An attempt to amend the Official Community Plan and Zoning Bylaw to allow for a waste transfer station on properties in the Idlemore and Kaltasin Road area never got third reading.
On October 14, a public hearing was held to gather public input on the proposed amendments.
Residents and business owners came forward to oppose the amendments to Bylaw 596, OCP Amendment Bylaw which would have seen a number of properties that are zoned General Industrial (M2) go from Community Residential to Industrial. Bylaw 597 would have seen an amendment which would included definition of “Waste Transfer Station” and would have allowed such in all properties zoned M2 and M3 (Heavy Industrial). There are eight properties which would have Industrial zoning.
Overwhelming opposition from members of the public was shown in both oral submissions as well as written submissions to District of Sooke council.
Many of their comments were concerning the fact that the transfer station in place was operating without proper authorization and zoning with no input from area residents.
Mayor Wendal Milne was extremely irate when the waste transfer station first began operating as he had told them they would not be allowed to carry on their business as the property was not zoned for it. When Milne was away, the business got approval to go operate. Bylaws 596 and 597 were rescinded in July because of “errors” in dealing with Idlemore and Kaltasin Road properties and it came back before council in September when Mayor Milne made a motion to reconsider under section 131 of the Community Charter. This motion was defeated.
It went ahead and the first public hearing and subsequent proposed amendments were to allow the business to continue. All through the processes, Mayor Milne and Councillors Maja Tait and Kerrie Reay were opposed.
“It’s clear to me and our lawyer that this is contrary to our existing bylaws… to blanket zone all M2 properties when contrary to our bylaw is unconscionable to me… if it continues we have a little thing called anarchy,” said Milne at the October 14 public hearing.
Councillor Tait stated, “it looks like someone’s just getting a deal from their friends on council.”
Opposition comments from residents included: removing of Community Residential designation would limit growth; impacts of garbage leaching, rats, vermin and odors; perception of favoritism and ignorance of the law by legalizing an illegal act; an unfair playing field; and decrease in property values.
Cindy Humphrey came before council and said, “everyone wants the law enforced. If (councillors) can’t understand the bylaw, I’m not secure about their ability as councillors.”
Mayor Milne said he supports the need for at least one more waste transfer station in Sooke, but said it would have to be site specific.
“If it was legal, Mr. Arden should have applied for a business license,” he said.
Arden can apply for rezoning on his property.
Bylaws 596 and 597 did not pass third reading and the M2 and CR zonings remain. Councillor Herb Haldane said the district’s bylaws aren’t consistent and said he had hoped this could have been dealt with internally. Councillor Bev Berger reiterated her earlier comments on the need for clear definitions and regulations. Councillor Kevin Pearson was absent.
For the complete commentary by council and the public on the public hearing go to: