CRD aasks Chong to reconsider decision

The Capital Regional District Board, unhappy with the decision made by Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Ida Chong, in regard to changing the voting structure of Land Use Committee Voting Block A, will be going back to the minister to request a reconsideration.

The Board met on May 11 and made the decision because they feel all 22 members of the CRD Board should have a say in what happens in the rural resource lands in the Juan De Fuca Electoral Area. If Chong fails to satisfy them they are considering going to the Premier.

JDFEA Regional director Mike Hicks says this is against his wishes but, “there is nothing I can say or do. They just want to vote on this Ender Ilkay project.”

He said, very strongly, that any change in the voting structure in regard to the rural resource lands should include consultation with the Pacheedaht and the T’Sou-ke First Nations, as it is in their traditional territory.

“The Pacheedaht and T’Sou-ke are directly involved in those resource lands,” said Hicks. He said their interests are being overlooked.

“Who are the residents out there?” he asks.

The whole issue is about the development proposal put forth by Marine Trail Holdings and principal Ender Ilkay. The resort development has drawn the fire of environmentalists who feel none of the land in the vicinity of the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail should be developed. Leading that charge is the Dogwood Initiative, the Jordan River Steering Committee and a host of other groups. They have organized letter/email writing and telephone campaigns and made their presence known at the JDFEA and CRD Board meetings.

Their arguments are that the “wilderness” trail and experience will be ruined, it’s too large of a development, it goes against the Regional Growth Strategy, and urban sprawl would be created in the rural area. Minister Chong had stated, in her decision to turn down the request for a new voting structure, that there already was alternatives within the current legislation. Some board members felt this was a unique situation.

The Pacheedaht First Nation are behind the resort development stating that it will create jobs building the resort and cabins and further employment in the tourism sector after it is built. They see it as a place where they can build an artists’ venue for sales, education and demonstrations of their traditional arts.