Respect local authority

I am a resident of Willis Point, one of the six communities within the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area.  I served as the Willis Point representative on the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area Land Use Committee from its inception until 2008.

I do not agree with the argument that the entire Capital Regional District Board must vote on the Marine Trail Holdings development proposal.  This change to the current structure for land use matters in the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area would effectively usurp local responsibility for land use planning, contrary to a fundamental principle of modern democracy.

More than 10 years ago, Willis Point and other Electoral Area communities sought greater control over local land use matters, and the Capital Regional District Board responded positively, first by establishing locally elected Advisory Planning Commissions in each community, then by creating the Electoral Area Land Use Committee composed of locally elected representatives from each community, as well as the directly elected Electoral Area Director.  These bodies make recommendations; Voting Blocks A and B of the Board make the actual decisions.

No doubt the then recent controversy over the Silver Spray development influenced the board’s decision, but regardless of motivation, this structure of locally elected community representatives being responsible for local land use matters is an innovative, and by all accounts effective, approach. The fact the courts struck down certain aspects of this structure is not relevant to this matter.  The courts found no issue with the concept of community based and elected representatives, only with the board’s internal voting procedures used to formally approve Land Use Committee recommendations.

The argument that the Marine Trail Holdings development is adjacent to the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail Park and that only the Board can respond to the “public interest” is unconvincing.

Put simply, there is no evidence that the existing decision making structure would fail to give the proposal full, fair and objective analysis, including consideration of both local views and broader public interest.  Those advancing this argument seem concerned that the existing structure may reach a decision on the proposal that is contrary to their own views. Disagreement with an elected body’s potential decision is certainly not a reason to abandon fundamental democratic principles and usurp that body’s authority.

I strongly urge the Capital Regional District Board to respect local authority over land use planning, and to reject any change in the decision making structures regarding land use matters in the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area.

Patrick O’Rourke

Victoria

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead in ‘targeted incident’ on Sooke Road

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

A decade into the 100-year blueprint for restoring the Bowker Creek watershed, Soren Henrich, director of the Friends of Bowker Creek Society, feels positive about the future of conservation and daylighting of the creek. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Ten years in, Greater Victoria’s 100-year Bowker Creek blueprint gets a boost

Victoria council passes several restoration recommendations

A resurfacing of the tennis court in Metchosin is being eyed for the community. However, funding opportunities still need to be solidified for the project. (Michelle Cabana/Black Press Media)
Renewed surface eyed for Metchosin tennis court

Funding source must first be solidified in order for project to happen

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

More than ever before, as pandemic conditions persist, the threat of data breaches and cyberattacks continues to grow, according to SFU professor Michael Parent. (Pixabay photo)
SFU expert unveils 5 ways the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed cybersecurity

Recognizing these changes is the first in a series of steps to mitigate them once the pandemic ends, and before the next: Michael Parent

Kevin Haughton is the founder/technologist of Courtenay-based Clearflo Solutions. Scott Stanfield photo
Islander aims Clearflo clean drinking water system at Canada’s remote communities

Entrepreneur $300,000 mobile system can produce 50,000 litres of water in a day, via solar energy

Most Read