The BC Supreme Court has dismissed a lawsuit brought by neighbours against the Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit and the Municipality of North Cowichan. File photo)

Court dismisses case against Cowichan’s Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit

Second lawsuit expected to be heard next year

The BC Supreme Court has dismissed a lawsuit by neighbours of the Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit in their efforts to put an immediate stop to what they claim is excessive noise from its operations.

But the six neighbours don’t see the loss as the final chapter of their ongoing efforts to reduce the noise levels from the car track facility.

The VIMC opened in June 2016, on a 46-acre parcel of land on the Cowichan Valley Highway, and the levels of noise from the facility have led to complaints from neighbours since the beginning of its operations.

The neighbours filed the lawsuit against the VIMC and the Municipality of North Cowichan last year.

RELATED STORY: MOTORSPORT CIRCUIT ISSUES GOING TO COURT THIS MONTH

According to their statement of claim, filed in June, 2017, the neighbours said the track is operating illegally with respect to the zoning bylaws of North Cowichan, which are not being enforced.

The neighbours were looking for the court to order that the municipality’s bylaws be enforced so that it would lead to the noise levels from the facility decreasing.

RELATED STORY: NOISE MEETING LESS THAN SUCCESSFUL, SAYS NEIGHBOURHOOD ASSOCIATION

But, on Oct. 12, Justice George Macintosh ruled that the plaintiffs, as a matter of law, can’t seek to compel the enforcement of a municipal bylaw, absent an allegation of bad faith, “which is not made here”.

“The decisions of how and when to enforce municipal bylaws are within the sole province of the enacting municipality,” Macintosh said in his ruling.

Macintosh said the requests for the court to order that North Cowichan’s land-use and noise bylaws be enforced constitute an “abuse of process in the limited, but relevant, sense that they constitute a collateral attack on the municipality’s application of its bylaws, which could only be brought by way of a judicial review.”

Macintosh also awarded some court costs to the defendants in the case.

But Macintosh didn’t strike the whole submission from the neighbours, leaving in sections that contend the VIMC is a nuisance property.

Another lawsuit filed by the neighbours, which is not expected to be before the courts until next year, alleges that the provincial nuisance law prohibits anyone from “substantial and unreasonable interference with the use and enjoyment of property”.

Macintosh said that, in his view, the sections of the submission that he left in may be relevant to the plaintiffs’ claim in the nuisance court case.

“The plaintiffs, as part of their nuisance claim, are entitled to show, if they can, that any applicable bylaw noise limits are being violated by the VIMC,” Macintosh said.

“The court in the nuisance trial is permitted to take that information into account when determining whether nuisance has occurred.”

Mariah Wallener, a director with the Sahtlam Neighbourhood Association, which was also a plaintiff in the case until it dropped out of the lawsuit in February, said the lawsuit was seen as just an attempt at a “temporary fix” to the neighbours’ issues until a more permanent solution can found.

“This is not a big loss,” she said.

“Our nuisance case is still on and we’re hoping to be successful there. A lot of people are saying we are trying to shut down the VIMC and that isn’t true. We just want to stop the excessive noise until the permitted land-use issues can be addressed.”

Paul Rossmo, general manager of the VIMC, said he was “very happy” with the judge’s ruling.

“It went the way we expected and we’re pleased with that,” he said.

“But it doesn’t diminish our commitment to address these concerns and minimize the noise coming from the VIMC. It’s an ongoing process that we’re focusing on every day. My commitment is to always do a good job and be a good neighbour.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Saanich councillor slams McKenzie Interchange Project

Coun. Judy Brownoff said the project will only create more greenhouses gases and traffic

40 BC authors collaborate on new book celebrating the islands of the Salish Sea

Ivan Watson Special to the News Marion Cumming’s hilltop property near McNeil… Continue reading

Saanich approves new eight- and 11-storey residence buildings for UVic

Residents also supported the environmentally friendly residences

Showers ahead in Wednesday’s forecast

Plus a look ahead at your weekend

‘Listen to your body:’ Saanich woman fights to have breast implants removed

Woman struggles to find doctor to remove Allergan textured implants, recently linked to rare cancer

VIDEO: Come along for the ride on Tour de Victoria

Reporter captures video footage of his Tour de Victoria ride

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Aug. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should there be a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers?

We’ve all heard them, and most likely cursed them under our breath.… Continue reading

Vancouver Island rainbow crosswalk covered in mysterious black substance

Black substance spilled intentionally near Qualicum Beach school and difficult to remove

RCMP originally planned to arrest Meng Wanzhou on plane, defence lawyers say

The allegations have not been proven in court. Meng was arrested Dec. 1 at Vancouver airport at the behest of the U.S.

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Ethics commissioner ready to testify on Trudeau, SNC-Lavalin: NDP critic

A new poll suggests the report hasn’t so far hurt the Liberals’ chances of re-election this fall

Inflation hits Bank of Canada 2% target for second straight month

Prices showed strength in other areas, including an 18.9 per cent increase in the cost of fresh vegetables

Vancouver Island RCMP hunt for man after pair of indecent exposure incidents

Elderly Qualicum Beach woman grabbed by man who had been masturbating in the woods

Most Read