvrd.bc.ca/993/Agendas-Minutes-Video

Music in the Park – Four weeks running!

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Music night in the park is a free event that is held in the heart of Cobble Hill Village from 6pm-8pm on Thursday nights ALL SUMMER.

The feedback from residents has been super positive. Families are happy that there is an event that their children can run around safely with other kids. Grandparents and seniors are making a social event of it and there was even a family reunion one night because they knew that there was going to be music!

Thank you to some of the sponsors for making this happen:

RONA (donating the stage materials)
Cobblestone pub
Drumroaster Coffee

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Music in the park & the cobble hill events society

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This Summer, every Thursday night from 6pm-8pm there will be free music in the park. You just have to bring a chair or blanket to sit on.

This is being hosted by the Cobble Hill Events Society. You can find their facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1044132068985736/

The group was brought to life by a small group of Cobble Hill citizens who wanted a place to meet other locals and to try and build a little more community in our little village.

Community: the structure of belonging

This was an amazing book that I read over the holiday season that really spoke the the core values that I have as a local politician. I really recommend it, both as a politician and as a citizen.

Here is the link to the book at amazon: https://www.amazon.ca/Community-Structure-Belonging-Peter-Block/dp/1605092770

IF I was going to try and boil the whole book down to a couple sentences it would be: Give the keys back to the people. Our communities are amazingly strong.

My recent work with the Cobble Hill Event Society (CHES) has shown that a small group of community members working with local government can help FACILITATE a better community.