North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring thinks council’s decision to deny the Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit a development permit for its expansion plans will with stand a judicial review. (File photo)

North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring thinks council’s decision to deny the Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit a development permit for its expansion plans will with stand a judicial review. (File photo)

Motorsport Circuit goes to judicial review over North Cowichan development permit denial

Motorsport Circuit wants another look at North Cowichan’s denial of development permit

The Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit has filed for a judicial review of North Cowichan’s decision on Dec. 4 to deny a development permit for its expansion plans.

North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring said council made the decision in support of a letter to the VIMC from North Cowichan’s director of planning Rob Conway stating the application for a development permit was denied.

RELATED STORY: NORTH COWICHAN DENIES MOTORPORT CIRCUIT REQUEST FOR DEVELOPMENT PERMIT

Siebring pointed out the judicial review is specifically related to council’s decision at its meeting on Dec. 4 not to issue a development permit, and not council’s decision to deny a rezoning application to allow for the VIMC’s expansion plans after two lengthy public hearings in the fall.

RELATED STORY: FRACTIOUS TWO-DAY HEARING ENDS WITH A NO FOR COWICHAN MOTORSPORT EXPANSION

He said that decision will now go before a judge for review.

“The VIMC wants a judge to determine if the process was correct and if there were any procedural errors in law in the way in which council’s decision was made,” Siebring said.

“If a judge determines a legitimate error was made, what would normally happen is that the judge would send it back to council and we’d go through the process again and make a decision, without any errors. But that’s hypothetical because we’ve been very careful and we’re quite confident our decision on this issue will survive the review.”

Siebring said he expects the judicial review will take place within the next 50 days.

Conway sent the letter to the VIMC denying them the development permit after a contentious public hearing that took two days to complete in early October.

Council decided to not allow rezoning for the $36-million expansion — which would have included a new five-kilometre paved motor vehicle circuit, an off-road motor vehicle circuit, a new clubhouse and buildings for maintaining, repairing and storing motor vehicles — after that public hearing.

Council again denied the rezoning after a second public hearing on the expansion plans was held last month.

RELATED STORY: $50M LIABILITY WORRY HAS NORTH COWICHAN MAYOR ASKING FOR MOTORSPORT REZONING DO-OVER

Based on council’s decision on the rezoning after October’s public hearing, Conway said in his letter to the VIMC that he was “obliged” to deny the application for a development permit for the project.

“I appreciate that it is (your) position that the development proposed…is for the same land use as under the development permit issued by North Cowichan for phase one of the VIMC and, as such, there has been a past determination that the land use in compliance with (zoning),” Conway said in the letter, dated Oct. 25.

“However, upon careful review, I have concluded that the proposed land use is not permitted (under zoning).”

The VIMC has referred comments on the issue to Sean Hern, a partner in the Farris’ litigation group who spoke on behalf of the VIMC at the council meeting on Dec. 4.

He outlined the VIMC’s issues with the denial of the development permit at the council meeting.

Hern said at the time that a decision of whether to issue a development permit is an assessment of the application in light of the municipality’s Official Community Plan.

“But this is not a land-use decision, as has been made in this case by the director of planning,” Hern said at the meeting.

“To proceed otherwise is to exceed the statutory jurisdiction delegated in respect of development permit applications. There are many examples of the court’s enforcement of this constraint on municipal jurisdiction in relation to development permit applications.”

Second, Hern said the suggestion that the VIMC’s application may not comply with the proper zoning is arbitrary and irrational in light of the VIMC having been issued a development permit in 2015 for the adjacent lands under the same zoning.

As well, he said North Cowichan’s planning department repeatedly confirmed in writing to the VIMC that the zoning uses on the land where stage two is planned were consistent with both the zoning types on the property where stage one of the VIMC is constructed.

“Third, and alternatively, the planned use for the subject lands is not singular, but is a collection of a number of different uses, and even if North Cowichan were to be concerned that some of those uses may not be consistent with the zoning, many of the uses clearly are,” Hern said.

“Accordingly, the matter of whether the user operates in compliance with the zoning in the future is, at most, a matter of municipal enforcement and not a basis to deny the development permit application.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Robert’s column
Robert Barron column: New hospital shouldn’t charge for parking

Paying a parking meter is the last thing people visiting a hospital should have to worry about.

A 3.0-magnitude earthquake occurred off Ucluelet just after 12:30 a.m. on April 10 and was reportedly felt as far south as Oregon. (Map via United States Geological Survey)
Quake off Ucluelet reportedly felt as far south as Oregon

Magnitude 1.5 earthquake also reported off Vancouver Island’s west coast hours earlier

Asparagus root, dug up from the old patch and ready to be transplanted. (Mary Lowther photo)
Mary Lowther column: Some tips on growing asparagus

When choosing asparagus I recommend buying male plants for juicier, plumper spears.

If you’re looking for a goat time, visit Russell Farms Market! (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Sarah Simpson Column: Looking for a goat time on Good Friday

If you drive by the farm market a little slower you see the goat pen.

The McCloskey-Hydro Rain Garden, located in a sunny Hydro corridor and receiving about 2.5 million litres of rainwater runoff per year from the roof of nearby McCloskey Elementary School. (Deborah Jones photo)
A&E column: From nature to poetry to puppets, there’s plenty afoot

What’s going on in the Cowichan Valley arts and entertainment scene

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Vehicle launched into B.C. Walmart removed following rescue of trapped workers

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

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

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
Man finds men who rescued him from drowning in B.C.’s Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person when the pandemic ends

The 10-part Netflix series Maid, which is being exclusively shot in Greater Victoria, was filming near Prospect Lake in Saanich last month. (Photo courtesy Fred Haynes)
Province announces $150,000 towards South Island film studio, fulfilling B.C. NDP promise

Investment to fund movie studio feasibility study at Camosun College

Most Read