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

Just Posted

Trudeau announces $79M investment for 118 more public transit buses across B.C.

Contributions from municipal to federal level to fund more buses in a bid to cut commutes

Sun on its way after Greater Victoria sees wettest July in six years

Environment Canada meteorologists say the drizzle is likely to end soon

Average rent for one-bedroom in Victoria nears $1,400: PadMapper

Victoria sixth in Canada for most expensive rent

After Victoria dad’s death, Technical Safety BC wants changes to trampoline park rules

Jay Greenwood, 46, did ‘a series of acrobatic manoeuvres prior to a fall that caused serious injury and cardiac arrest’

VIDEO: 1,400 classic cars roll into Victoria for Deuce Days

The four-day festival highlights classic hot rods, with a special emphasis on cars built in 1932

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs have been sold

Victoria company has purchased BCHL team, but will keep it in Port Alberni

“Does Kirby care?” B.C. First Nation’s group using geo-targeted ads in Houston, Texas for justice

The Heiltsuk Tribal Council has called out Kirby Corporation for the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill

B.C. woman wins record $2.1 million on casino slot machine

‘That night was so surreal … I wasn’t able to sleep or eat for the first two days,’ she said

LETTER: Refining bitmen not a good idea

One of the arguments against increasing the capacity of the Trans Mountain… Continue reading

LETTER: Welcome to Nevergreen Mall

Re: Work starts on mall expansion (News, July 17) Welcome to Nevergreen… Continue reading

$900M settlement reached in class action on sexual misconduct in Canadian military

After facing criticism, the government moved to begin settlement proceedings in early 2018

Tax take stays ahead of increased B.C. government spending

Tax revenue $2.1 billion higher than budget in 2018-19

Most Read