Chatwin Engineering’s Brian Chatwin

Nanoose chief vows to stop Beachcomber expansion

Owner of the marina wants to add 26 boat slips - Chief David Bob says the entire area is part of a sacred site for his First Nation

The Snaw-naw-as (Nanoose) First Nation has vowed to take the “necessary action” to stop the expansion of Beachcomber Marina.

“This entire area is a sacred site to the Snaw-naw-as First Nation and extends beyond the foreshore, out into the waters where you are proposing your rezoning,” reads a letter signed by chief David Bob addressed to the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN), dated

Oct. 26, 2015.

“The reason this entire area is a sacred site to us is that over the centuries the ocean levels have risen and fallen and there are significant middens in that area.”

Bob said the Snaw-naw-as First Nation “will oppose this legally, politically and take the necessary action to stop the expansion of this development in this area.”

Beachcomber Marina owner Ian Barnes told The NEWS last week he will address the growing concerns about his proposal to expand the marina, but offered few other details.

“We are in the process of addressing the concerns,” said Barnes, noting the RDN can expect a response within the next few weeks.

Barnes is hoping to add 26 berths to the existing 100 moorage slips at Beachcomber Marina on Northwest Bay near Parksville.

The proposal would see one portion of the marina ‘downzoned’ from marina designation to standard designation (Water 2 to Water 1), while another area would be ‘upzoned’ from standard designation to marina designation (Water 1 to Water 2).

Barnes has received approval from Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Transport Canada to make the changes, however, he still needs a permit from the regional district to proceed.

While the project is garnering support from those who see it as a solution to the moorage shortage in the area, it’s also raising concerns about blocking neighbouring views, cultural impediments, pollution, traffic and water issues.

RDN senior planner Greg Keller said staff are waiting for a response from the applicant addressing concerns but have yet to receive anything.

“Once we receive a response we will have to do more review of the application and at some point in time a decision will be made as to how the application proceeds,” explained Keller. “It’s too early to tell what direction it will go.”

The application is not on the agenda for tonight’s (Nov. 10) Electoral Area Planning Committee meeting.

Keller said the RDN may host another public information meeting. More than 200 people attended last month’s meeting, with people both speaking in favour and against the expansion.

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