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Developer ‘amnesty’ motion rejected in 4-3 vote at North Cowichan council

Is last week’s 4-3 vote on North Cowichan council an indicator of more to come over the next four years?

The vote certainly reinforced the fact that Cowichan Works — recently fined $750 fine by Elections BC — failed in last fall’s election to secure a majority on council.

(Elections BC:

At the Feb. 1 council meeting, Councillor Bruce Findlay proposed the following motion: “THAT Council provide a 24-month ‘amnesty’ period for all owners whose properties were excluded from the revised Urban Containment Boundary (UCB) included in the Official Community Plan, in order for those property owners to provide notice to North Cowichan staff of their intention to proceed with their property development options, which had been available to them prior to the UCB change.”

Findlay received support from councillors Tek Manhas and Mike Caljouw.

— Findlay, a self-described developer, campaigned for friendlier policies for developers during the fall 2022 municipal election.

— Manhas routinely supported developers during the last four-year term.

— Caljouw promised during the campaign to be open-minded and to consider each issue on its own merit. However, his support for Findlay’s motion was not that surprising.

After all, realtor Brian Danyliw (chair of Cowichan Works) personally posted election photos of all three candidates on social media during the election campaign.

The reality, however, is that four — not three — is the magic number on a seven-member council.

Mayor Rob Douglas and councillors Debra Toporowski, Christopher Justice, and Chris Istace all voted against Findlay’s motion.

If this vote breakdown becomes a trend on critical issues, the minority on council could find itself outside looking in during this term of office.

A better solution, it would seem, is for all members of council to work together to achieve progress on major issues in the years ahead.

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— Larry Pynn, Feb. 5, 2023


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