The BC Supreme Court has dismissed a lawsuit brought by neighbours against the Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit and the Municipality of North Cowichan. File photo)

Court dismisses case against Cowichan’s Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit

Second lawsuit expected to be heard next year

The BC Supreme Court has dismissed a lawsuit by neighbours of the Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit in their efforts to put an immediate stop to what they claim is excessive noise from its operations.

But the six neighbours don’t see the loss as the final chapter of their ongoing efforts to reduce the noise levels from the car track facility.

The VIMC opened in June 2016, on a 46-acre parcel of land on the Cowichan Valley Highway, and the levels of noise from the facility have led to complaints from neighbours since the beginning of its operations.

The neighbours filed the lawsuit against the VIMC and the Municipality of North Cowichan last year.

RELATED STORY: MOTORSPORT CIRCUIT ISSUES GOING TO COURT THIS MONTH

According to their statement of claim, filed in June, 2017, the neighbours said the track is operating illegally with respect to the zoning bylaws of North Cowichan, which are not being enforced.

The neighbours were looking for the court to order that the municipality’s bylaws be enforced so that it would lead to the noise levels from the facility decreasing.

RELATED STORY: NOISE MEETING LESS THAN SUCCESSFUL, SAYS NEIGHBOURHOOD ASSOCIATION

But, on Oct. 12, Justice George Macintosh ruled that the plaintiffs, as a matter of law, can’t seek to compel the enforcement of a municipal bylaw, absent an allegation of bad faith, “which is not made here”.

“The decisions of how and when to enforce municipal bylaws are within the sole province of the enacting municipality,” Macintosh said in his ruling.

Macintosh said the requests for the court to order that North Cowichan’s land-use and noise bylaws be enforced constitute an “abuse of process in the limited, but relevant, sense that they constitute a collateral attack on the municipality’s application of its bylaws, which could only be brought by way of a judicial review.”

Macintosh also awarded some court costs to the defendants in the case.

But Macintosh didn’t strike the whole submission from the neighbours, leaving in sections that contend the VIMC is a nuisance property.

Another lawsuit filed by the neighbours, which is not expected to be before the courts until next year, alleges that the provincial nuisance law prohibits anyone from “substantial and unreasonable interference with the use and enjoyment of property”.

Macintosh said that, in his view, the sections of the submission that he left in may be relevant to the plaintiffs’ claim in the nuisance court case.

“The plaintiffs, as part of their nuisance claim, are entitled to show, if they can, that any applicable bylaw noise limits are being violated by the VIMC,” Macintosh said.

“The court in the nuisance trial is permitted to take that information into account when determining whether nuisance has occurred.”

Mariah Wallener, a director with the Sahtlam Neighbourhood Association, which was also a plaintiff in the case until it dropped out of the lawsuit in February, said the lawsuit was seen as just an attempt at a “temporary fix” to the neighbours’ issues until a more permanent solution can found.

“This is not a big loss,” she said.

“Our nuisance case is still on and we’re hoping to be successful there. A lot of people are saying we are trying to shut down the VIMC and that isn’t true. We just want to stop the excessive noise until the permitted land-use issues can be addressed.”

Paul Rossmo, general manager of the VIMC, said he was “very happy” with the judge’s ruling.

“It went the way we expected and we’re pleased with that,” he said.

“But it doesn’t diminish our commitment to address these concerns and minimize the noise coming from the VIMC. It’s an ongoing process that we’re focusing on every day. My commitment is to always do a good job and be a good neighbour.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Local Cowichan youth shines in national writing contest

Cowichan Tribe member Danika Smith places fifth in her category in Indigenous Arts & Stories contest

Child hit and killed in driveway in Cobble Hill

The driver of the vehicle remained at the crash scene and is fully cooperating

Cobble Hill’s Price sprints to first Dirt Cup championship

Robbie Price’s first win on the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series… Continue reading

Cowichan police warn of cryptocurrency scam

More than $64,000 in losses so far

Campers hailed heroes in rock face rescue at Cowichan Provincial Park

The campers quickly noticed the man in distress and jumped into the river to swim across.

VIDEO: Killer whale steals fisherman’s catch off North Coast

Fishing duel results in eager orca snagging salmon in Prince Rupert

Fate of accused in Canadian couple’s 1987 killings in jury’s hands

William Talbott’s lawyer says DNA doesn’t prove murder

PHOTOS: North Island home gutted in fire deemed ‘suspicious’

No injuries reported; firefighters prevented blaze from spreading

Eating sandwiches, putting on makeup behind the wheel could land you a fine

RCMP say if you cause an accident while eating you could be penalized

Cat badly hurt in animal trap was likely stuck for days, B.C. owner says

Blu, a three-year-old house cat, suffered severe damage to his hind leg after being stuck in trap for days

Vancouver Island woman assaulted after confronting thief

RCMP warn residents to call for police assistance

Island Health issues safer drug-use tips ahead of music festival season

Health authority aims to reduce overdose risks at festivals

40 cats surrendered in apparent hoarding at B.C. home

Officers found the cats living among piles of garbage and feces, suffering from fleas

Vancouver Aquarium drops cetacean ban lawsuit in new lease agreement

Ocean Wise CEO Lasse Gustavsson called the updated lease an exciting new chapter for the aquarium

Most Read