Juan de Fuca Electoral Area director Mike Hicks

Juan de Fuca Electoral Area set ‘apart’ from CRD

New process means JDF treated differently in dispute resolutions

Mike Hicks has learned a lot in his years as the regional director for the Juan De Fuca Electoral Area. He learned that the JDFEA has  less rights than the rest of the Capital Regional District  or even the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD).

Hicks said there is “total inequity” in the planning end of things, something he  learned during the Ender Ilkay resort development experience.

He said the process was moving along and CRD planning and legal staff in their judgement did not think the Marine Trail Resort development was inconsistent with the Regional Growth Strategy (RGS).

“That’s the reason I merrily carried along,” said Hicks.

The uproar began when the Capital Regional District Board directors wanted to determine whether the development was inconsistent. Provincial Order of Council established the Land Use Committee A as the board of the JDF and land use decisions are delegated to that committee.

There was a real possibility of having the CRD Board determine a different consistency ruling than the Land Use Committee A, which made the land use deicsions in the JDFEA.

Currently all zoning in the JDFEA are considered by the CRD Land Use Committees A and B. The board will be considering changes that will result in all zonings and  applications in the Rural Resource Lands and all Official Community Plans amendments being sent to the CRD Board first to determine whether they are consistent with the RGS.

Hicks said if he takes an OCP amendment to the board and they say it is not consistent, he has no option but to abandon the idea or ask for a RGS amendment.

To get the RGS amendment there has to be unanimous support of every council in the CRD and the neighbouring regional district in the Cowichan Valley.

“If I did get unanimous support, I would take it to the board for a vote, it would be a weighted vote. That’s what I’m allowed to do,” said Hicks.

Any other municipality in the CRD has a dispute mechanism with mediation or arbitration with an independent group — not the JDFEA

“We do not have that right in the Juan de Fuca,” said Hicks. “We should have the same vote as a council or the CVRD.”

Hicks said the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area is an entity not just a line on the map.

CRD director Denise Blackwell is in Hicks’ corner and is introducing a notice of motion asking the CRD Board to request the B.C. government to allow the Juan de Fuca to have the same dispute mechanism as the CRD municipalities.