“Farms not sprawl” – the message came through just as clearly from the banner protestors hung outside the Capital Regional District building last Wednesday, as it did from inside, where speakers urged directors to reconsider how regional growth decisions are made.
And that’s just what they did.
Sparked by recent development applications, specifically Ender Ilkay’s proposal to build a resort in the wilderness adjacent to the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail and Park, individuals and groups from across the Capital Region argued the fate of forests and farmlands should be in the hands of all directors.
“Isn’t there something wrong here? We’re all outsiders,” said Ray Zimmermann, of the Sea to Sea Greenbelt Society. “We spend thousands of hours on this issue, so we expect our representatives to spend the time to deliberate on these issues.”
Currently, proposals for development in that area are voted on by the Juan de Fuca land use committee, led by area director Mike Hicks and including six councillors from the surrounding region.
The board agreed the system needs revision and have asked the province for voting privileges in the future. Meanwhile, Ilkay’s proposal for 257 cabins on 263 hectares in the Rural Resource Lands remains on the agenda for the existing committee, slated to meet April 19.
Zimmermann was one of two dozen speakers on Wednesday, the vast majority of whom spoke emotionally in favour of changing the voting system.
– with files from Pirjo Raits