North Cowichan council pondering controversial Donnay Drive development

The fate of a controversial development project on Donnay Drive is still up in the air.

The fate of a controversial development project on Donnay Drive is still up in the air.

Councillors in the Municipality of North Cowichan will decide at today’s council meeting when to have a debate and a decision on giving it third reading.

That decision was made after a lengthy and contentious four-and-a-half-hour public hearing into the issue on Oct. 13.

The project proposal involves the construction of 39 housing units on a 2.65-hectare site just north of Maple Bay Elementary School.

But many residents of the mainly rural neighbourhood have raised a number of objections to the project, including their contention that the housing density proposed would be too high for the area.

The majority of the speakers at the public hearing, and many in the audience, voiced their opposition to the plan.

Christopher Justice, one the speakers against the project, said it comes down to two different visions of how the community should be developed.

“One is to follow the principles laid out in the Official Community Plan and refined by shared community desires,” he said.

“The other is to allow our community to be developed piece by piece without a community vision, with the thinking primarily around the ease of servicing [new developments] and increasing net tax revenues.”

In response to the neighbours’ concerns, the project’s proponents had agreed to reduce the number of housing units.

But for many, including Justice, the main issue is about ongoing and proposed modifications to the OCP that could radically change areas of their community, to high-density neighbourhoods without adequate community input.

Jon Lefebure, mayor of North Cowichan, said “interesting questions” were raised at the meeting on Oct. 13 around land density, local area plans and the future of lands bordering the municipality’s urban containment boundary.

He said many council members want more time to consider the plan before giving a third reading to the project.