Letters: Still seeking access to CRD park lands

CRD Park in Sooke hills should be accessible to all users

I would like to thank Councillors Haldane, Pearson, and Kasper for prompting the first real discussion of access to our community lakes since the Capital Regional District water board first gated Harbourview Road back in the ‘80s. District control of zoning is the only negotiating tool we have left to get the CRD to the table for access, and the rest of council seems intent on following the mayor’s lead in throwing it away with no concession, just like our last mayor (also CRD Parks Committee vice-chair) did. Leave aside the fact that they are also throwing away about $127,000 in rezoning fees and over $30,000 per year in property taxes.

The issue seems deadlocked on the idea that the district wants to be able to put a park anywhere without having to rezone. The solution is to define what a park is. A municipal park is not a regional park, and a regional park reserve is not a park at all. The district could quite easily allow a municipal park in all zones while requiring the CRD to seek zoning for anything else. For some reason staff think the CRD is special, asking “what would their incentive to rezone be?” and providing false information about “legal non-conformance.”

The incentive for the CRD to rezone is exactly the same as anyone else; the non-compliance penalties in the zoning bylaw. The real question is why our CRD-friendly staff refuse or neglect to enforce zoning bylaws when it comes to CRD non-compliance.

Council needs to strike out the provision that permits a CRD park anywhere without rezoning, and make the CRD come to the district to rezone the hundreds of hectares of CRD park reserve so that there is a public process involved. People in Sooke want access to our lakes, and if it was any developer but the CRD we would get it.

Terrance Martin

Sooke