Many people lined up to speak at the packed public hearing on the controversial rezoning application in Cowichan Bay last March. (File photo)

Board declines to see new information in controversial Cowichan Bay rezoning

CVRD board now prepared for consideration of third reading and adoption

A controversial rezoning application in Cowichan Bay won’t have to go through another public hearing.

The board at the Cowichan Valley Regional District voted 7-2 in a meeting on Oct. 9 that the zoning amendment for a number of Crown leases on properties where the Westcan Terminal is situated in the bay be referred to the board for consideration of third reading and adoption without receiving new information.

A staff report indicated that at the public hearing for the application, held last March after the application received its first two readings a month earlier, staff acknowledged that it was working with the applicant to address outstanding details of the applicant’s stormwater management plan.

Those details include water sampling data for stormwater runoff, efficacy of the existing stormwater infrastructure, and details of proposed stormwater infrastructure design.

The review has generated new information, that has yet to be released, and the introduction of new information would normally trigger a new public hearing, but a section of the Local Government Act permits adoption of the amendment bylaw without further notice or hearing in some circumstances, and the board chose not to receive the new information.

Due to the statutory nature of the process, the contents of the review can’t be released at this time.

Western Stevedoring controls the properties and stated when it first started the rezoning process more than two years ago that its main purpose is to amend the current zoning to allow its tenant, Pacific Industrial Marine, to continue the operation that the company has had in place for years.

But members of the Cowichan Estuary Restoration & Conservation Association and other environmental groups are taking issue with the rezoning application, fearing that the doors could soon be wide open to a lot more heavy manufacturing and its related pollution in Cowichan Bay, which could play havoc with its fragile ecosystem.

RELATED STORY: CERCA, WESTERN STEVEDORING AT ODDS OVER ESTUARY REZONING

The public hearing in March that was held in the Heritage Room at the Cowichan Community Centre in Duncan drew hundreds of people from both sides of the issue.

RELATED STORY: BIG CROWD AND MANY OPINIONS AT TENSE COWICHAN BAY REZONING MEETING

At Wednesday’s meeting, Lori Iannidinardo, the CVRD’s director for Cowichan Bay, said the rezoning application has been an extremely emotional and challenging one for her.

She said the applicant, Western Stevedoring, has not been treated well in the process.

“This company provides a valuable service in our community and has been treated extremely unfairly,” Iannidinardo said.

“I’m in support [of the application moving to consideration of third reading and adoption].”

But Alison Nicholson, the CVRD’s director for Cowichan Station/Sahtlam/Glenora, said she wouldn’t support the motion.

She said the rezoning application lacks a significant amount of environmental information that is needed to properly assess the proposal.

“In fact, staff approached the application with a focus primarily on land use and issues like rising sea levels, environmental mitigation and other concerns were not addressed,” Nicholson said.

“But we pushed on and held the public hearing expecting comments from the public without information on the level of environmental risk. So here we are a long time later, after much energy and good will has been expended, considering an application with only opinions and no facts. The bottom line is we need an environmental assessment.”

RELATED STORY: N. COWICHAN WANTS ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT BEFORE CVRD DECIDES ON ESTUARY REZONING

Ian Morrison, chairman of the CVRD, said the board had to decide if the process of the rezoning application up to the point of the public hearing was inclusive enough for the next steps to take place, or if it desired to allow new information, which would trigger another public hearing.

“I don’t know what the new information is, as we have not seen it yet, but the board was clearly in support of option one of the staff recommendations [which allowed the process to continue without a public hearing],” he said.

“We are now ready to proceed with the consideration of the third reading and adoption.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Andrea Rondeau column: Holiday weekend delivers letters

It occurred to me that this was just giving me a taste of what Santa must go through every year.

Sarah Simpson Column: Kids’ Christmas is going to the dogs

I enjoy long weekends because of the extra family time they offer,… Continue reading

Duncan Lions and friends step up with irrigation system for Providence Farm kitchen garden

Duncan Lions Club members were busy out at Providence Farm, both having… Continue reading

Cowichan Cougars battle back to tie Vic West

Change of formation allows Cougars to draw even

Rare setback for Cowichan 49ers

Masters team suffers unusual loss to Castaways Juniors

VIDEO: B.C. couple creates three-storey ‘doggie mansion’ for their five pups

Group of seven, who Kylee Ryan has dubbed as the ‘wandering paws,’ have a neat setup in Jade City

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Family of B.C. man killed in hit-and-run plead for tips, one year later

Cameron Kerr’s family says the driver and passengers tried to cover their tracks

Princeton couple pays for dream vacation with 840,000 grocery store points

It’s easy if you know what you are doing, they say

Chilliwack family’s dog missing after using online pet-sitting service

Frankie the pit bull bolted and hit by a car shortly after drop off through Rover.com

B.C. wildlife experts urge hunters to switch ammo to stop lead poisoning in birds

OWL, in Delta, is currently treating two eagles for lead poisoning

B.C. First Nations drop out of court challenge, sign deals with Trans Mountain

Upper Nicola Band says deal represents a ‘significant step forward’

VIDEO: B.C. man trapped under ATV for days shows promise at Victoria hospital

Out of induced coma, 41-year-old is smiling, squeezing hands and enjoying sunshine

Most Read