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Development company reaches out to residents in Deep Bay

It's back to the drawing board for Baynes Sound Investments.

According to BSI president Amar Bains, the company was denied support from RDN planners at an informal meeting in June.

Bains said the Surrey-based company pitched new development ideas collected from a community workshop BSI in Deep Bay last spring, which reflected community input.

The new BSI vision, which failed to get even preliminary RDN support, included lodge accommodations, a pub style restaurant, affordable housing options, walking trails, lots of green space and a second access point to the highway.

"They (the RDN) said they still couldn't support it because they're bound by existing Official Community Plan (OCP) and zoning regulations," said Bains. "So we're taking that back to the community and asking them for direction."

Bains said BSI is now reaching out to Deep Bay/Bowser residents asking if they support undertaking an OCP review.

"So far it's been pretty good," Bains said about the initial response. "Many people (I've spoken with) support doing an OCP review — but we'll know more in about a month."

BSI is best known in the area for a failed development application which would have seen 200 single-family homes, a 292-unit RV park, retail/commercial space and 40 hectares of park space introduced to Deep Bay. The project plan was unanimously voted down by RDN board members last October as the proposal required significant changes to the OCP and regional growth strategy. Additionally, RDN director Bill Veenhof, who represents Deep Bay/Bowser, said the company did not have very much community support for the project.

However, this time around Veenhof called BSI's approach "fundamentally different."

He said the company's effort to reach out to his constituents has been "positive" and "speaks to their ability to bring something forward that will be supported by the people."

Veenhof said he is "hugely in favour of the dialog" that BSI is engaging in with local residents.

Asked about his personal stance on bringing a major development to the heart of his community, he said:

"I'm on the fence — at the end of the day, politically, I'll do what the people on the ground want."

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