I attended the CRD Land Use Committee meeting Feb. 15 for the sole purpose of seeking rejection of the Ilkay Development plan along a 17 km stretch of wilderness which basically butts up against the Juan De Fuca Marine Trail and park land.
Speaker after speaker cited their objections to this ill conceived, colossal development plan that would certainly put in jeopardy the integrity and natural beauty of this incredible, one-of-a-kind area. I would say of the 70 or more people who attended 95 per cent seemed against this planned development while three spoke for it, one of them being the developer himself. Many more who were against were not allowed to speak for time was an issue.
Two brothers attended, representing their First Nation peoples, and spoke eloquently of the many injustices over the years and still today regarding land claim issues yet to addressed on those lands. They suggested a moratorium of any activity on these disputed lands and almost all in attendance agreed.
Many spoke of the wildlife that would be negatively impacted, of the trail itself that would be impacted, of the problems of governance, fire protection, the fact that such a wilderness area including the Juan De Fuca Trail, is a jewel necklace that we all wear proudly. The tourism this gem attracts is profound.
I have worked the front lines of the tourism industry for 25 years and it is always mentioned to me that the reason people come to this area is to see “wilderness.” Wild places with real diversity and a bountiful, healthy ecosystem are becoming more and more rare. Anyone who goes out of their way to find a place where they can truly connect with nature doesn’t want to see, hear, or smell a resort 100 metres away. Any development in this area would spoil the essence and tranquility so many seek.
Many also mentioned there already are plenty of available lots and houses on the market that lie within already established infrastructure and community. Jordan River and Port Renfrew each want to keep building a community with families in mind. Plunking one man’s concrete dream on such beautiful wild land that supports so much, ourselves included, will only hinder and fragment the efforts of these already struggling communities.
One person in favour of the plan spoke of compromise. I am a big proponent of compromise but sometimes a line must be drawn and a greater good must be established. If this area is compromised it will never be the same.
Allowing this plan to carry on is like sticking a sliver into a perfectly healthy thumb.
These parcels of land bought by Mr. Ilkay (ex-TFL land) have a history of injustice. Any building on such foul foundations will perpetuate the legacy of these past injustices and result in an ultimate failure and disgrace for the whole project. We will all lose.
The only thing that should be culled in this area is this preposterous plan. Hopefully the Land Use Committee does not feel obligated or obliged to endorse Mr. Ilkay’s vision for it is the vision that is based on dollars not sense!