With one councillor absent from the District of Sooke council meeting, the vote to allow transfer stations in all M2 zones passed by a 4 to 2 vote. Mayor Wendal Milne and Councillor Kerrie Reay were opposed. Coun. Maja Tait had previously voted against Bylaws 596, 597.
Bylaw 596 would amend Bylaw No. 400, OCP, for the purpose of amending the land use designation for 12 properties located on Idlemore and Kaltasin Roads that are zoned General Industrial (M2) from Community Residential to Industrial.
Bylaw No. 597 would add a definition for “Waste Transfer Station” and to allow “Waste Transfer Station” in all properties zoned General Industrial (M2).
The public hearing, held before the vote for third reading, saw many come before council stating they were in opposition to the move to make transfer stations allowable in all M2 (general industrial) zones. There were statements that council was allowing the law to be broken and business allowed to continue without proper zoning, stating a business on Idlemore was operating illegally.
“What good is it having a council that can’t enforce the law?” stated Derek Lewers. He said (as others did) that he was outraged that someone could come in and put in a waste station where it was not zoned.
Councillor Kevin Pearson defended the use as a transfer station stating it was not a garbage dump but essentially recycling.
Coun. Bev Berger agreed with Pearson saying the zoning bylaw was vague and it was the zoning bylaw that was the problem as no zones allow transer stations. She said, “M2 opens up a fair playing field.”
Currently only M3 (heavy industrial) zones allow waste management.
Coun. Herb Haldane said he wanted to stay out of court (in regard to the zoning bylaw) and he didn’t know how to prevent that except to change the bylaw. He said maybe Arden should get the benefit and be the only one.
Mayor Wendal Milne said he was disappointed. He said it left people questioning their ethics and he didn’t like that.
“There is no question we need more transfer stations,” said Milne. “This controversial use has to be looked at and I can’t support this blanket zoning.” He urged council to have second thoughts on this.
Bylaws 596 and 597 still have to be adopted, which will likely take place on July 21.