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Cobble Hill Design Charrette – MARCH 20th 6pm @ C.H. Hall

3d shape

Design charrettes are a visual representation of what a community wants to see. While Cobble Hill has a great official community plan, it emphasizes a “heritage feel”… but is that 1920’s or 1950’s?

And we can all agree that the village could be more “walkable” but what does that look like? And if we build sidewalks, how do we deal with the parking?

These are just a few of the questions to ask at this meeting. You can sign up to the facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1412194338822354/

THIS IS THE FIRST OF 4 meetings.

Below are some visual examples from other Charrettes. It is very community based and very visual.

bikepasture

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Broadway Corridor Charrette3

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dennisport-village-center-round-about-medium

dennsiport-village-gateway-medium

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

logan-triangle-community-design-charrette-6-638 maplewood-workshop-2 Opticos-9 paso-charrette Plaza B Plan Team_3_Board urban_design_plan-1_slide WEB-UPDATES00-02

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.

 

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

My new son!!!

This Christmas brought our family a new present… a baby boy!

Levi Alain Kenneth Clement was born at 3:30am on December 26th at a health 8 pounds.

 

Amalia holding her new brother

Amalia holding her new brother

I would like to thank the community for the love and support they have shown to me and my family since coming into office. Babysitters, gifts, calls and support are always coming into our home from not only Cobble Hill but all over the valley. Being in office has allowed me to run my video business from home and be a “stay at home dad”. Now with Levi in our lives, we are blessed again to see a little person grow up and make their mark on the world.

Again, thank you to all who have helped us over the last year. Here’s to 2016!!!

Public Meeting Nov 19th (7pm) – Garbage & Recycling

NOVEMBER 19th at 7pm @ the cobble hill hall

curbside-square

Garbage Collection options

As you may have read in the paper, the CVRD is asking the public its opinion about what it would like to see from the CVRD in the way of garbage and recycling options. You will be seeing flyers on your recycling bins at the end of this month. Simply fill them out and hang them on the bins the next time you put them out to the curb.

Upon receiving the survey, there will be a public meeting to talk about the options on the table which include:
– staying with the system in place (Pan Disposal or self regulation)
– Bi-weekly curbside Recycling and Garbage pick-up (same day) –  Price includes garbage tote = $102
– Weekly Organics pick-up and bi-weekly Recycling & Garbage pick-up (same day) Price includes collection totes = $165

Some of you may have already received a pamphlet from PAN disposal that looks like this

pan flyer

While I understand that PAN disposal and its owners see a threat to their business model if the CVRD was to start collecting garbage like it does in 4 other electoral areas, I feel it is important to fact check some of what is said in this flyer PAN has distributed. The following list is from our staff at the CVRD

1. The survey is not a “vote”. The CVRD Board has requested for a survey and not a vote. The CVRD has made it clear on all written material and at all Open House presentations that this survey is not a formal vote and is intended to gauge the resident’s views with respect to waste collection services in the CVRD.

2. The survey will not be completed from all areas within “2 weeks” but will span over a few months as we have at least two meetings proposed in January 2016.

3. The newly proposed “services” cannot and will not start in “January 2016”.

4. “Lack of choice” – The survey, the CVRD website, and the Open Houses in each Electoral Area provide ample opportunity for residents to gather information regarding “choices”.

5. “The CVRD plan effectively shuts down local small businesses” is an inaccurate statement. The survey will reflect the choices of residents living in each Electoral Areas regarding source separated garbage, recycling, and organics collection. Residents will choose one of three choices clearly highlighted on the survey: 1. Complete service (bi-weekly garbage/recycling and weekly organics collection); 2. Partial service (bi-weekly garbage and recycling collection); and 3. No new curbside services (meaning, no change to current services). Once staff present the survey results to the Board, the Board will decide if and when to select either service options. The question regarding “who” the hauler will be is the next subsequent question, where I am certain that the Board will consider the private businesses.

6. As the curbside budget spans all Electoral Areas, some of which do not have access to private collection services,it is necessary to ensure that all residents get access to the same choices presented in the survey. It would not be fair and equitable to offer a fully automated service to residences in one Area and neglect the other.

7. “Community Consultation” – This is exactly the purpose of the survey and open houses. Pan Disposal was a part of this community consultation for Area A. Also, several press releases, website info and social media info sessions will be provided throughout the length of this survey.

8. “Tax increases for everyone” – CVRD’s garbage pick-up service is based on an annual utilty bill . The curbside budget is funded solely through these utility bills collected in the Electoral Areas. There is no tax requisition. CVRD has provided the fee for every option if the Board decides to use CVRD Staff and Equipment to deliver any new services. In fact, for an average family that requires weekly and bi-weekly pick up service, their bills will decrease significantly. **For the areas that do have CVRD collected garbage, their bills have fallen in the three years they have been active.

9. The leaflet states that the blue box costs were significantly higher than expected. The costs were in line with what was stated and when the blue totes program was started all utility bills in the Electoral Areas were lowered and have not had an increase since 2013. This includes budgeting for future capital replacement. It also states that the curbside budget does not include fees for tipping, fuel, labour, insurance WCB vehicle repair and maintenance. All these expenses are fully captured in the curbside budget

10. True costs – Garbage pick-up as mentioned above is based on an annual utility bill (Function 515). The survey includes all costs for waste pick-up. Speaking about Function 520, increased recycling and organics will eventually lower the requisition, lower the greenhouse gases and will also benefit tax payers through reduced illegal dumping and waste burning after effects.

Sorry for the long post but I felt it important to get all the facts across. If you still have more questions, please feel free to email me or attend the November 19th meeting.

MClement@cvrd.bc.ca

FOLLOW UP POINTS

Since writing this article a few extra comments/conecerns have come to my attention that I want to address in point form.
1. Non answered ballots will be counted as a “YES” vote. – FALSE
As an elected official who is making these decisions, it would be foolish of me to interpret non-answers like this.

2. Doesn’t matter what we vote, the CVRD staff have already made up their mind – FALSE 
First, the staff at the CVRD don’t make these decisions, the elected officials do.
Second, I have not made up my mind. I want to see what the surveys say as well as what is said at the Cobble Hill Hall meeting.

3. The projected costs are going to be higher than what’s on the ballot.
The CVRD is already gathering garbage in 4 of the 9 electoral areas and have been doing so for the last 3 years. This gives ample data to show what the costs are of garbage collection are. In fact, the costs have been going down, albeit only $1 per year… leading me to feel confident that staff do indeed know the costs.

UBCM 2015 

This week I am attending the Union of BC municipalities in Vancouver. It is a conference of all local governments in BC. There will be workshops, lectures and open panels on various subjects. I will be focusing on agriculture and economic development workshops. 
This is a great opportunity to connect with other local government officials to hear how they are connecting and innovating in their community. 
I will also be meeting with the minister of Jobs/tourism and the minister of Agriculture. One of my “asks” will be to have the provincial government conduct an Island wide study of our food systems. As it stands, no farmer or quota board has any idea whether Vancouver island is in surplus of deficit of certain foods. A study of this nature could identify opportunities for the valley. For example, it is known for a fact that we have no button mushroom production on Vancouver island but the study would better identify the economic feasibility of such an operation as well as the number and size of facilities needed. 

I believe that it’s in the best interest of the valley as well as the island to ask for an island wide study because certain operations are better suited on different parts of the island. Just like a farm, you don’t want to plant low value crops where you can have high value ones instead.
It is still my belief that the valley with its abundance of vacant farm land, high youth unemployment and its location between two urban centers could be an agricultural economic powerhouse. 
If you are a farmer in the cowichan valley, I would love to hear from you about any ideas, comments or concerns you have. 

Email: mclement@cvrd.bc.ca

Cell: 250-715-6874  

Time to farm

matteus greenhouse water

For those of you tuning into the CVRD live streams or coming to the meetings, you may notice me missing. I have to take this month off to catch up on the farm for the month of June. My alternate, Don Herriott will be there and i am in touch with him.

You can still reach me at 250-715-6874 or at mclement@cvrd.bc.ca