Councillors approve Stoney Hill road extension

North Cowichan councillors finally took the next step in approving a controversial road extension into the Stoney Hill area, by passing several essential bylaws at their Aug. 20 meeting.

Public meetings on the subject have drawn large crowds with vociferous supporters both backing and opposing the call for an upgrade of the road.

Those in favour are concerned about emergency crews being able to get in to the area, while those opposed are worried that an upgrade will pave the way for development.

There are still more hurdles to clear, however, according to Mayor Jon Lefebure. "We’re just waiting for the environmental and archaeological assessments to be done. The archaeological assessment is still ongoing but we feel we have enough information to take this next step," he said.

Asked if Cowichan Tribes, who have expressed significant concern about the road, were on side with that, Lefebure said, "they are not actually approving our archaeological assessment in any way. It’s a different jurisdiction. A member of Tribes has been involved in the archaeological assessment but they are not producing the report. That’s being done by a separate company."

What is also unclear right now is when work on the project might start. The borrowing bylaw must be completed, then the project must be put out to tender.

That will be key, he said. "Until we have the tenders in we don’t know exactly what it’s going to cost. We have our estimated budget but without a final budget we’re not actually sure that it can go ahead," he said, admitting that quite a few things are hinging on whether work can fit within those bookends.

"There will hopefully be a result on the tender that’s within budget because the municipality has committed $500,000 and the local service area has committed $2 million. We do have some finite numbers out there and if it came in way higher than those two numbers added together, we’d have an issue," he said, adding that he hoped that decision could be made not long after the end of September.

Meanwhile, Tracy Fleming, representing Cowichan Tribes, has told council again that Cowichan Tribes would not oppose a road through Maple Bay peninsula if there were no changes to the foreshore in Sansum Narrows that would allow the addition of docks.

Fleming also asked that Cowichan Tribes be given opportunity to review and comment on the archaeological impact assessment; that there be some flexibility on the road alignment through Bird’s Eye Cove Farm so as not to interfere with the archaeological sites; and that construction be monitored by a Cowichan Tribes member familiar with those sites.

North Cowichan CAO Dave Devana told council he would report back on the items raised by Fleming.

"On the whole, I’m glad they’ve come to a resolution," said Denny Wagg, one of many concerned Cowichan Valley residents who has spoken out at public meetings about the road extension and upgrading. "It’s been an issue for many, many years. I’m glad the road will be improved. It’s a beautiful property down there. It’s just a stunning landscape.

"What I am not in favour of is any more development down there. There are a limited amount of homes down there already. I’d hate to see it being turned into a subdivision," he said.

That is one of the challenges of offering access, he said.

"I went in there this spring on a tour. Going down a road we met a really steep section that in snowy or bad weather would be a real challenge for an ambulance or fire trucks. The improvement of the road is necessary. I was initially quite concerned about that going through sensitive areas but I’m sure they will be very careful in avoiding any area that’s important from a nature point of view," Wagg said.

Just Posted

Shawnigan Hills parkrun report for Nov. 30

Seven personal bests set in chilly conditions

VIDEO: Celebrate magic of the holidays as Winter Harp returns to Cowichan Sunday

Wonderful Winter Harp is back at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre on… Continue reading

VIMC will not proceed with controversial construction plans; going to legal action

North Cowichan says Monday’s public hearing will go ahead anyway

Duncan Christmas Kick-Off a hit

The City of Duncan lit up for the season with their annual… Continue reading

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Island family’s Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

B.C. pharmaceutical company’s stocks double in value after successful lupus drug trial

More than 40 per cent of patients using voclosporin saw improvements in kidney function

Second warning on romaine lettuce from California region as another E. coli case reported

Two cases of E. coli have been reported in relation to the illness in the U.S.

B.C. Transit finds 28 used fareboxes online, saves $300,000

‘Someone joked maybe we can buy used fareboxes on eBay,’ CEO says

Many of Canada’s working poor can’t afford lawyers, don’t qualify for legal aid

One lawyer says many people earn too much to qualify for legal aid, but not enough to really live on

Economy lost 71,200 jobs in November, unemployment rate climbs to 5.9%

Jobless rate is at its highest since August 2018, when it hit 6%

BC Hydro reservoirs see record low rain across Vancouver Island

Hydro electric watersheds are at a third of their normal levels

Most Read