Land use decisions are about to be dramatically altered in the Juan de Fuca. A series of bylaw amendments have passed the Planning, Transportation and Protective Services Committee (PTPSC) which will allow the full CRD board to insert itself in the process in a manner which probably violates the Provincial Order in Council which establishes Land Use Committee A (LUC A) as the Board for the JDF. Land use decisions under Part 26 of the local government act are delegated to LUC A.
All re-zoning proposals in the Rural Resource Lands, and OCP amendments in all of the JDF will now first go to the full CRD board for a ruling on RGS consistency. If the full board determines (by a purely political vote) that the proposal is not consistent with the RGS; the staff, the LUC and Committee A will all be bound by law to deny any readings of the bylaw. No appeal. No arbitration. No dispute settling mechanism.
The original proposal included ALL re-zoning applications in the entire JDF but Director Hicks drew a line in the sand and now zoning applications in the sub-regions (East Sooke, Otter Point, etc.) will not automatically be subjected to a full board vote. However, it is still asserted by certain committee members that any CRD board director can challenge any re-zoning in any part of the CRD and subject it to an RGS consistency vote. A municipality, however, can appeal that decision to an independent arbitrator. In the Juan de Fuca we don’t have that equal right.
And the Juan de Fuca, having no council, cannot even vote on RGS amendments which require unanimous approval of all municipal councils. And the neighboring Cowichan Regional District.
This all does not bode well for the newly completed Otter Point OCP. The new plan reconciles the inequity that the old OCP imposed on owners of Rural A zoned land. And it does so with progressive options and no overall increase in density. But the prospect that it will sail through the RGS micro-managers and anti-sprawlers on the board in a weighted vote heavily favoring the core municipalities seems slim.
At any rate it is the protection of the values and rights of rural residents and their right to decide their future that is our main concern. We feel that the hard won arrangement which establishes LUC A as our board best protects those rights and values. And that JDF residents should at least have the same right to appeal as municipalities.
We are hopeful for good will and cooperation, but wary that we are on the verge of another round of litigation.
President, Association of B.C.
Users should pay
I have read with some trepidation the article in the Sooke News Mirror on Oct. 31 concerning the probability of increasing the sewer