“Today, Pandora’s box means a source of troubles. When we talk about opening Pandora’s box, we use it as a metaphor to mean that we may not know what we are getting ourselves into”. I believe such is the case with the Sunfest proposal. At the recent Youbou public meeting, complete with “rent-a-crowd” invitees, some of whom received biased notifications from the Lake Cowichan Chamber of Commerce website, thoughtful questioners revealed major shortcomings in the present CVRD rezoning bylaw.
For instance, there is no decibel limit, no crowd limit, no exit clause for when these festivals turn sour, no bond to protect taxpayers from litigation or cleanup expenses of roads or parks, much less deal with vandalism, no protection for the environment or its wildlife and no protection for close by residents’ aquifer.
Closer inspection of the rezoning bylaw reveals there is no legally binding financial responsibility (or liability) for the proponent. Nor is there any tax sharing between the CVRD and the town of Lake Cowichan to offset the costs that vast numbers of festival goers will create on this town’s inadequate infrastructure and small workforce. And if the owners of this property (present or future) default on land taxes or policing costs, (as has happened in other towns) where is the protection for taxpayers? There appears to be none.
This rezoning bylaw, once passed, would be in perpetuity. This is what makes it a Pandora’s box for the local residents who will ultimately pay the price for these appalling rezoning shortfalls. Our elected representatives can and should do better! Residents and taxpayers should be protected with up-to-date, well-researched and well-thought-out zoning bylaws. At this point the new bylaw offers no visible, legally binding protection for taxpayers or the environment.
So if Pandora’s box has already been opened, my best advice to those who abhor this impending 15-or-more day invasion on our tranquil rural lifestyle is to “stock-up, lock-up, hole-up and put-up”. Bottom line is our beautiful and pristine lake, our overtaxed heritage river and our idyllic summers are to be undermined by unchecked commercial exploitation.