Given the mandate by the electorate, the Cowichan Valley Regional District will move forward with initiatives to tackle issues of affordable housing and water protection in the region.
In last week’s municipal elections, six of the nine unincorporated electoral areas and all four municipalities within the CVRD voted in favour of establishing both the Drinking Water & Water Protection Service and the Cowichan Housing Association Annual Financial Contribution Service.
The service establishment bylaws received 55 per cent and 65 per cent approval of overall referendum votes cast, respectively.
The housing service, intended to help deal with the ongoing affordable housing crisis in the region, will requisition $765,000 annually from taxpayers to be used as seed funding to secure affordable housing investments from senior levels of government.
This funding will also provide resources for the CHA to match non-profit housing ideas with suitable land and developers, and perform comprehensive project assessments that justify the need and demand for new housing.
The establishment of the water protection service provides CVRD with the mandate to develop and implement specific watershed management activities, which will inform both land use planning and infrastructure needs across the region.
The water service will requisition up to $750,000 annually to create internal resources for this region-wide watershed management.
“The outcome of this referenda positions the CVRD at the leading-edge of local government in British Columbia when it comes to proactive, community solutions to critical, cross-boundary issues,” said Jon Lefebure, chairman of the CVRD.
“These two services will be an important part of the legacy of this outgoing board of directors for steps taken to improve the quality of life in our region.”
Brian Carruthers, CAO of the CVRD, said water management and affordable housing are two of the most pressing issues facing the region.
“The results of this referenda confirm that the majority of residents want proactive response at a regional level,” he said.
“The CVRD now has the mandate to embolden its work in these areas and ensure our region remains a sustainable, affordable place for future generations.”
Both bylaws will go before the CVRD board for adoption on Nov. 14.