Lake Cowichan Ratepayers Association continues to defend land for school

Ever on the lookout for threats to the Town of Lake Cowichan's parks and institutional zones (P-1), a large delegation of Lake Cowichan Ratepayers' Association members visited council last week to discuss their latest concerns.

  • Jul. 25, 2011 7:00 p.m.

Lake Cowichan resident Duncan Brown

Ever on the lookout for threats to the Town of Lake Cowichan’s parks and institutional zones (P-1), a large delegation of Lake Cowichan Ratepayers’ Association members visited council last week to discuss their latest concerns.

These latest concerns involve proposed changes to the town’s Official Community Plan, which could have the Palsson Elementary School site included within a comprehensive development permit area, named the Grosskleg Neighbourhood.

“For the benefit of our town, we’d like it to be P-1,” Ratepayers’ representative Rod Peters told council. “We’re just a small town. I don’t think we need a comprehensive development area… We should keep it P-1.”

The underlying concern behind the Ratepayers’ adamant stance on keeping all of the town’s P-1 zones remaining zoned as such, is to ensure that schools will always be located at said places.

The town’s planner, James van Hemert, then tried to explain the basics of comprehensive development permit areas, as per the delegates’ request.

“The Official Community Plan does not change the zoning directly,” he said. “This doesn’t have anything to do with what the planner likes… I advise the Advisory Planning Commission.”

It’s the five volunteers that make up the Advisory Planning Commission that put together the Official Community Plan, which provides council with guidance as to what the community would like to see happen within the town.

Although P-1 zoning can remain zoned as such within a comprehensive development permit area, van Hemert said that it would add more flexibility to the zoning.

“It does open the door for modifications in the future,” he said, adding that the Official Community Plan is mandated with looking forward to the next 25 years.

This opened door is exactly what has caused the Ratepayers’ concern.

“In the future, if you want to change the zoning, you could,” Peters said.

“I don’t think my intent is to see any down-zoning within these areas,” councillor Tim McGonigle. “Any developer can come up and bring up re-zoning. It’s the onus of this table to keep the concerns of the Official Community Plan and the electorate.”

Cowichan Valley School Board 79 trustee Diana Gunderson said that the district fully backs the Ratepayers’ concerns around P-1 zoning.

“The School District is adamant that Palsson should stay institutional… Until a decision has been made regarding a new school,” she said. “Our declining enrollment numbers are part of the fear… We want our kids’ parents to know that Palsson is zoned institutional.”

Ratepayers member Duncan Brown reminded council of their prior commitment to  protect P-1 zones. Comprehensive development areas aren’t a means of protecting them, he said.

“There are really few restrictions at all. The doors are open, ‘we’ll look at things,'” he contended. “We do not have many of these areas left, and the only way to protect them is through zoning.”

In addition to the Palsson Elementary School area, the J.H. Boyd site is a P-1 zoned site that needs protection, the Ratepayers insist – a site purchased by an independent developer who went into his dealings with the property knowing full-well the zoning, and who doesn’t appear to have any intentions of building a school.

“He chose to buy it anyway, and he failed to get the zoning he wanted,” Brown said.

Mayor Ross Forrest assured the Ratepayers’ Association that council maintains their support of protecting P-1 zones.

“Nothing has come to our table to ask us to change that yet,” he said. “Nothing has changed with that.”

Aside from the delegation of Ratepayers’ Association members, the issue has yet to come before council, and is still being discussed by the Advisory Planning Commission.

“They have had a lively debate about that, and this is supposed to be happening,” van Hemert said, of commission meetings.

“There will be a discussion with the Advisory Planning Commission when they meet next week,” the town’s chief administrative officer Joseph Fernandez said.

Another related issue to be brought forth to the commission will be a change to P-1 zoning, replacing “affordable seniors, rental and special needs housing,” with, “affordable seniors care or special needs facilities,” as per a suggestion by the Ratepayers’ Association.

Just Posted

VIDEO: ‘The last thing we want is a free-for-all’: Lake Cowichan council tells crowd

Zoning changes are needed if the town is to have any control over pot shop locations and more

Mountain Man joins search for Ben Kilmer

Kevin Shiell has been putting his extensive outdoor skills to good use

Descoteau family leans on strong support after double tragedy

Two years since shocking death occurred in Chemainus

MP pleased with campaign time cap included in new legislation

His goal is to tighten up election lengths and in doing so save a lot of money.

Search for Ben Kilmer scaled back after long weekend effort

A search was initiated for the 41-year-old husband and father on Wednesday, May 16

VIDEO: After the floods, comes the cleanup as Grand Forks rebuilds

Business owners in downtown wonder how long it will take for things to go back to normal

Woman’s death near Tofino prompts warning about ‘unpredictable’ ocean

Ann Wittenberg was visiting Tofino for her daughter Victoria Emon’s wedding

B.C. man facing deportation says terror accusation left him traumatized

Othman Hamdan was acquitted of terrorism-related charges by a B.C. Supreme Court judge in September

Will Taylor Swift’s high concert ticket prices stop scalpers?

Move by artist comes as B.C. looks to how to regulate scalpers and bots reselling concert tickets

36 fires sparked May long weekend, most due to lightning: BC Wildfire

As warmer weather nears, chief fire officer Kevin Skrepnek says too soon to forecast summer

Ariana Grande sends message of hope on anniversary of Manchester bombing

Prince William joins survivors and emergency workers for remembrance service

B.C. flood risk switches from snowmelt to rainfall: River Forecast Centre

Kootenays and Fraser River remain serious concerns

Pipeline more important than premiers meeting: Notley

“Canada has to work for all Canadians, that’s why we’re fighting for the pipeline”

Canadian government spending tens of millions on Facebook ads

From January 2016 to March 2018, feds spent more than $24.4 million on Facebook and Instagram ads

Most Read