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Boundary swap deal now in hands of province
With the three jurisdictions involved in a West Shore land swap giving it the green light, details of the plan have been sent to the province for final approval.
Langford, Metchosin and the Beecher Bay First Nation have collectively crossed the t’s and dotted the i’s of a landmark deal that gained a wide level of support from Metchosinites in a Jan. 28 referendum.
Metchosin Mayor John Ranns is confident the province will agree the deal is in the best interest of all parties.
"The ministry staff have been very co-operative with us in working our way through this process … Who can say, but I certainly don't anticipate any problems at their end," he said.
The complex deal is mostly unchanged from the one outlined for Metchosin residents prior to the referendum, and Ranns said the three parties to the agreement worked through any minor hiccups that arose.
"There was a collective will to get it done and we got it done," he said.
Metchosin was also careful to ensure it is well protected in the event that any of the moving parts involved in the deal fail, he added. All of those provisions have been vetted by renowned municipal lawyer John Alexander.
In the aftermath of the referendum, Ranns has received just two e-mails from individuals opposed to the deal. He's thankful the agreement received such strong support from residents – more than 75 per cent voted in favour of the swap.
"That was very important … It strengthens our mandate to stay a rural community. If it had gone the other way, then you'd have to think that maybe people don't want Metchosin to be rural any more. It's a vote of confidence in our rural direction.”
It's unclear when the provincial cabinet might rule on the land swap, but all parties are keen to have everything passed in advance of this May's provincial election.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development wrote in a statement that the ministry does not expect any issues to arise before final approval.