Four years and four months. That is how long we’ve been dealing with the fallout from the province’s decision to remove hundreds of hectares of land in the Juan de Fuca (JdF) area from the tree farm license system.
Two weeks ago, a request was sent from the Capital Regional District to the province to allow the district to alter its voting structure.
This, for those of you just tuning-in to the issue, was in response to a rezoning proposal by Ender Ilkay, a developer looking to build around 260 cabins on his property that neighbours the JdF trail, and to the hundreds of protesters looking to stop that development from happening.
At present, this decision would be handled by a CRD committee made up of area representatives rather than the entire board — ergo the proposal. This change to the voting structure would not only potentially halt Ilkay’s proposal, but significantly alter the future of development and growth in the JdF area.
Asked about the motivation behind this request, CRD director Philippe Lucas explains, “I don’t think the situation around the resource lands is settled ultimately to anyone’s satisfaction. What we see is that the current arrangement is not helping us to support the values that we put forward in the regional growth strategy, nor is it helping us protect what is clearly an area of regional importance.”
As of last week, MLA Ida Chong responded to the request, saying an amendment isn’t needed, and suggests that the CRD revert to an earlier voting structure.
According to the minister, “Options to change the voting structure include allowing the CRD to restore what existed prior to 2001 — that would mean that the entire board would once again be making [land use decisions for the] JdF electoral area.”
This polarizes the CRD’s desire for a new way to vote on Ilkay’s proposal and others dealing with regionally significant rural land.
Next week, the board will decide whether to remove all decision-making responsibilities from JdF representatives, or do nothing.
So that’s where we’re at now — unless another option presents itself, it’s all or nothing for the future of the Juan de Fuca trail. M