Anyone can have an opinion on, for example, the Pacific Rim National Park. But the locally elected governments in Tofino and Ucluelet get to decide where to place tourism facilities outside the park, not the Port Alberni city council. Similarly, if Highlands council decides to permit the current proposal to build 20 homes on 10 acres in order to save Mary Lake, that is their right to decide, not that of the full Capital Regional District board.
The Juan de Fuca Trail cabins proposal offers a similar tradeoff: 16 per cent developed, 84 per cent park and green space. It removes, by covenant, the current resource extraction designation, which would permit clear-cutting and gravel extraction above the trail. It gives improved access to the trail for all users.
It has been supported from the beginning by the Pacheedaht First Nation. They plan to supply the materials from their new milling operation, and in conjunction with their recent purchase of a forestry licence, this could mean full employment for their community.
Locally elected officials must weigh all these factors, in accordance with the principle set out in the regional growth strategy and the Local Government Act that land-use decisions be made locally, by those most affected. And that is why in the end it will be the JDF Electoral Area land-use committee and CRD board that will and should decide on the Marine Trails proposal.
vice-president, Association of B.C. Land Owners