The motion by Mike Wilson, the CVRD’s director for Cobble Hill, to have the district apologize to the Taylor family for the angst caused them over the CVRD’s now abandoned efforts to build a parking lot in Taylor Park was passed by the board. (Citizen file)

The motion by Mike Wilson, the CVRD’s director for Cobble Hill, to have the district apologize to the Taylor family for the angst caused them over the CVRD’s now abandoned efforts to build a parking lot in Taylor Park was passed by the board. (Citizen file)

CVRD to apologize to Taylor family over park issue

District cancelled plan to turn Taylor Park into parking lot

The Cowichan Valley Regional District will apologize to the Taylor family in Shawnigan Lake for any angst caused by the now rejected plan to turn Taylor Park into a parking lot for the Kinsol Trestle tourist attraction.

Cobble Hill director Mike Wilson made the motion for the CVRD to make the apology at the committee of the whole meeting on Aug. 31.

He said some members of the Taylor family have been unduly stressed by the issue.

“I think we should make some amends to the family for the stress they have suffered,” Wilson said.

RELATED STORY: PLANS FOR 100-VEHICLE PARKING LOT NEAR KINSOL TRESTLE RAISING CONCERNS

At the board meeting on July 27, directors decided after months of study not to develop the approximately four-acre undeveloped Taylor Park, located just off Renfrew Road near Shawnigan Lake, into a 100-vehicle parking lot after receiving an assessment of the site from Aquaparian Environmental Consulting Ltd.

The consulting company concluded that the site includes environmentally sensitive wetlands, and the area that is developable within the park is too small for the planned parking lot.

Shawn Taylor, who donated much of the property to the CVRD in 2004 as part of a rezoning application he had submitted to the district for his property, raised concerns when the CVRD first proposed the parking lot at the site in March.

He said at the time that he agreed to hand over the property to the district as a community amenity contribution that was part of his rezoning application it was with the understanding that it would remain a natural park, which is called Taylor Park after him, due to the environmentally sensitive ecological wetlands in the area.

RELATED NEWS: CVRD TO HAVE ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENTS DONE IN TAYLOR PARK

Ben Maartman, director for North Oyster/Diamond, said be believes in apologizing when a mistake is made, but questioned whether the real issue has to do with some people not being happy with the process.

He said he thinks the process in determining if Taylor Park was suitable for the parking lot was fair in that it continued to look at the evidence.

“To get to a decision, I require that evidence,” Maartman said.

“With all due respect, I think qualified experts needed to be brought in to look at this and to come to that determination. I would hope there would be public confidence in that our decisions are based on evidence and less than on our opinions. I think our process may have led to this, but I don’t see that as a mistake.”

But Wilson said the process was flawed because the board decided to move forward with it even though it was known that there was no initial environmental assessment done at the beginning of the process.

RELATED STORY: PLANS FOR PARKING LOT IN TAYLOR PARK IN SHAWNIGAN LAKE WON’T GO AHEAD

John Elzinga, the CVRD’s general manager of community services, said he’s not convinced the process was flawed.

“My understanding is that our professional staff provided the appropriate recommendations at the appropriate time as they moved forward through the process,” he said.

North Cowichan director Kate Marsh said even if the process was followed perfectly, it seemed clear to her and several other directors when looking at the property that the process was causing a lot of undue stress to the Taylor family because it was obvious the park was not the right place for the parking lot.

“I support the motion to apologize for the stress it caused [the Taylor family],” she said.

“It’s the right thing to do.”

Board chair and Cowichan Bay director Lori Iannidinardo said there was a process, but it was an awkward one for the Taylor family.

“But we did in the end follow the process and got an environmental study completed,” she said.

“I wouldn’t say an apology [in this case] is about a mistake being made,” she said.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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