I have so many wonderful things to report to you about what is going on in Area C and yet I cannot think about anything else other than the misinformation I am reading in letters submitted to the previous Discovery Islander regarding the Residential Development that was proposed for the Golf Course lands. That is what was being applied for. It was not about the Golf Course. I supported the original Golf Course proposal after they met all of the wishes of the community and I have to this day supported responsible development in general, where appropriate, and specifically in the Quathiaski Cove Local Area Plan through many years of supporting the seniors housing development and the small lot development in that area and others around the island. I fully support the development of multi-generational housing to keep our island vibrant.
Due to the personal verbal attacks upon me and the other Directors, I feel it necessary to once again explain the process without discussing the pros and cons of the application. I will now begin by repeating what I previously reported to you after the SRD meeting. That was the meeting that did not allow Directors to make a determination about the proposal due to legal advice. And here it is:
"Golf Course Outcome at the Board
This is what I reported after the rezoning was dealt with at our Board meeting, in case you didn’t see it then.
The meeting on October 11th dealt with the recommendations of the SRD regarding the proposal to add a residential component to the existing golf course lands. The following is directly from the staff report that the Board received:
"In the opinion of legal counsel, the proposed development appears to be inconsistent with the official community plan and it is unlikely that the Regional District would be able to sustain Bylaw No. 271 if challenged on this basis. Given that opinion, there appears to be little benefit in holding a second public hearing since it is not legally permissible to adopt a zoning bylaw in contravention of an official community plan.
It has also been brought to staff's attention that the applicants had previously advised, when approval for the golf course was initially being considered, that no residential development would be proposed for the site. This information was not offered for public discussion at the recent public hearing and is considered to be relevant to the current development proposal. In light of the above issues it is recommended that, following receipt of the public hearing report, the Board defeat Bylaw No. 271 at third reading"
There seems to be a misunderstanding about what we actually did at the Board table. We did not defeat the application. We defeated Bylaw No. 271 due to legal advice that did not allow us to proceed. The merits of the application were not debated. Only the process was in question at that time.
The Directors, including me, were never allowed to vote on the actual proposal. I have contacted the applicants regarding their application and where they would like to go from here. Senior staff also met with the applicants after the Hearing to discuss their future options.
The alleged delays in the process obviously need clarification. It took the applicants and staff three months to design the application that they finally presented. I was not involved in that process in any way. No blame can be placed for the cancellation by the Chair of the Board of two Board meetings two months in a row. He had justifiable personal reasons for those cancellations that were totally unrelated to this application process. All of this added to the delays that are being attributed to me. I was not involved in any of it and had nothing to do with it, so I hope those assertions will stop. No one “delayed” any part of this process. Each step took the amount of time that it took.
The application for Residential development required an OCP change and a Zoning change. This was obvious from the start but the direction the planners took only asked for a Zoning change. That was their interpretation. As it turned out the legal interpretation did not agree with it and forced us to drop the Bylaw. An OCP can be changed and a Zoning Bylaw can be changed. But they need proper application and community approval. This opportunity is still available to the applicants if they wish to proceed.
This application was about a new residential development in an existing neighbourhood and it needed to be treated as such. It was not about a Golf Course.
I faithfully followed the process that I took an oath to uphold. I refuse to be maligned by the spreading of speculation and conclusions that are just not true.
I am in a very difficult situation since I cannot rightfully and fully defend myself due to the position I hold. All I can do is lay out the factual information and hope that you will read it and decide for yourselves. Since I was left out of it, I cannot help that the process was flawed . Had I been there I would have certainly recommended an OCP change along with the Zoning change. I wasn’t involved! I should have been from day one and I know that our CAO is working on fixing that procedure internally and I am sure he will succeed. Could the process have been better? Maybe! However, I was not included in this process until the very end and was hobbled by a legal opinion that allowed me no choice but to turn down Bylaw No. 271.
I will return to my usual style of letting you know of the activities I am involved in on your behalf in my next report. Oh, and by the way, if you have a problem with, or don’t understand something I am doing, please contact me personally. All of my information is below.
That’s it! Feel free to contact me between the hours of 8:30 am and 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday (please, not on weekends or holidays, folks!) at 285-3355, or you can fax me at 285-3533 or you can email me anytime at jimabramxplornet.ca or by mail at Box 278 in the Cove, V0P 1N0… or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JimAbram…
. If it is important, my cell is 250-830-8005… Lots of choices.
Please do not use my residential phone number for SRD calls. All business calls should be on 285-3355. Many thanks!
Director, Discovery Islands-Mainland inlets, Area C, SRD