One of the topics discussed at the Otter Point & Shirley Residents & Ratepayers Association (OPSRRA) Annual General Meeting was whether OPSRRA should take a position in favour or against the proposed rezoning of the Marine Trail Holdings properties which border the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail west of China Beach. Here is a summary of the arguments heard for and against the proposed rezoning:
Highlights of the arguments in favour:
Estimated 45 annual construction jobs for five years peak construction period.
Estimated 80+ full time equivalent annual jobs in operating the fully built out resort.
Estimated $204,900 per year by year four, $576,000 by year nine and $853,900 in year 14.
Local Amenities Proposed:
Donation of approximately 98 hectares to BC Parks, including land for the JDF Marine Trail. Build a helipad for emergency services use. Build three water reservoirs for fire protection services. Build two public access points to the JDF Marine Trail and public parking for trail users.
Access for Pacheedat First Nation to culturally important areas in resort area.
Planning for a “Green” and Environmentally Sensitive Resort:
Commit to maintain 105 hectares as protected green space. Buildings will not be visible from the highway. All buildings will be setback at least 150 meters from JDF Marine Trail and at least 1.5 tree lengths from the Park boundary.
Plan to use captured rain water for the cabins rather than drilling wells.
Plan to use a common sewage system.
Area won’t be clear cut if taken out of existing Resource zone.
Arguments Against the rezoning application are:
Absence of Resort Fire and Emergency Services: Resort will increase risk for summer fire and vehicle accidents in the area. No local fire or emergency services are planned or readily available.
Questionable Local Economic Benefits of the Resort:
Few construction, material, furnishing or marketing jobs likely available for JDFEA residents, most resort jobs are customarily low paying and part time.
Only a small portion of any new property taxes go to the JDFEA for local services – JDFEA residents will subsidize increased fire emergency, police and other service costs. Increased demands for neighboring volunteer fire and emergency services.
Negative Impact on the JDF Marine Trail.
Increased use of the trail immediately around the resort by 500+ resort residents people will threaten the ecological integrity of that trail coastal area, and threaten the wilderness experience for people who use the JDF Marine Trail.
Negative Impact on the Natural Environment.
Development of the resort between the Highway and the JDF Marine Trail will have a destructive impact on the natural environment, plants and wildlife both in the resort area and the areas adjacent to it. The proposed resort is too big and in the wrong place between the highway and the trail. Approval of the rezoning for the proposed resort will set a planning precedent for further rezonings for increased resort and residential development and related loss of remaining natural environment in the Rural Resource Lands.
Requested Rezoning Contrary to the Regional Growth Strategy.
The CRD RGS is designed to keep urban growth compact while maintaining the integrity or rural areas, not the establishment of a tourist resort village in the Rural Resource Lands.
Alternatives in Jordan River and Port Renfrew.Proposed that such tourist resort developments be located in Port Renfrew or Jordan River where existing land is available and environmental costs would be lower.
The outcome of the membership’s discussion of this matter was to neither support nor oppose the proposed rezoning. Instead, the membership recommended that the OPSRRA Board of Directors act on a suggestion from the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area Regional Director that the CRD Board be asked to purchase the properties as a regional park land and use these acquired lands to buffer the provincial marine park from any possible future encroachment. The Juan de Fuca Community Trails Society also supports this position.