The long drawn out debate about Ender Ilkay’s proposed development has revealed much about our elected officials. It has also generated more questions than answers. For those not familiar with this scheme, it proposes a long string of cabins right next to a provincial park where a popular hiking trail is located. This trail is famous; it is well used by people from all over the province and beyond. Of course, a major zoning change would also be needed.
First, how much careful thought and sound judgment were put into this plan? Could a developer not foresee the controversy it would create? Would it not put those who favor slow,well planned and careful development in an embarrassing dilemma and disillusion them? Could the main goal just be a change in zoning?
A unique supportive argument has been put forth for this plan. The claim is that a person has the right to do whatever he wants on his own property, regardless of what anyone else thinks. Now, I’ve heard of the divine right of kings. Such ‘rights’ were done away with several centuries ago. I suggest that the ‘divine rights’ of property owners also should be relegated to the distant past-perhaps the time before the 16th century.
Apparently much decision making power concerning this plan has been thrust on our local Land Use Committee (LUC). Let’s look at its makeup. All members come from thinly populated areas. Two became members through acclamation. One, from East Sooke, was appointed. While Mr. Hicks was within his rights to do so, in my opinion, this appointee does not represent East Sooke fairly.
At a recent meeting of LUC on this development proposal, I thought that the director became very defensive when questioned about this matter. He was, I thought, also defensive about the blatant disconnect between the majority of the audience and the majority of this committee.
In my opinion, both his attitude and the rambling remarks from a couple of his committee members make me ask another question. Are all members of this group of people up to dealing with a topic as important as this one? Isn’t the protection of this province-famous park something that should be dealt with by those with broader views and wider experience?
Dale W. Read