Faith has been restored in the B.C. government’s fairness says Juan de Fuca Electoral Area Regional Director Mike Hicks.
On April 21, Hicks received word that MLA Ida Chong — Minister of Community, Sports and Cultural Development — denied the Capital Regional District board’s request to change the voting structure for land use decisions in the Juan de Fuca electoral area.
“I’m delighted,” said Hicks. “My faith in Ida Chong and the B.C. government’s fairness is confirmed.”
The board had requested an order in council from the province to create an additional voting Block C that would allow all 22 CRD directors to vote on land use matters related to rural resource lands. The change would have only affected specific lands
The request came in the wake of Ender Ilkay’s Marine Trail Holdings resort project, which envisions building 257 cabins, six caretakers’ residences, a lodge and two recreation centres on his private land, which skirts the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail.
In her letter to CRD chair Geoff Young, Chong wrote that she didn’t believe an amendment was required.
“The special voting rule was designed as a change to the system of governance for the Juan de Fuca electoral area.
“The CRD is equipped with tools that provide the board with alternative approaches to address concerns that the board may have about its interest in regional land use matters.”
Gordon O’Connor, campaigner with The Dogwood Initiative, organized Sprawlapalooza, a concert and rally against urban sprawl in Centennial Square, aimed at celebrating the CRD’s efforts to change the structure and encouraging the board to “keep the pressure up” until lands are protected.
“The Juan de Fuca trail gets the headlines, but this is happening all over our farms on the Saanich Peninsula,” he said.
Meanwhile on April 18, the Juan de Fuca land use committee recommended Ilkay’s rezoning request proceed to first and second readings.
It also recommended a restrictive covenant be prepared for the transfer of land to B.C. Parks, and for a series of restrictions on land use.
Of the approximately 236 hectares involved, 203 hectares will remain undeveloped with 98 hectares of land being dedicated to B.C. Parks and 105 hectares protected. About 33 hectares would be developed under Ilkay’s Marine Trail resort plan.
“People are passionate about the park, there’s no question, and I completely understand that,” Ilkay said at a meeting in Sooke that drew a strong contingent of people opposing the development.
—with files from Pirjo Raits and Jim Sinclair.