Director Bill Veenhof calls it a “full OCP review” for Area H. And we are told Baynes Sound Investments (BSI), with high-density development plans, has just submitted an application again.
Veenhof propelled this developer’s application for a large high density development as a village centre through the despicable RGS “minor amendment” process in 2013. It failed due to many insufficiencies.
Who made the decision that there would be no consensus building with the community as it was in the original OCP as well as the Bowser plan? Those plans were developed in a democratic way and consensus was built between the residents, vested interests, RDN staff and the director, and voted on every step of the way. This OCP process is showing serious signs of deterioration of public confidence.
A key issue of contention at the last OCP meeting was the topic of “clustered housing.” Dressed in green words that “it will protect the forest and provide green space with a covenant to remain undeveloped in perpetuity” and provide cheap housing for young people, is misleading.
Clustering allows for a 10-acre lot that is zoned for 10 houses to pack housing into one acre of high density. When queried about who owns the remaining nine acres — the developer does. How sweet for the developer. The nine acres can be developed later as rules are frequently changed.
I asked for a vote at the meeting on whether to accept “cluster housing” in our OCP. But democracy was not forthcoming with a vote. It was dismissed by staff with the statement “we are just gathering information.” There will be no vote during the OCP process. The RDN staff and the director will cherry pick from the many hundreds of comments submitted by developers and residents and then write the Area H OCP for us. While whitewashed as a democratic process, it is far from it.
And, while densification of this rural area has been discussed, no discussion has taken place regarding Deep Bay Improvement District (DBID) water supplies that can support it. The hydrologist for DBID has stated in recommendations that the current well field can only supply 30 per cent of the water requested by the BSI development company based on estimated annual recharge.
The next OCP meeting is specifically on Deep Bay, June 7 at 6:30 p.m. at VIU’s Deep Bay Research Station.
Dianne Eddy, President, Mapleguard Ratepayers’ AssociationBowser