Residents unhappy with rezoning by town APC

Lake Cowichan's Advisory Planning Commission says rezoning was done to meet Official Community Plan

Some residents in Lake Cowichan are unhappy about recent rezoning instigated by the town’s Advisory Planning Commission.

Those residents who are upset are recently ones who have seen their houses rezoned from C-1 (commercial) to R-3 (residential) without single family residential status.

Without commercial zoning, none of these houses can now see or have commercial development.

“The rationale for this rezoning proposal is to implement the Official Community Plan which was re-written in 2012,” said James Van Hemert, the town’s contract planner at last Thursday’s APC meeting at the town hall. “The downtown area was re-drawn and the idea is to promote residential density in the core of downtown. Houses have either been rezoned from C-1 to R-3 or P-1 (public use commercial). We have more C-1 that we can use and that hurts us economically. That’s what has driven this.”

One resident, named Jay, who lives on 33 Lakeview Avenue was particularly upset and voiced his concern to the APC at the meeting.

“So I’m zoned C-1 in an area that could probably see commercial development,” he said. “I don’t want to be downgraded to residential. My house is now non-comformative through no action of my own.”

Another lady of 25 North Shore Road said, “I previously had a business and my garage was used for workshops. We have Tipton’s gas bar across from us, I live two doors from the legion, Tim Hortons is close by. I am surrounded by commercial development. I want to retain C-1. If we sell, we want it listed as that.”

Ray Bishop lives at 69 North Shore Road, also close to the legion, and is now looking for an amendment to the rezoning that has took place.

“Why was the single family residency removed from C-1? I don’t see the purpose in that,” he said. “I ran a construction service in Vancouver for 25 years. I just got my business licence and want to start one up here again.”

Local realtor Wendy Klyne was on the same page as Bishop.

“Single family was not removed from C-3 but it was from C-1. I find that odd,” she said. “So you can build a house next to Fields but you can’t build it in C-1 zones.”

Chris Rolls chaired the meeting.

“I’m not sure how much notice you all had but we have listened to you and we will take that into consideration,” she said. “I understand what your feelings are. This is not done with as of today.

“We aren’t a decision making body. We will make a recommendation to council based on this but once we forward to council, it makes the decision.”

Town chief administrator Joe Fernandez said once a notification or recommendation is sent to council, the upset residents will be written to and notified.