The CRD recently sat down to vote on the fate of Ender Ilkay’s controversial proposal to build around 260 vacation cabins next to the Juan De Fuca trail. If you just tuned in, this development has recently inspired debate within the CRD about whether or not the organization can or should change its voting structure to allow the board as a whole to vote on rural resource land decisions.
The good? Lands generally recognizable as regionally significant (such as those adjacent to the trail) would be voted on by representatives from the entire region. The bad? Changing the rules halfway through a development proposal opens the door to a number of potential legal issues. The ugly? No one seems to be able to accurately interpret what the legislation governing this sort of thing actually means.
Last month, Minister Ida Chong wrote in a letter to the Sooke News Mirror that, “The CRD does not require provincial approval to change the existing land use voting structure.”
CRD Chair Geoff Young disagrees, stating last week that, “[The minister’s] officials have a strong feeling that they know what the situation is and our staff hasn’t always agreed with that.” Young explains that as far as he knows there is no way for the CRD board to achieve its goals with respect to Ilkay’s proposal without the go-ahead from the province.
The minister’s letter goes on to suggest two potential solutions, both of which involve shifting decision-making responsibility for the entire Juan De Fuca area (not just the rural resource lands) away from representatives for that area, a solution which Young says has seen little support from the CRD board. This, bear in mind, is the short version.
So that’s where we were when the CRD met last week — confused, dissatisfied, and . . . well, confused. So confused, in fact, that the board voted to postpone any decisions on the Ilkay proposal until some agreement can be reached between the province and the CRD about what exactly everyone should be doing.
Anticlimactic, I know. Having recapped this series of events three times now, I must nevertheless remain confident that Chong and Young can, with the help of a few dozen officials, figure this thing out for the betterment of forest land throughout the region, so stay tuned. M