The BC Supreme Court has dismissed a lawsuit brought by neighbours against the Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit and the Municipality of North Cowichan. File photo)

Court dismisses case against Cowichan’s Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit

Second lawsuit expected to be heard next year

The BC Supreme Court has dismissed a lawsuit by neighbours of the Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit in their efforts to put an immediate stop to what they claim is excessive noise from its operations.

But the six neighbours don’t see the loss as the final chapter of their ongoing efforts to reduce the noise levels from the car track facility.

The VIMC opened in June 2016, on a 46-acre parcel of land on the Cowichan Valley Highway, and the levels of noise from the facility have led to complaints from neighbours since the beginning of its operations.

The neighbours filed the lawsuit against the VIMC and the Municipality of North Cowichan last year.

RELATED STORY: MOTORSPORT CIRCUIT ISSUES GOING TO COURT THIS MONTH

According to their statement of claim, filed in June, 2017, the neighbours said the track is operating illegally with respect to the zoning bylaws of North Cowichan, which are not being enforced.

The neighbours were looking for the court to order that the municipality’s bylaws be enforced so that it would lead to the noise levels from the facility decreasing.

RELATED STORY: NOISE MEETING LESS THAN SUCCESSFUL, SAYS NEIGHBOURHOOD ASSOCIATION

But, on Oct. 12, Justice George Macintosh ruled that the plaintiffs, as a matter of law, can’t seek to compel the enforcement of a municipal bylaw, absent an allegation of bad faith, “which is not made here”.

“The decisions of how and when to enforce municipal bylaws are within the sole province of the enacting municipality,” Macintosh said in his ruling.

Macintosh said the requests for the court to order that North Cowichan’s land-use and noise bylaws be enforced constitute an “abuse of process in the limited, but relevant, sense that they constitute a collateral attack on the municipality’s application of its bylaws, which could only be brought by way of a judicial review.”

Macintosh also awarded some court costs to the defendants in the case.

But Macintosh didn’t strike the whole submission from the neighbours, leaving in sections that contend the VIMC is a nuisance property.

Another lawsuit filed by the neighbours, which is not expected to be before the courts until next year, alleges that the provincial nuisance law prohibits anyone from “substantial and unreasonable interference with the use and enjoyment of property”.

Macintosh said that, in his view, the sections of the submission that he left in may be relevant to the plaintiffs’ claim in the nuisance court case.

“The plaintiffs, as part of their nuisance claim, are entitled to show, if they can, that any applicable bylaw noise limits are being violated by the VIMC,” Macintosh said.

“The court in the nuisance trial is permitted to take that information into account when determining whether nuisance has occurred.”

Mariah Wallener, a director with the Sahtlam Neighbourhood Association, which was also a plaintiff in the case until it dropped out of the lawsuit in February, said the lawsuit was seen as just an attempt at a “temporary fix” to the neighbours’ issues until a more permanent solution can found.

“This is not a big loss,” she said.

“Our nuisance case is still on and we’re hoping to be successful there. A lot of people are saying we are trying to shut down the VIMC and that isn’t true. We just want to stop the excessive noise until the permitted land-use issues can be addressed.”

Paul Rossmo, general manager of the VIMC, said he was “very happy” with the judge’s ruling.

“It went the way we expected and we’re pleased with that,” he said.

“But it doesn’t diminish our commitment to address these concerns and minimize the noise coming from the VIMC. It’s an ongoing process that we’re focusing on every day. My commitment is to always do a good job and be a good neighbour.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Sooke Road crash shuts down Monday afternoon traffic

Minivan apparently crossed the center line and crashed into a very large truck

U.S. student killed in Bamfield bus crash remembered as ‘kind, intelligent, talented’

John Geerdes, 18, was one of two UVic students killed in the crash on Friday night

Sooke’s ‘Stonehenge’ gets a rocky reception

Structure intended to accommodate memorial plaques

Malahat backs up after truck crashes through concrete barrier

Hydro poles taken out in Monday afternoon crash

UPDATE: One man dies in Saanich collision

Police are asking people to avoid the intersection at Cumberland and Union roads

VIDEO: Liberals make child care pledge, Greens unveil platform on Day 6 of campaign

Green party leader Elizabeth May unveils her party’s platform in Toronto

Island campground on the chopping block as ALC deadline looms

Owners fighting to continue facility’s operation, with a huge outpouring of support

B.C. ends ‘birth alerts’ in child welfare cases

‘Social service workers will no longer share information about expectant parents without consent’

Free Tesla 3 offered with purchase of Surrey townhome

Century Group’s offer for Viridian development runs through Oct. 31

B.C. communities urged to improve access for disabled people

One in four B.C. residents has disability, most want to work

Sikh millworker lodges human rights complaint against Interfor, again

Mander Sohal, fired from Delta’s Acorn Mill, alleges discrimination based on religion and disability

Safety concerns resurface after fatal bus crash on Vancouver Island

Huu-ay-aht First Nations wants a safe route between Bamfield and Port Alberni

National weather forecasters predict average fall, cold winter

The Weather Network says precipitation will about average in most parts of Canada

Two dead, two in critical condition in highway crash near Campbell River

Highway 19 reopened Sunday night after it was closed in both directions

Most Read