Parksville’s rabble rousing mayoral candidate Rick Honaizer is taking his beach complaints to court.
On Dec. 22 Honaizer filed a charge of conspiracy against mayor Chris Burger, chief administrative officer Fred Manson “and other unknown conspirators,” for violating city bylaws around waterfront access at the Surfside RV Resort beside Community Park.
Honaizer alleges the resort routinely breaks three bylaws limiting stays on tourist properties to 180 days, requiring building permits for the additions built on to trailers and waterfront access.
He said Surfside’s fence blocks public beach access in violation of “city bylaw 4-10-3.”
Manson points out there is no such bylaw, that Honaizer is referring to a section in the official community plan (OCP) that since 1994 has wording that the city would require new developments to include a seven metre beach dedication when allowable. He said that when Surfside was incorporated into the city in 1991 from the regional district, its camping zoning at the time was grandfathered in and there hasn’t been an opportunity for the city to change it since.
The city only has leverage when a property owner applies for a zoning or development application or change.
Manson said the fence has not been an issue in the seven years he has been with the city.
Surfside manager Shawn Bennett said they have never received complaints about the fence and though it predates his tenure, the idea was to stop people from abusing their private property, which was a problem before the city cleaned up the adjacent corner of the park.
He said they are not blocking people from accessing the beach or waterfront, just their private property, like any other private landowner.
As for the maximum stay, Zoning and Amendment bylaw 1994, No. 2000 – SEC 240 does limit stays in tourist facilities to 180 days, but Manson said, like all bylaws it’s a matter of what council wants to enforce and they have never made it a priority or provided resources to enforce it.
Honaizer alleges the mayor, CAO and city are conspiring with Surfside by not enforcing the bylaws and he will appear before a judge in Nanaimo on January 9 to present evidence in closed court to convince the judge to appoint a prosecutor to investigate.
He also alleges that four hours after he filed the charges the police called him to swear in his private information for the Crown prosecutor.
He said the officer tried to talk him out of going ahead with it and ended up yelling at him and being threatening.
Oceanside RCMP Staff Sergeant Brian Hunter confirmed that Honaizer swore in the private information, but said they would have no reason to discourage him.
Honaizer is being supported in this endeavor by fellow mayoral candidate Antonio Farinha. Farinha had started his campaign speeches by telling people not to vote for him, stating he was just running to make his concerns about the waterfront known.
Honaizer tried to make the waterfront fence an issue in the November municipal election, including staging a media event to cut it down, which he cancelled at the time, on his lawyer’s advice.
His waterfront issue didn’t appear to catch on with voters and he received 76 votes. Farhina only garnered 51 votes.
“My response is no response, I can’t comment on it unfortunately,” said Burger, indicating he’d like to, but once it’s before the courts it’s out of his hands.