A proposal by B.C. Hydro to rezone more than 28 hectares of land at Jordan River by restricting it use to no permanent overnight housing goes to public hearing Wednesday (Jan. 24).
B.C. Hydro is seeking the Capital Regional District rezoning to sell the land.
The future of Jordan River has been up for debate since B.C. Hydro announced two years ago a major earthquake would destroy its dam and wipe out the homes below. It has bought all but one home along the main strip.
“It’s to be sure the public won’t be compromised down the road,” Ted Olynk, B.C. Hydro’s community relations manager for Vancouver Island told the Sooke News Mirror last month. “This is about managing risk.”
The Pacheedaht First Nation is a likely buyer for the property. Jordan River is the origin site of the Pacheedaht and archaeological digs have identified two historic villages near the river’s mouth.
Pacheedaht First Nation members presented their ideas for Jordan River to the CRD board in May.
Their plan includes possible surf sites, traditional Nuu-chah-nulth canoe rentals, an interpretive centre and restaurants featuring a Pacheedaht salmon bake.
CRD Juan de Fuca Electoral Area director Mike Hicks expects the Jordan River lands to be part of treaty negotiations.
“It is my belief that the Pacheedaht are going to purchase this land from B.C. Hydro,” said Hicks.
B.C. Hydro must follow the provincial government policy on selling Crown land, with the over-arching goal of a fair return, based on market value for the land.
Hicks held an information meeting with area residents on the rezoning plans, and while he can’t predict the outcome of the public hearing, and the pro and cons of the issue were discussed.
“We don’t like to surprise people. I try to anticipate what the reaction is going to be and head it off problems before it gets to the public. I’ve consulted with B.C. Hydro and the Pacheedaht,” Hicks said.
The public hearing is at Shirley Community Hall, 2795 Sheringham Point Rd., and starts at 7 p.m.