Another public hearing on the large Kingsview Development proposal for Maple Bay will be held in June.
Staff reported at the North Cowichan council meeting on May 17 that there are still some issues to be sorted out with Cowichan Tribes and more consultations are planned between the First Nation and the developer.
But in order for the municipality to meet its legal obligations, a public hearing on the development should be held by May 29.
“In discussions with the developer, they have indicated a willingness to support an extension of the time frame for a public hearing out of respect for the process and in the hopes that further discussions will allow for a situation where Cowichan Tribes may consider removing the band council resolution in opposition to the project,” said Scott Mack, North Cowichan’s director of development services, in a staff report.
“However, the developer did indicate clearly that it would prefer to maintain a reasonable and defined timeline as it is very eager to have council consider adoption of its plans and zoning in order to provide a level of certainty moving forward.”
North Cowichan council decided at its meeting on March 1 that the municipality would schedule a second public hearing into the proposal that could see more than 1,300 housing units constructed on the side of Mount Tzouhalem after more consultations with Cowichan Tribes were held.
Transtide Kingsview Development Ltd. is proposing to build the development where the defunct Cliffs Over Maple Bay project was supposed to be constructed.
Council’s move came after they decided to rescind third reading on the Kingsview Development proposal at its meeting on Jan. 18, largely due to concerns raised by Cowichan Tribes.
Cowichan Tribes indicated by letter, after a mandatory public hearing on the project was held, that the First Nation has issues related to increased traffic, cultural impacts on the band from the project and trespassing on native lands.
Council decided at the time that, as a result of the these concerns, it would rescind third reading on the zoning bylaw.
That decision moved the bylaw back to second reading, which means another public hearing is now mandatory.
Coun. Tom Walker said he would support extending the deadline for the public hearing and allow it to be held in June.
“We can’t let this developer and his project sit in never-never land forever,” he said.
“I wouldn’t want to see another development proposal sit in limbo for a long time like the [Donnay Drive] project. We should set a date for a public hearing in June and see if all the pieces fall into place, and the developer can cancel it if necessary.”
Coun. Rob Douglas said he understands the rationale of wanting to hold the public hearing in June, but his preference is to talk to Cowichan Tribes first before setting a date.
“We should let them know beforehand to see if there are still important issues and then take a vote on the public hearing at our next meeting,” he said.
Mack said staff have talked to the developers and they have indicated the first meeting with Cowichan Tribes went well, and another is scheduled.
“They believe they are meeting the concerns of the Cowichan Tribes and, as an effort to be optimistic and collaborative, they are prepared to go to a public hearing by the end of June, but they said they are also prepared to wait until later if necessary,” he said.
The time and date of the public hearing has yet to be announced.
The first well-attended public hearing on the proposal was held on Nov. 23, 2016, and went on for more than four hours.
The majority of delegations at the meeting spoke against it, raising concerns about the environmental impacts of more runoff from the development entering nearby Quamichan Lake, and increased traffic and density issues, among others.