General · 9th September 2010
A lot of new information on the Gowlland Harbour Views development has been appearing lately. In his previous report, our Regional Board Member Jim Abram reports that the Board is giving first and second reading to the the bylaws amending both our Community Plan and the Zoning Bylaw, as requested by the developers. Contrary to what Jim states, there have been no substantive changes to the development proposal as originally presented at two show-and-tells organized by the developer, and all the major conflicts with our Community Plan are still part of what is being proposed. With many Q-Cove residents up in arms about ballooning sewer costs, and the alluring prospect that the Gowlland Harbour Views developers might contribute to the sewer costs in the far future, one begins to understand why the problems associated with this development are being ignored by many. We described the conflicts with the Plan in some detail in the Oct. 9, 2009 issue of the Discovery Islander (and there are too many to try and repeat here); suffice to say that one section of the plan very specifically prohibits what is now getting first and second reading by the Strathcona Regional Board.
At their meeting of August 11, 2010, which dealt with the Gowlland Harbour Views Development, the Board accepted two documents, both available on the Regional District website. The first document is a submission by the developers, which is primarily a lesson in greenwashing, with many pages of pretty pictures and every environmental buzz word that can be found in the dictionary. They are clearly well aware of one of the most serious conflicts with the Community Plan, the absolute prohibition of rezoning the Silviculture Lands for housing, and therefore set out to convince us that silviculture is synonymous with large clearcuts. More on this below, but it is rather ironic for anyone familiar with the owner's, (Rick Schellinck's) logging history on Denman Island, where he was responsible for one of the worst logging jobs that we have seen. This view has been confirmed by many others who visited the site – a section of the Lindsay-Dickson Forest off the main road. Another interesting aspect of the developers submission is the listing of Thorconsult Engineering Ltd. and its principal, Joseph Bonadventure (Bon) Thorburn P.Eng. as being responsible for civil engineering and surface drainage. The web site of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC shows a Consent Order signed by Mr. Thorburn on May 25, 2010, in which he admits four items of unprofessional conduct, all related to sewerage system design. His engineering practice is presently restricted.
If you have ever been involved in planning or zoning issues on Quadra, you should read the second document, the Staff Report, signed by the Chief Administrative Officer of the Regional Board, Brian Reardon. It illustrates the contempt with which the planning staff treat locally developed plans if they happen to get in the way of a pet project, and particularly so if the project includes Development Zones, where they get to call the shots. Mr. Reardon is well aware of the outright conflict between the Official Community Plan and the Gowlland Views proposal, which he views as a great gift to Quadra Island. The Community Plan is but a little bump on his road which he overcomes with an astounding collection of distorted facts, omitted facts and verbal acrobatics (his pages 7 to 9). The general theme is that the Quadra locals clearly did not know what they were doing and could not possibly have meant what the Plan states, and that it should therefore be ignored. The fact is that the plan provisions that are now in Mr. Reardon's way were much discussed during plan development, specifically with regard to the Raven lands along West Road and with regard to Lot 208. The intent was to discourage suburban sprawl, such as Gowlland Harbour Views, and to provide a clear break in the settled areas north of Quathiaski Cove, in addition to assuring that the Silviculture Zone would not become simply a land reserve for future development. Also omitted by Mr. Reardon is the fact that Mr. Schellinck was specifically compensated for the Silviculture restrictions on Lot 208 with $600 000 of our taxpayers' money when he accepted a trade of a much smaller, but more easily developed, parcel of land on Denman for Lot 208 a few years ago.
The Cape Mudge Band should take note that the Community Plan is only an obstacle to re-zoning if the Regional Board decides to make it one; the wording of the plan appears to be irrelevant. Having a well connected ex-highways-approving officer equipped with a large can of green paint as your main consultant is not a bad idea either if the Community Plan threatens to make problems.
Respectfully submitted by
Rolf and Heather Kellerhals
PO Box 250, Heriot Bay, BC, V0P 1H0
Phone: 250 285 3570, Fax: 250 285 2981
Editor's note: For background information, see the attachment to this article below.