The CVRD board of directors. Photo by Kim Stallknecht

The CVRD board of directors. Photo by Kim Stallknecht

Comox Valley Regional District board supports Bill C-216

The Comox Valley Regional District board has agreed to write to the federal Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in support of Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns’ Private Members Bill C-216: An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, and to enact the Expungement of Certain Drug-related Convictions Act and the National Strategy on Substance Use Act.”

“We can’t de-stigmatize something that’s illegal,” Courtenay director Wendy Morin said at the Jan. 25 board meeting.

Cumberland council has supported the bill.

“We need a progressive, brand new approach nationwide, and this is the start of it, hopefully,” alternate Cumberland director Sean Sullivan said.

CVSAR

Staff continues to work with a request from Comox Valley Search and Rescue for funds for a permanent rescue base facility. Staff will report back to the board on options and the authority for CVRD participation.

“I hope that we’re able to help this stellar organization that has done so much for our community, standing at the ready for so many years, relying pretty much entirely on volunteer help,” said Courtenay director Doug Hillian, who gained a better understanding of CVSAR’s needs during a recent tour of the facility at 3001 Moray Ave. in Courtenay. “I sincerely hope that we’re able to help them find a permanent home.”

Food Hub

The board approved the draft terms and application process for a Food Hub Stewardship Group, which will update a proposed business model, develop a business plan and confirm if the project will proceed by the end of 2022. The group will consist of 12 people with experience in food systems/distribution, fundraising, business development and other areas. Applications are available on the CVRD website. Submit by Feb. 23.

Poverty reduction

The board voted 7-3 in favour of endorsing the CV Community Health Network (CVCHN) to work on an application to the Union of B.C. Municipalities for a second stream of a Poverty Reduction Action Fund.

The Regional Poverty Assessment and Reduction Strategy highlighted a number of game changers necessary to meet a goal to reduce poverty levels by 25 per cent by 2025. Game changers include affordable housing, support for seniors and a greater number of childcare spaces. The CVRD will act as the fiscal host for the project. The CVCHN will be the lead organization.

Clean BC top up rebates

The board approved allocating a $30,000 Island Health Community Wellness grant for the 2022 CleanBC Better Homes Rebate Municipal TopUp Program.

Since 2018, the CVRD has participated in the program to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by offering rebates to homeowners to install electric heat pumps. Last year, 108 households made the switch. The district provided an additional $2,000 to 16 participants through the program.

Continued participation will help achieve an annual number of residential fuel switches required to meet GHG reduction targets in the Regional Growth Strategy: three per cent of households in the CVRD per year.

Area A director Daniel Arbour said this equals about 500 homes switched over in a year, which would require about $600,000 a year in subsidies. He noted that Comox and Cumberland’s ban on wood stoves in new construction would not be a reliable strategy in rural areas due to power outages, but installing heat pumps in new construction could be required.

“I don’t know to what extent that would help us reach that three per cent goal, because that wouldn’t help with retrofitting homes,” he said. “We’re well short of our goal.”

Perhaps a subsidy is better suited to low income homes, he added.

Robyn Holme, long range planner, said the district is trying to become familiar with all rebate programs in order to advise homeowners of opportunities, and to cross-promote programs such as wood smoke reduction and CleanBC.



reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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