Echo Heights saga ends as council dedicates 91 per cent to parkland

The long saga surrounding the subdivision of municipal land in Echo Heights drew to a close Wednesday as the Municipality of North Cowichan moved forward on three fronts.

Council adopted a bylaw to dedicate 91 per cent of a the site near Chemainus – 19.65 hectares – as parkland.

Then, they rescinded and abandoned a previous attempt at a bylaw, and directed staff to designate the Echo Heights Park as “a public conservation zone” in the municipality’s proposed new general zoning bylaw.

Finally, councillors authorized staff to apply to subdivide the remaining nine per cent not dedicated as park into about 17 lots with R2 zoning designation, as discussed a few weeks ago.

That area was logged two decades ago, and the sale of the single-family residential lots and will help fund community amenity projects.

Mayor Jon Lefebure had been the point man for these proposals, suggesting them to his colleagues last month as hopefully the last in a series of ideas for the contentious piece of land.

By May 21, a majority of council decided it was a good day to get a widely-accepted solution on track and on Wednesday they reached the adoption stage.

“The park is created,” Lefebure declared. The only councillor continuing to speak against this solution was John Koury, who repeated that he couldn’t see any new information that would drive the municipality to this decision.

He held that saving 20 per cent of the land for subdivision, instead of Lefebure’s suggested nine per cent, would earn the municipality more money.

The difference between the two ideas was not large, he said, adding, “it’s a handful of trees, but not that many.”

Koury was supported during the public input section of the meeting by Don Graham, who said he’d heard from fellow Chemainus residents that were not pleased with the reduction in revenue that would follow the enlargement of the park.

Graham also said he was unhappy to see former opponents to the 91-9 split finally knuckle under to the concept of council solidarity, adding it could lead to North Cowichan dipping into taxpayers’ pockets to develop the park.

“Do not now [do that] to develop a backyard park for a group of affluent activists,” he warned.

Just Posted

DAVID VAN DEVENTER
Cowichan Citizen and Lake Cowichan Gazette announce new publisher

David van Deventer has been with Black Press Media since 2014

Island Health is bringing a vaccination clinic to Lake Cowichan starting June 23. (Submitted)
COVID vaccine clinic coming to Lake Cowichan as area numbers lag

Clinic will operate at arena starting June 23

The Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society, which has been operating a treatment centre on land leased from the Nanoose First Nation for 35 years (pictured), has begun a fundraising campaign to open a new centre near Duncan. (Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society photo)
New Indigenous treatment centre to be built near Duncan

Centre will help survivors of residential schools

Rick Ruppenthal of Saltair will host a 12-hour talk-a-thon Friday, June 18 over Facebook live. (Photo submitted)
Talk-a-thon to focus on men’s mental health issues

Saltair man spearheading a campaign to generate more conversation during fundraiser

Cowichan Tribes man Adrian Sylvester is worried that he was targetted by a trailer hitch thrown from a vehicle. (Facebook photo)
Cowichan Tribes man worried he was target of trailer hitch

Adrian Sylvester says no one has reported a missing hitch after one nearly hit him

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.’s Indigenous language, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact they recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Green party Leader Annamie Paul speaks during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Paul has survived another day of party strife after a planned ouster shifted course, leaving her with a tenuous grip on power ahead of a likely federal election this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul blasts ‘racist,’ ‘sexist’ party execs who sought ouster

Fallout has continued, with two of the federal council’s members resigning

Most Read