Ender Ilkay

Juan de Fuca development hearings conclude, decision postponed

The atmosphere was much more subdued for the second consecutive night of scheduled CRD Juan de Fuca public hearings held in the Edward Milne auditorium on Wednesday.

  • Fri Sep 9th, 2011 4:00pm
  • News

The atmosphere was much more subdued for the second consecutive night of scheduled CRD Juan de Fuca public hearings held at Edward Milne on Wednesday.The parking lot was nearly empty shortly before the 5 p.m. start which was a stark contrast to the circus-like activity just a night before. Inside, the auditorium seats were only one-third full. About 80 speakers were signed up—some were carried over from Tuesday that didn’t show up, but the ones that did were still very much passionate about speaking out against the two proposed bylaws that would give the green light for resort development by Ender Ilkay’s company Marine Trail Holdings.Ilkay was again in a attendance, and took to the mic to defend his position.”I feel like I’ve been ‘villainified,'” he said about the two-and-a-half year long process of attempting to get approval for the development. “I kind of feel like I’m going to be villainfied again after this is through, no matter which way it goes.”Ilkay said he hoped people will understand that if the decision to allow the building of 257 cabins is overturned, the only alternative left may be logging the area.”I’m concerned that our only other zoning is resource extraction and I’m saying to my partners, no, we don’t do that,” he said. “Maybe I’m wrong again because I’ve been wrong a lot in this process, maybe people are saying it’s OK, harvest it, it’ll grow back. And I’ve heard some people say that.”He cleared up some misunderstands such as the issue of the area being crown land, which Ilkay said it hasn’t been for two hundred years. It was removed out of the TFL (Tree Farm License) by Western Forest Products a few years ago and sold to Marine Trail Holdings in 2008. He also said that while people have talked about wanting to add the land to Juan de Fuca Provincial Park, no one has come forth with an offer to take it from his hands.Vancouver Island residents of all ages and backgrounds stated reasons for why they were against the two bylaws, and many common themes were echoed.Kara White, from East Sooke, said “Land Use Bylaw 3755 is contrary to our Regional Growth Strategy,” and that “3783 is a grossly inadequate duty of care.”Dorothy Haeussler, from Victoria, wished the entire CRD board could examine the issue, rather than just the five members of CRD Voting Committee A.Another Victorian, Kate Phillips, is a nurse and said “no amount of development has allowed me to work in the community.” Like many others, she also raised concerns—to applause from the audience—about the lack of medical care in the area.”It’s an embarrassment and a travesty if you can bring it to that resort, but not for people already living here. It makes me very sad.”Permanent resident Mei Ang, who now lives in Saanich but is originally from Malaysia, said she is an ecologist by training and compared the Juan de Fuca greenery to the tropical rainforests near her homeland.”(Burma) forests have been logged by corrupt politicians who team up with corrupt businessmen,” said Ang.”Please value what you have here, your nature heritage. Please listen to the people, please value what you have, please vote down this project.”June Klassen, from the CRD and who was present at the hearings, said “less than 10 people” spoke in support of the development proposal.Due to nearly 200 people signing up to speak, a third hearing was added for Thusday night. A decision was originally going to be reached at the CRD meeting next Wednesday, but the date has been delayed by a month.Sonia Santarossa, manager of legislative services at the CRD said “with the addition of the public hearing last night it made it difficult for staff to turn around the reports that’s required for the board members” for Sept. 14.”At this time the item is not on the agenda,” said Santarossa. “We anticipate it will be going in October at this time.”