Lakes district plan closer to approval

Proposal still garners opposition

Although there was overwhelming support for Fairwinds’ Lakes district plan at the recent public hearing

Although there was overwhelming support for Fairwinds’ Lakes district plan at the recent public hearing

A public hearing for Fairwinds’ Lakes District official community plan amendment application went well into the evening Monday night, as 144 people got up to the microphone to share their opinion of the application.

Ending a little before midnight, there was strong support for the application with many people sporting “Yes to the Schooner Cove and Lakes District Plan” stickers.

If approved, the development would see up to 1,675 homes built, surrounded by a network of walking trails and parks.

Nanoose Bay resident resident Jack Kehoe said the plan would greatly benefit the trades people in the area and had a petition signed by 65 trades people showing their support.

“What a wonderful opportunity for young skilled trades in the RDN to apply their skills and earn an income over an extended period of time,” he said, adding there would be 10,900 person-years of direct and spin-off employment.

Roger Stewart, a resident just a block outside of Fairwinds, was against the proposal. He brought up concerns like inadequate planing for species at risk and water. He said his water supply has been quite good and if the project was approved, he would have to pay for more water infrastructure.

“There is nothing [in the plans] to satisfy my concerns that my quantity and quality of water will be maintained at no expense to me. I don’t understand why I should suffer.”

Doug Myers from Nanoose Bay claimed development is necessary and inevitable. He said Fairwinds owns the land and they bought it with the intent to build. 

“We would be well served to go with a known company, a responsible company, a good plan, rather than a haphazard hodgepodge of circumstances that could arise otherwise.” 

This thought was echoed by many.

Ross Peterson, a retired biologist, gave “a plea for common sense” outlining five ways to minimize environmental impacts. The crowd cheered when the five-minute buzzer went off, indicating his time was up, and shouted “no, no” and “times up” when he gave his closing statement.

Other residents in support of the project praised an extensive planning process and the planned preservation and protection of the sensitive environmental features of the area, like the Garry Oak ecosystems.

Holme said he wanted to thank residents for handling themselves well at the two public hearings, the other on the Schooner Cove OCP amendment application happened Tuesday, May 3. He said hopefully the Regional District of Nanaimo board will be able to vote on third reading for the two applications May 24, but otherwise it would happen June 28.

More information on both plans can be viewed at www.schoonercovelakesdistrict.ca.