Tofino has gone down the path that Cobble Hill is on right now. First we are building a design charrette with the community to create a VISUAL pallette of what we would like to see in the village.
Next will be to prioritize what to do.
One of the funding sources that Tofino accessed and we can as well is the Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET). They help fund projects they believe will help the economic vitality of an area. Chemainus and Lake Cowichan took grants from ICET as well.
This is just one of a few grant programs that we can access.
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
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.
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)
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.