The gallery was full to capacity at the June 15 CRD Board meeting.

Marine Trail Holdings still holding

Rezoning application referred back for another report

Pirjo Raits

Sooke News Mirror

“An absolute assault on the governance of the Juan de Fuca,” is how Mike Hicks, regional director for the JDF Electoral Area, described the decision by the Capital Regional District Board to stall  any decisions which would be made on first, second and third reading on Ender Ilkay’s Marine Trail Holdings development by the Juan de Fucal Land Use Committee A.

The rezoning application was to come before the committee for first and second reading on June 15.

After a lot of discussion the board made the decision to request more information,  another report and also more clarity on the voting structure for the JDFEA after a meeting scheduled with Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Ida Chong.

Director Alice Finall, mayor of North Saanich, put forth the motion to refer the item stating the Marine Trail development was of “great regional interest.”

What the CRD board wants is to have a vote on the rezoning application rather than just committee A made up of the five directors from Metchosin, Langford, Colwood, Sooke and the Juan de Fuca.

Hicks said to the board that to go about this in this way was a blatant way for North Saanich to impose its will.

“All you’re doing is voting against the governance of the Juan de Fuca and the process,” said Hicks.

He said delaying this application process was paramount to procastination.

“I would say the whole process is in dispute,” stated Hicks.

Mayor Janet Evans said the whole board could vote, if they bought in, which would be quite a lengthy process.

Director John Ranns questioned whether the whole board would have to buy in.

What is meant by “buying in” is that the board would have to pay a share of the land use planning costs in the Juan de Fuca.

Alternate director Lynn Hunter said, “the dancing minister is not willing to get involved. She is the one who is going to have to come clear.”

The whole Juan de Fuca development issue itself has been the focus of protests and letter writing campaigns against any development at all in the proximity of the hiking trail. It began with the release of forest lands from TFL 25 and has escalated to include development issues in the Juan de Fuca.

Exposing the Juan de Fuca Trail to development may, in an ironic way, preserve the uniqueness and beauty of the trail. That’s the opinion of Juan de Fuca Electoral Area regional director Mike Hicks. He says denying the re-zoning would leave the trail and park exposed to the present zoning and inevitable development.

He states, “present zoning woud allow a clear cut fom the highway to the park boundary and opportunity for gravel extraction. It would also allow for each of the seven separate lots to have a dwelling built within 15 metres of the park boundary, outbuildings seven metres from the park boundary, and a collection of sawmills, boats, trailers, trucks, dogs and everything  great and part of rural living.” The trail will continue to trespass on private land, as would the public and B.C. Parks.

Hicks said, we have received hundreds of e-mails and comments. The vast majority state that they wish the beauty, uniqueness, and the natural state of the Juan de Fuca Trail preserved.

“There are only two ways to achieve that goal. Make an offer to purchase the land or re-zone the land. I have only one option available to me,” said Hicks in a statement.

He said that one of the strongest opponents to any development in the Juan de Fuca has been the Dogwood Initiative.

“The Dogwood Initiative army are at home eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches until school starts in the fall,” said Hicks. “The e-mails have stopped since school has been out. I imagine they are trying to delay this until the election in November (and a new land use committee), then the Dogwood can come out and chase me around.”

He said he had no qualms with the people who are sincerely opposed, his qualms are with the change to the voting structure without the consent of the people in the Juan de Fuca.