Letters: Disputing Hicks’ comments

Solid information questioned by proponent of motorized vehicles in park

Mike Hicks’ idea of “solid information” leading a decision to do nothing, in his letter published in the June 18, 2014  issue of Sooke News Mirror about “No to motorized vehicles in CRD park,” is more about a politician pandering for cheap votes than fact. The issue doesn’t have anything to do with a CRD park. The issue is whether motorized vehicles should be allowed on an existing road to the provincial park. He cites a bunch of irrelevant “board approved” plans and makes a big deal about how hard it would all be to change it.

Sooke OCP aside, the one relevant “board approved” plan doesn’t even get mentioned, and for good reason. The area in question is in the Rural Resource Lands OCP, a “board approved” CRD bylaw, and it has this to say:

Schedule “A” of Capital Regional District Bylaw No. 3591 Rural Resource Lands Official Community Plan

Part 1 General Policies:

1) Strengthening the regional economy and maintaining the dominant resource use of the Plan area are primary objectives of this OCP.

3) Ensure public access is provided to lakes, streams, ocean and other water courses pursuant to Section 75 of the Land Title Act where subdivision of land occurs.

(Note the lower “gateway” properties were previously subdivided with the road in existence)

2.1 Park and Natural Areas Policy:

10) Private forest land owners are encouraged to continue to make their lands available for public recreation.

(We have a pro-forma agreement demonstrating the Sherwin group has indicated a willingness to commit to recreational access to Ragged Mountain. Needless to say it is pending settlement of the status of the road.)

2.2 Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Areas:

There is a demand for areas for the use of off-highway vehicles (e.g., ATVs and motorcycles) in the Plan area. However, these uses are not supported within community or regional parks. The Plan supports these uses being located upon appropriate Crown or private lands with management agreements between the owners and self-insured recreational societies.

(Note there is Crown land adjacent to the provincial park and Ragged Mountain, and obviously the provincial park is not a community or regional park.)

Part 3 Land Use Designations:

3.1.1 Resource Land Policies

5) The Ministry of Forests and Range and the private forest companies are encouraged to allow access for outdoor wilderness recreation, including the controlled use of private logging roads and areas during non-operating periods, except during times of high or extreme fire hazard.

Further, the provincial park is a Class B park, and the zoning is “natural environment,” for which the zoning key states that access is permitted by ATV and other motorized vehicles.

It is the CRD park that is not supported in the CRD “board approved” plan, but we won’t mention that embarrassing little fact.

Terrance Martin

Sooke