Deep Bay development denied

Regional District of Nanaimo directors vote to put a stop to application process

A development plan that could have effectively doubled the population of Deep Bay is dead. For now.

The Regional District of Nanaimo’s board of directors voted unanimously last week to put a stop to the development application process involving Baynes Sound Investments (BSI), whose plan called for 200 single-family homes, a 292-unit RV park, retail/commercial space and 40 hectares of park space.

“They (BSI) own the land, so there’s nothing stopping them from coming in with another development (proposal),” said Bill Veenhof, the regional district representative for the Bowser/Deep Bay electoral area. “I kind of expect them to come back with another proposal. By terminating (the development permit), we left BSI open to submit anything they want.”

The vote last week was in a committee of the whole meeting. To be official, it must be ratified in a regular RDN meeting, but the vote last week was unanimous.

Veenhof said the regional district was not going to move too far in the process of the original development application until it had conducted public consultation. In order to do that, Veenhof said the RDN needed information from BSI on items like water supply, which it did not receive and indications are that information might not be ready for up to a year.

“That (not having the information needed to conduct the survey) was a huge issue for me,” said Veenhof. “The embedded message was they (BSI) didn’t have their ducks in a row.”

Delegations to the RDN and letters to the editor indicated there was widespread opposition to the project from residents, but Veenhof said he doesn’t believe public sentiment was that clear cut.

“The vocal opposition would tell you ‘everyone is against this so you don’t need to do a survey’,” said Veenhof. “That’s a mixed message. And there seemed to be a strong, underlying group in favour of this.”

On its website, BSI suggested the project on its 142 hectares of land (353 acres) would generate $14.3 million in tax revenue for the RDN over 15 years and create 1,395 direct and indirect jobs over eight years during the construction period. The NEWS was unable to connect with BSI officials by press time to get comment about the company’s future plans for the site.