Mike Hicks

CRD to petition province to purchase JDF lands

Marine Trail Holdings' lands could become park

The development proposal put forth by Ender Ilkay and Marine Trail Holdings may be dead in the water after the zoning was turned down by the Capital Regional District (CRD) Land Use Committee A but the game isn’t quite over.

On Wednesday, Sept. 14, after the vote to deny the rezoning application, JDF Electoral Area Director Mike Hicks put forth a motion to petition the province to purchase the lands from Ilkay.

“I made the motion, coming from the comments (at the public hearings) it was very clear that the people in the Juan de Fuca joined the people in the CRD, to purchase the land from Mr. Ilkay,” said Hicks.

The development application would have seen 257 cabins, one resort lodge, two recreation buildings, six caretaker residences and a public park constructed adjacent to the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail. Three days of public hearings showed almost unanimous public opposition to the proposal.

“There was very little support for a resort development of any size,” said Hicks.

Hicks stated that there were only three options for the lands in question: zone it, log it or buy it.

“Now we’re down to log it or buy it. I’ve given it a lot of thought and not everyone is grasping the reality.”

He said he is supporting the CRD using some of their parks allocation funds to help the provincial government purchase these lands.

Hicks said Ender Ilkay can now sell the property in seven separate parcels and each owner can log it or extract resources from it without the CRD having any power to stop it.

“We have to accept that,” said Hicks. “I feel content, in my heart I did the right thing for the Juan de Fuca constituents, now the onus is on the province. It is (close to) a provincial park and I hope they step up, it’s important to protect that land and move on.”

“We are very much hoping that the province will work to intervene for the sake of the Marine Trail parklands,” said CRD Board Chair Geoff Young in a media release. “Release of the Tree Farm License lands in 2007 created an unprecedented situation for the CRD and for planning in the JDF Rural Resource area. The fallout from this decision could be partially mitigated by preserving the Marine Trail Holdings lands as parkland, which would prevent resource extraction in an area bordering the park. This is something that the CRD does not have the ability to achieve.”

In 2009, the CRD was unsuccessful in an appeal of the BC Supreme Court’s December 2008 decision regarding Juan de Fuca Electoral Area (JDFEA) local area planning bylaws and the voting arrangement in the area. The appeal’s decision rendered a number of interim bylaws invalid, which were passed in response to the release of 28,000 hectares of land, owned by Western Forest Products (WFP) from Tree Farm Licenses 6, 19 and 25 on Vancouver Island by the BC Minister of Forests. The CRD bylaws were passed in order to give more time for planning and development decisions by the JDF community Land Use Committee and in consultation with the community. The Marine Trail Holdings development application was submitted before subsequent bylaws could be put into place.

Following the development application denial, the CRD will also work to more clearly define development and protection goals under the Regional Sustainability Strategy (RSS), clarify roles and responsibilities for governments and adopt protocol that will ensure greater consistency in Board decisions.