Some questions about the future of North Cowichan
To the mayor and councillors, Municipality of North Cowichan:
The Cowichan Citizen (April 2, 2020) delivered the news North Cowichan is reconsidering its planned 4.4 per cent tax increase in 2020 due to COVID-19. It is sad to realize it took a pandemic to prompt council to pause and rethink what it is doing. A good decision, nevertheless.
I wish to pose a few questions and hope council will give answers to the residents of North Cowichan.
What is the biggest challenge North Cowichan faces, and what are you doing to meet it?
Would the local economic conditions of declining year-over-year employment be that challenge? For instance, the forestry and mill closures on the Island is one concern.
What steps has council taken to ensure the financial security of our community? Is council adequately doing the math on new investments proposed to make sure that they’ll be affordable now and afford their maintenance in the future?
The Citizen article mentions $300,000 for a new OCP. Why is this even being considered when a committee of citizens is already reviewing the current OCP? Most businesses have business plans out to five years, typically reviewed at every 18 to 24 months and revised as required. Surely this is the purpose of the OCP committee?
On another matter, the salary provision for a new position for a Senior Social and Housing Planner at $120,000 seems generous. My research suggests a salary range of $87,000 (City of New Westminster, Pop: 71,000) to $100,000 (Calgary City, Pop: 1.336 million) whereas the North Cowichan population is 29,676 (2016 census).
One last question, for now. Who are the key business players, big and small, and how do they help our community remain financially viable and resilient?