Major Deep Bay development still a possibility

Land owner says he would have liked to have started this project a few years ago

A development proposal to see Deep Bay diversify is still on the table, according to the president of Baynes Sound Investment (BSI).

“We own the land and we don’t want to farm on it,” Amar Bains told The NEWS Friday morning.

Baines said he’d like to see the development application move forward sooner than later.

“If it was up to us we’d have started development a few years ago,” he said.

BSI is best known in the region for a failed development proposal that would have changed the quaint Deep Bay community dramatically, suggesting at one time the addition of 200 single-family homes, a 292-unit RV park, retail/commercial space and 40 hectares of park space.  The project was unanimously voted down by RDN board members in October 2013 as the proposal required significant changes to the official community plan (OCP) and regional growth strategy (RGS). But this year, area director Bill Veenhof, who represents Deep Bay and Bowser, said he’s called for an OCP review — opening the door for change.

Baines confirmed BSI will take part in that OCP review, lobbying their latest development plan.

Last May, BSI hosted a three-day invite-only meeting with area residents to come up with a plan that would be welcome and supported by the community. The result was a vision that includes lodge accommodations, a pub style restaurant, affordable housing options, walking trails, lots of green space and a second access point to the highway — but like the last proposal, the OCP and RGS would still need to be amended.

“They (BSI) need to be ready to engage with the community,” said Veenhof, about the development proposal. “If they come in with an application that meets the community needs I’ll be optimistic.”

Asked if he endorses the development, Veenhof maintained he’s “neutral” about the idea, however he said “one can certainly see where there could be benefits.”

He said the development would create construction jobs for locals and a second access point to the highway, something constituents have been calling for for ages.

“Hopefully they will have learned their lesson from the previous failed application and will be ready to go when they come back,” said Veenhof.

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